See The Forbidden Cigarette Machine In Action

[Fraens] has been designing a number of fantastic 3D printed machines and making great videos that demonstrate how they work. The last installment was an automatic cigarette stuffing machine, and it’s got a number of pretty complex motions, and somehow manages to get the job done.

While [Fraens] usually uploads STL files for all of his machines, this one is forbidden! Selling automatic cigarette loaders is illegal in Europe, and it’s not clear how close to the legal edge posting them up on Thingiverse is. So until the legal dust settles, you’re going to have to be content with the fantastic video, also embedded below.

But honestly, the devil’s sticks aren’t good for your health anyway, and you’re probably just in it for the mechanicals. Think for a moment about the problem – you’ve got a hopper of tobacco fibers that all like to stick together, and you need to pack them into an easily squished lightweight paper tube. These tubes aren’t easy to handle either. The solution to both of these calls for solenoid-powered tappers that agitate both into place.

There’s also a 3D printed rack and pinion to do the pushing, and a cool stepper-driven revolver mechanism to put the empty papers into just the right place. The machine leans heavily on 3D printing, but also on simple hardware-store parts like aluminum and brass tubes. [Fraens]’s builds are always simple but simultaneously very slick, and you’ll learn a lot from watching it all go together.

And when you’re done, check out some others from [Fraens]. We’ve been impressed by his sewing machine, braiding machine, and even a power loom.

64 thoughts on “See The Forbidden Cigarette Machine In Action

  1. if you are going to have vices at least cut out the evil corporations that push the stuff. besides you can get better grade tobacco from smoke shops than what goes into factory rolled death sticks.

    1. Amen, brother. Golden Virginia or American Spirit black/turquoise are my preferred kinds. I used to buy packs of spirits and cut them open and hand roll twice as many cigs before I went to just buying tobacco outright.

      1. Perfect! I would also make the filter enclosure transparent to see the filter business surface, and exhaust with pipe outside the room. And you can get cigarette filler machines pretty easily, so i doubt it’s illegal here in Czech Republic.

          1. § 30 Tabaksteuergesetz (German Tobacco Tax Act) forbids the selling and “bereistellung”(provision) of such machines to individuals (some people claim this includes parts of such machines for which I don’t find any sources but even if so I would consider this only for mainly ready manufactured parts to build such a machine). However I would VERY HIGHLY doubt that providing a DIY manual and the 3d Files for free would be considered as such. Also ordering from outside of Germany(Netherlands/Switzerland) as well as owning and using such machines for personal use is totally legal.

          2. I think it’s illegal here in the states as well. I remember a Tabaco shop that had them so you could buy a flavored Tabaco and then buy the filtered tubes and then use the machine for free. Well apparently the government taxes more for prerolled cigarettes so if the consumer was buying the Tabaco in bulk then using a machine for free to have it rolled the government didn’t get the tax money for it. ATF shut it down.

          3. Here on the gulf coast 😎 in the USA, every tobacco shop sells cigarettes rolling machines they’re manual but they are handy. I’m looking into an electric one.

  2. “Who told you the devils sticks are not good for you? The cigarette selling lobby.” If they told you smoke it its good you would not … no one likes the healthy stuff … but still plenty of stupid people who do the opposite of what they told hanging around …

  3. The sale of these machines to private individuals is only restricted in a few countries like Germany (not the EU in general), the restrictions only apply to the actual sale of complete machines or finished parts that can be used to assemble such a machine, and the point of the law is to prevent “industrial-scale backroom production” that could rival the legal tobacco industry and evade tobacco taxes, not punishing a couple of very lazy people making a couple of cigarettes in the living room.

    Sharing an STL file for free on the Internet is in no way covered by any regulation I know. The German law doesn’t even prevent commercial entities to sell such a design to a private individual AFAIK, it’s only about the physical items.

    1. Thank you for this information. Are you a lawyer? Where can I find information on this as an Austrian? I do not want to take any risk here. I do not think that it is in the law to publish a manual of such a machine.

    2. “Tabaksteuergesetz (TabStG) § 30 Steuerbefreiungen” states [Tax free are] ” 3. Zigaretten, die aus versteuertem oder steuerfreiem Rauchtabak mit der Hand oder einem einfachen Gerät hergestellt sind, wenn sie nicht entgeltlich abgegeben werden sollen. Einfache Geräte sind mechanische, von Hand zu bedienende Geräte zum Drehen oder Stopfen von Zigaretten, die sich nicht zur gewerblichen Herstellung von Zigaretten eignen.” and “(2) Geräte, die keine einfachen Geräte im Sinn des Absatzes 1 Nummer 3 sind, dürfen Privatpersonen nicht zum Kauf angeboten oder zur Herstellung von Zigaretten aus versteuertem oder steuerfreiem Rauchtabak bereitgestellt werden.” [1]

      So it is illegal to sell and provide access to those devices. The use of those devices for private consumption is legal. Buying outside Germany and importing for private use is legal. Customs may declare it as a device for commercial use and seize it.

      So I (NAL) don’t see any reason, why a blueprint to build such a device could be illegal.

      Your friendly prosecutor might think different and all hell breaks loose. Publishing stuff pseudonymous/anonymous on a foreign server won’t stop prosecution. The question is, whether the operators will and can help the German prosecutor. Operators could be persecute as accomplice and jailed (if German/European custom/police gets hand on them). This might sound far fetched, but there are some Crazy Prosecutor [tm] in G. (See the current situation with “Klimaproteste” and the help of Yandex in the NSU2.0 case.)


