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filament drybox for use with filament buffer, linear track rewind mechanism, or spring hub rewind mechanism

by ea69 Sep 3, 2019
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I love this design... but I do have a number of queries/comments... constructive queries/comments of course!

I could be wrong but it doesn't seem to me that the two halves of the box are clamped together. Is this something that you might be considering?

The desiccant container is intended for loose desiccant. I've been using the desiccant that comes in bags with the filament spools. I guess I could cut the bags open but it then becomes a bit messy. Are there any plans to accommodate bags or should I be considering a remix?

The hygrometer is set at an angle on the box side. I can understand why its on the side (more room for its workings) but what is the intention of angling it?

Still on the hygrometer, it would be more useful if it were sited on the upper part of the case, then it could be more easily read. I understand the justification for putting it on the side (and the issues with putting it anywhere else) but it'd be a bugger to read if multiple boxes are placed side by side.

Lastly, I'd be great if there was come kind of colour indicator to indicate what colour filament is loaded inside. Just a little color patch that could be stuck to the outside would do. Perhaps a small holder that the patch could slip into?

chiwi, i appreciate your kind words. i appreciate any and all questions and feedback, so thank you for taking the time to provide them.

the two halves do not clamp together. i considered several clamping/retention mechanisms, but ultimately decided nothing was needed. the top has enough overlap on the outside of the bottom that it will not fall off. I am a minimalist and try to keep things as simple as possible.

you are correct. loose desiccant was the design center. It is much cheaper to buy and much easier to re-use (after over drying). To allow the use of packets, the easiest solution would be to remove the top of the desiccant chamber so that packets could just be dropped in from the top. The threaded plug could also be deleted as well since it is not needed. I would be more than happy to make these simple changes for you if desired.

The hygrometer is angled to keep out out of the way if the bolt and buts on the track.This is not a problem with inch/imperial nuts and bolts. But, it could be with metric hardware. It is smaller diameter and can get pretty long if the user needs to be on the higher end of the recommended total weight range.

agree that the side location is a compromise. But, I wanted to drybox to be as small as possible and to print in minimal time with the least filament. Putting the hygrometer on either the front or angled face made the box quite a bit larger as the hygrometer is pretty thick and you have to prevent interference with a completely full filament spool. The side location already has some "free' space due to the gear mechanism, so the hygrometer can be incorporated without making the box any larger.

gbzh01 created neat printed labels for filament number (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3741521) and i incorporated a mounting location for them into the drybox. I think you could print those with the actual filament you are using to indicate color as well. would that meet your needs?

Numbers fitting Multiple Mechanism Auto-Rewind Spool Holder
by gbzh01

Thanx for your reply. Did I mention that I love this design?

I've been thinking about some of the aspects that I raised earlier and I've come up with some suggestions (if you'll pardon the impertinence).

UN-CLAMPED BOX HALVES - the problem I have is that I'm working in a REALLY cramped environment. Things get kicked, knocked about etc. If I accidentally dislodged the upper half of the dry box, I might not notice for months which kinda defeats the purpose. My solution would be some sort of band clamp. I was thinking of something similar to a clip used most commonly to clip the top of potato crisp packets... hinged on one end, latch on the other, probably with a C cross-section. It could be designed as a separate part thereby retaining your "less is more" design philosophy but still providing the option of whether or not to use it.

DESSICANT - Here in New Zealand, we don't like wasting things. The only time something gets thrown out is when its beyond practical use. So, reusing desiccant packets is the norm. Looking at your design, I think the easiest way to accommodate this would be to make the inside filter (nice design feature BTW) removable something like a removeable battery cover on a toy. Of course, it would be necessary to unload the filament when changing the desiccant packet but unfortunately the outside face doesn't lend itself to this modification.

I checked out the printed labels by gbzh01. Interesting idea although I wasn't able to identify their intended location on your dry box. Identifying what colour filament is in the box isn't as simple as glancing at it. Also some method of identifying the filament type (ABS, PETG, flexible etc) would be useful. IMHO a coloured tile with a holder that you could stick to the outside of the box would be the answer. That way you could print out the colour for that particular spool as well as write on it what it was. If you changed the filament, you could remove the tile and replace it with a new one.

Also have you considered adding a gasket to your design? It would help with the seal. It wouldn't need to be anything fancy. Just something that sandwiched between the two halves of the case would work fine.

-- x --

Where I live is an island surrounded by the sea. Ok, its quite a big island but its still an island. Where the problem comes in is that the air is extremely humid (sometimes reaching saturation density of 90%). Of course this wreaks havoc with filaments that need to be kept dry. At the moment, I'm using Ziploc bags (with desiccant bags inside) to store my filaments but when I need to use them, they come out of the bags and might stay loaded for a week or two. As you can see, I need a better system.

What I like the most about your design is that its practical with alternative options. However, for my scenario, its close but not quite there yet. I guess I could remix/design some of these things myself but it never seems to be as good as getting it from the original source.

As a designer myself, I know the kind of hours that go into any design so I hope you'll take these suggestions in the friendly manner in which they're intended.

As i said before, I believe that all feedback is a gift. i really do appreciate you taking the time to provide your thoughts and suggestions!

Let me think about an optional add-on clamp. I can probably come up with something. BTW, have you considered using 2-3 large rubber bands like these? https://www.amazon.com/Rubber-Pieces-Elastic-Durable-Industrial/dp/B07TJ6CCQZ They would serve to both keep the halves together and as "feet" for the drybox to keep it from sliding easily.

