I’ve started using my 3d printers a lot more lately (secret, upcoming projects) and one of the things that I find to be cumbersome about them, is changing filament. The spool in the on the back of the machine, so to reach it, you have to lift and turn the machine. It’s not heavy or anything, so that’s not a huge deal, but the controls (which you have to use while changing the filament) are on the front of the machine. I finally got tired of this small annoyance and decided to make it easier, while also creating storage for tools and filament.
Most 3d printing people will tell you to keep filaments in a semi airtight container to regulate humidity, which in turn improves print quality. Personally, I’ve never done that and have had great results regardless. If, however, you did want them contained, you could easily add that container to the area where I have the dowel hanger in my project. It would work basically the same way.
Here’s what you’ll need:
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I used scrap plywood for this project, so it was a combination of 1/2″, 3/4″ plywood and MDF.
I cut down three pieces to 14 3/4″ squares, as this was a little larger than the footprint of my printer.
I cut a couple of strips for the side panels. These were a little taller than the diameter of a filament roll.
On one of these pieces, I centered a filament roll and traced the inner circle.
I made a mark at the far outside of the circle, and drew in a place for a 1/2″ dowel hole.
I lined the two pieces up and drilled a 1/2″ hole through both.
I sat the side pieces in place on the base and traced the edge. This shows me the safe area to drill holes. I did the same for the other square piece.
On both pieces, I drilled countersunk holes in the safe area.
The side pieces got glue on one side before being screwed to the bottom square.
I mistakenly glued the top at this point too, but don’t do that. Just screw it on.
I tested the spacing with a roll of filament hanging on the dowel rod.
I cut another scrap that fit within the open side of the box, to act as a drawer front.
Two pieces were cut down to act as the sides of the drawer. Their depth was about the depth of the box minus the diameter of the filament roll.
I sat the side panel on the side of the box and pivoted it off the bottom front edge. I made a mark on the side panel where I wanted it to hit the box top.
Using a straight edge, I drew a line from my mark to the opposite top corner.
With both side pieces taped together, I cut along my line on the bandsaw.
I trimmed a piece, for the back, down to the same height as the back side of the side panels.
Since I was out of plywood scrap, I cut the drawer bottom from MDF.
I applied glue to all of the surfaces that would touch.
I folded the pieces up into place and used some brad nails to hold everything in place while the glue dried.
Using a spacer (scrap), I marked the location for two hinges on the front, bottom edge.
I predrilled holes for the hinges, and screwed them in.
I held the drawer in place, upside down, to align and screw in the hinges.
I flipped the drawer up into place. It was tighter than I wanted, but fit correctly.
I sanded down the rough edges and the sides of the drawer where it touched the outer box.
I applied some paste wax to the areas that touched which made the drawer move very smoothly!
I 3d printed a quick knob (but any knob would work fine).
Using a very small bit, I drilled a hole right in the center of the drawer front.
I ran a screw in from the back side directly into the back of the knob to hold it in place.
I sat the printer in place, centered on the top of the box, and nailed on some small strips along the side of it, keeping them very snug to the printer.
On the base panel, I measured a lazy susan bearing, and found the difference in the base’s width and the bearings diameter. I split the difference and marked in that distance from each edge.
Having these four marks allowed me to easily center the bearing on the base.
The two parts of the bearing got lined up so you could see a hole all of the way through. I marked these (4) holes onto the base.
Each hole got drilled, with a countersink bit.
I centered the bearing the same way on the bottom of the cabinet, but screwed it in place using the four inner holes.
The bearing comes un-lubricated, so I sprayed in a little silicone spray and worked it into the bearing.
Laying the base on top of the bearing, I aligned the holes using a drill bit and my ice pick.
I drove in screws, through the base, into the bearing holes. These are small holes made to be grabbed by sheet metal screws.
I flipped the whole thing over and took it for a spin (pun intended).
I was able to fit four rolls of filament on the 7/16″ dowel.
I added all of the 3d printing tools to the drawer and put it in place in my office.
Now I can easily spin the machine to swap filaments!
Check out the video above to see it in action!