      1. Ok, so publishing the 3D models is not such a good idea. Thank you for the effort to find me the text of the law. I am concerned with the technology. It could be any machine. My point is to show what is possible with 3D printing.

        1. Considering it’s a US website, it shouldn’t matter, at all. It’s not even EU law, just german law. This device would be legal for me to own in the Netherlands. That other case inolves terrorism from what a quick google result tells me, which is a bit different than giving an STL of something that’s legal to own in other EU countries and has nothing to do with Germany.

    1. Store bought, in the UK they where sold under a brand called concept and available at most cigarette counters. There was also a hand powered tool to stuff them, properly still have it somewhere.

  4. If you want to attempt possibly painful slow suicide, then so be it. The process is useful for other vegetative materials, but I cant right now recall a use for a “tea bag” cylinder

    1. Yeah, but look on the upside… Nicotine will bump your IQ by about 10 points (plus improve your ability to focus on tasks), and it’s likely that you will die before you go senile.

      1. tobacco is an upper just like coffee. both have been historically used to make workers more industrious. when tobacco fell out of style the coffee machine remained. they say post war america was built on amphetamines as well. you could work 2 shifts at the factory, have a side job and skip sleep for a week. its also how motorhead was able to do an album every 2 years, tour constantly in between and do that for four decades non stop.

  5. Pretty impressive for something that was hand drilled and assembled without a T square or angle blocks. His drawings were much squarer than most people could achieve, though, so maybe he’s just got square eyeballs.
    That being said, it’s pretty slow for such an electronically complex design. Purely mechanical machines that run on one motor are quicker, and more efficient. The final tube stuffing magazine should be a double roller, to hold the paper case between them and a full insertion, reciprocating, filler tube, for a denser end product.

    Hey, I bet that Lego guy could build one, no T square necessary!
    Hmm. But I guess Lego Group would probably shut him down as well.

  6. I had a Top-o-matic back in my smoking days. It was a manual injector system where you loaded up a tube and approximately the right amount of tobacco and pulled a lever. You could do a whole pack in a a few minutes once you got the hang of it. The same company sold powered injectors that were expensive and didn’t work quite as well. I always wondered if I could have modified the old top-o-matic to automate dropping in the tobacco, as that was the slowest part.

    1. I had one of those too. I use a Powermatic 4 now, and it is amazing. I was trying to figure out a way to mechanize it more, with tube magazine and tobacco feed, to make it more of a production type device.

  7. Machines to do this in smoke shops were ALMOST a big thing 15 years ago. They used loose tobacco like pipe tobacco and were “operated” by the customer which avoided the additional cigarette tax. Both the cigarette companies and state and federal governments in the US stopped them by declaring that anyone with the machine was a manufacturer and had to install full safety equipment, etc. The tobacco shops were not about to install fire blankets and chemical showers and eye wash equipment and meet OSHA inspections, and that killed the innovation. At least in the US.

    1. I suspect this is what’s at work with the EU / German laws — that only cigarette manufacturers would want a machine, so providing the machines gets you close to a heavily regulated industry, and then the rules get complicated.

      There are similar laws about stills for alcohol, etc.

    2. In the UK they were ALMOST a big thing in the 1970s, but my understanding is that the tobacco supplied with them was the usual low-grade stuff laced with saltpetre; jurisdictions that have banned them are probably more interested in their loss of tax revenue than in the health of the users. Manual cigarette /rolling/ machines have never really gone out of fashion: particularly in more “alternative” areas of the country (Devon etc.) and amongst people whose taste for good tobacco outweighs their interest in the price.

    1. i knew a guy who had a manual cigarette press, i asked if weed would work, he said its too sticky and would gum up the machine with resin. some strains are fluffier than others and if you find just the right one it might be viable. but the stickier weed tends to be the better herb.

      i think you could design a machine that can actually work with the stickiness and roll a perfect joint, but im not sure how that would work.

  8. They make these things preassembled and sold in packages of twenty, dontcha know? Very little effort. There are sold everywhere too.
    Seriously tho
    The very very few times I’ve smoked have been in Europe where carefully hand rolling a single one is most of the fun. But to each their own.

    1. Unfortunately(for the smoker), “sin” taxes are trying to take mainstream cigarettes off the market, making them ridiculously unaffordable. I have seen $9 packs of cigarettes around here in the US mid-Atlantic… there was a time when one could get a whole carton(200 – 10 packs) for that price; this century, at that, not way back in the 70’s or anything. I can roll-my-own using unflavored pipe tobacco for a gross cost of around $0.30 a pack. The most inconvenient part of that cost is my time.

      After years of rolling my own, I smoked a mainstream brand cigarette once and almost gagged… I could taste the chemicals in it. So there’s that, too.

  9. I don’t see how posting the files for home use even relates. Maybe if he charges for the files. I highly doubt it. The easiest solution is to send them to someone in the US to post.

  10. wish people wouldn’t steal my ideas before my poor ass has a chance to execute, I was just looking at commercial cigarette rolling machines 2 months ago about and was thinking, damn, that’s expensive, how would I make this myself instead

    1. You can still execute, there’s plenty of room for refinement here!

      And then you can actually publish. Find one of those 3d-printed-gun websites and see if they’re brave enough to handle the files for a cigarette machine…

  11. had the problem, wanted to place an ad on ebay classifieds looking for a cigarette tamping machine, was deleted for violating the tobacco law.
    Then I placed an ad, looking for a tamping machine and it worked. German laws:-))

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.