I've attached a .stl for a simple desiccant pack option. You could load packets in the compartment any time the drybox top was off. To remove them, you would either need to turn the bottom piece upside-down so they would fall out or use tweezers/pliers. Also, there is room to place loose desiccant packets just resting on the bottom of the main compartment under the spool.

the tags fit into the little pockets on the housing the track runs in (if you are using the drybox as a rewinder for a MMU). The last picture in the "thing details" tab shows a label in place. Was thinking you could print using the material (to show color) and change to a single letter ("A" for ABS, "P" for PLA, "G" for PETG, etc.) rather than a number.

I had designed a set of gaskets that were printable with TPU, but never tested them. gwildavies suggested that I put in a channel where 1.75mm TPU filament could be inserted rather than printing gaskets (which was brilliant). I changed jobs in the fall and have fallen behind on fun stuff. But, I am settled into the new job now and have been able to get back on some of my hobby projects. In fact, I made the changes to incorporate a TPU filament gasket over the weekend and am making a test print tonight,

I am in Houston, TX which is right on the Gulf of Mexico. We have terrible year round humidity. I also keep my filament in ziplock bags and along with the attached enclosure for loose desiccant when not in use and print from a drybox. We are definitely solving the same problem....

Apologies, I'm probably walking on eggshells. The last email trail I was involved in wasn't particularly well received.

The rubber bands would likely work but don't appear to be a particularly elegant solution. I'd have to think about that one.

The modification of the desiccant area by removing the top certainly solves the issue of using desiccant packets but I'm concerned that it may disadvantage people using loose dessicant. Perhaps some kind of removable cap or plug to seal it might be in order?

Now that you've pointed out the location of the tag holder I can see it (I clearly need to get my eyes tested). I agree, a coloured lettered patch would certainly work there.

Regarding gaskets, you might find this useful as a reference https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2119644
A while back I was keen on implementing this variant but never did for a variety of reasons. Obviously it was a much earlier design that doesn't support auto-rewind but it is notable for its sealing gasket and hinged locking lid. BTW The channel for the TPU was a great idea!

Its interesting that you only use the dry box for the active filament. I hadn't considered using it in that manner. My intention was to have all filaments in their own box and simply swap the entire thing out when changing filaments.

I am in the process of various upgrades to my printer at the mo. I'd like to implement an MMU2 but sadly the time commitment puts that into the "gotta get around to it" category (can't let anything derail me from my CNC build which is the reason that I originally got the printer). Hence my interest in dry boxes, filament buffers and auto-rewind spools. I've slowly been building towards multi filament so in the interim its likely to be a combiner like the Prometheus or Prusas original MMU.

On a personal note, I've got a cousin somewhere in Texas and also one in Atlanta. I've also been to your part of the world; I took a NASA course in Huntsville and also a cruise from Miami. It seemed like an interesting place. Mind you, the more that I travel, the more I discover that one place is much like the other... only the people change.

SPANNERHANDS Spool System Wall Mounted Spool Holder & Dust Cover

I created a quick release for this drybox so it can be screwed down, but still removed easily to empty/fill the desiccant chamber.

Quick release for filament drybox

sorry for the slow response....I've been away on vacation with my family.

that quick release is a great idea. I've modified the drybox description to reference it. It might be good for you to list it as a remix of the drybox as well.

How about an option for this hygrometer?
A 41.5mm hole should do it.

do you have a unit that you could take a few additional measurements from?

The amazon page shows that the unit is 15mm thick. But, it is unclear if that is the total depth, or the depth below the bezel.

The square device I used must be outset a bit to keep it from interfering with the filament spool. But, it cannot go out too far or else it will interfere with the counter weight bolt when the track is at the bottom.

With calipers, I measure the depth as 14mm from the back of the bezel to the back of the unit. Overall thickness including bezel is just under 16mm. The body diameter measures as 41.1mm. Bezel diameter is 45.2mm.

I am pretty sure this will work, but cannot be 100% certain since I do not have one of those sensors to test fit.

Please print the stl below and let me know if any changes are needed.

Once you confirm that all is well, I'll post in the main files tab.

I printed the cover at .3mm height, no supports. I did a small amount of cleanup due to the overhang at the top of the cutout, otherwise it fits perfect.

looks great....

Can I suggest a mod? I'd like a version with slightly better sealing of the main join between top and bottom halves. How about a little channel into which you can insert some flexible filament?

got busy, but will take a stab at implementing your idea this week.

I actually have STL files for a pair of gaskets to print using flex and then glue down to the bottom. But, I got busy on other stuff and never found the time to try them out.

your idea to just use filament is much better.

let me look at it and see how to best make the changes.

Unfortunately the humidity sensor linked in the description is no longer available. Can anyone tell me the dimensions of theirs?
I can then check against some that are available, https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07DHRRZHF/ref=dp_cerb_1?th=1
That new link looks the same and has external dimensions of: 1.89 x 1.13 x 0.6" (48 x 28.6 x 15.2mm)

the one you have linked is identical and will work.

I ordered some and you're right, they work perfectly. Thanks!

I was using 5 re-winders for my Prusa printer and mmu2, but I was having a lot of print issues if I left the filament on the re-winders, the humidity is currently 50% where my printer lives. This is exactly what I was looking for and I am able to use may of the parts from the re-winders that are currently in use. I will be attaching 5 of them to the top of my Ikea Lack printer stand to keep the the overall footprint of my printer to a minimum. One down 4 to go. Print is clean and solid with the suggested settings.

how have these been working for you?