Awww Shoot! My Spool Doesn’t Fit My Holder


The great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from. Filament spools certainly do not deviate far from this sarcastic saying. So what are we 3D Printer folks to do? Here are a couple completely different DIY options:

[Mark] made a spool holder that can accept 2 different width spools. This design uses skate bearings to support the spool on two points at each end. There are 3 sets of bearing blocks to accommodate the 2 different width spools. When either size spool is installed, one of the bearing block sets goes unused.


[Ben] took a different approach to the same problem. His design holds the spool on its side making the spool width have no affect on the holders’ functionality. The parts for this spool holder are recycled from an old computer CD drive. If we’d have to suggest anything, it would be to add a little resistance to the spinning turntable to prevent uncontrolled filament unraveling (we’ve all been there).



  1. arachnidster says:

    The first one can in fact support three different sizes. Add one more set of rollers and it could support as many as 6!

  2. Kaijuu says:

    Since the dawn of time, there have been spool holders and de-reelers available with rollers instead of bearings, like these:
    I really don’t see the problem?

  3. henry says:

    I gather it’s not possible to angle it so the axis points directly at the 3D printer, and it just naturally unwraps itself?

  4. Bracken says:

    I mount my spools on an industry standard stick!

  5. nah! says:

    solving problems you dont have when you’re smart XD

  6. xeon says:

    Cough… why not a round tube that fits over the bearings.
    Making a long roller…

  7. fdsa says:

    My spool doesnt fit! The filament came in a big looped bundle, no spool at all! Suggestions anyone?

  8. scales11 says:

    what 3d printer is that in the last video? It looks interesting…

    • JRDM says:

      It’s a Printrbot. I don’t know if the new metal Printrbots are any good, but the wood ones are a constant upgrade cycle to fix their issues.

      • scales11 says:

        Does that mean there is something inherently wrong with wooden 3d printers? I was planning on copying the MendelMax(v1) but with wood.

        The Printrbot in the video is intersting, but I would imagine that the cantilever design introduces vibration issues.

        • JRDM says:

          I think the cantilever design does overly stress the material. The metal Printrbot also beefed up the linear rods to, over the wood ones, and I think there are other improvements going on there too.

          I personally don’t like using thin plywood (1/4″ or 6mm) for structure like they did because it flexes and is prone to breaking from fatigue and accidents. I had to cut someone a new set of Thing-O-Matic parts because almost all wood parts were damaged in shipping. Double that (or more) and you’re probably fine.

        • Galane says:

          Wood (and wood derived products like MDF) expands and contracts with temperature changes and also with varying moisture in the air. Coating it with some resin and putting it under pressure to infuse the wood will stabilize it but that’s a lot of mess and work that can be avoided simply by using metal and plastic.

          You’ll never get the best accuracy with any wooden structural parts in a 3D printer or other CNC machine.

  9. I made a one size fits all about a year ago. Looky Looky:

    It works with just 2 bearings that are clamped on a m8 rod to the side of your printer. By just adjusting the m8 nuts around 1 bearing you can narrow or widen it for any spool size you want.

  10. Here is how to make it:

  11. matias says:

    2 pvc tube; 4 bearing; universal size spool holder. engrave lines on one tube for better alignment. sorry for strange english…

  12. Why not just make one like the original, but with one side fixed to the cross pieces, and one adjustable? INFINITE SPOOL WIDTHS! \o/

  13. Joee says:

    Could always make a conveyor belt covered in arduinos for traction. The header pins would prevent the spool from sliding off. Or just put two tube connecting the bearings…covered in raspberry pi ‘s

  14. Peter K says:

    I appreciate the ingenuity, but it’s all a bit complicated. We just printed a smaller diameter reel holder for our MB 2X.

  15. camerin says:
  16. pcf11 says:

    Different filament spools for 3D printers sounds like a first world problem to me. Just buy your plastic garbage at a dollar store and be done with it already.

  17. Paul says:

    A couple of cheap rolling pins and some lumber would be a quick cheap solution.

  18. soundman98 says:

    can someone explain why the spool roller method(i guess that’d be what it’s called) is preferable over just running a rod through the middle of the spool?

    seems like all these designs to get the spools to ride on rollers are much more complex then they should need to be..

  19. merlin says:

    Why not use a lazy suzan? It should accept any standard you want, even square!

    • Galane says:

      “Why not use a lazy suzan?” One never really thinks about that until one makes acquaintance with a woman whose name is Susan. “It’s a turntable!” they are wont to say…

  20. Dimbit says:

    “This map is useless!! All the writing’s upside down and south is at the top!”

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