APP – Spooling

It is important not to spool the filament while you are still experimenting with the settings.

At this stage, we have found the optimal settings to process our material: it is smooth, homogeneous, round, and has been consistent in thickness (with a good tolerance) for at least 30min.

It is finally time to spool it.

1. Before spooling

First, the spool should be well positioned in the Filament Maker:

  • Hold the spool with the spool holder, firmly, by tightening the spool holder.
  • Place the spool holder on the axle, making sure it is pushed all the way in.
  • Tighten the black knob behind the large panel at the back of the Filament Maker, all the way minus two full turns.
  • Try and manually rotate the spool on the axle ; you should feel a bit of resistance form the slipper clutch mechanism, beyond a few degrees.

The spool dimensions and the positioner must be calibrated, for each new type of spool. In other words, if you are always using the same model of spools, you only have to calibrate the machine once.

By default, the machine is calibrated with the settings for 3devo spools.

In order to calibrate a new spool:

  • Go to Main menu/Settings
    • Spool width: space between the two disks of the spool
    • Empty spool diameter
    • Full spool diameter
    • Don’t forget to Apply
  • Go to Main menu/Spooling/Positioner settings
    • Move to right
    • Change the value of Positioner right, then press Move to right. Repeat until the rings of the positioner are perfectly aligned next to the right disk of the spool. (Look straight through the positioner rings, picture an imaginary filament going through them ; that filament must land on the spool exactly against the disk)
    • Move to left
    • Change the value of Spool width, then press Move to left. Similarly to the previous point, repeat the proces until the positioner goes almost exactly up to the left disk of the spool.

2. Using the spooling wizard

The steps shown in the spooling menu must be followed in a certain way. Otherwise, the stable flow of material coming out of the nozzle will be turned into bad filament.

You will find the spooling wizard in:

  • Main menu
  • Spooling
  • Start spooling

It consists in 4 steps:

  • 1/4: Wait for the filament thickness to be stable. Normally, the filament thickness should, indeed, be stable for 20-30min before you even consider spooling the filament.
  • 2/4: Guide the filament through the positioner, then through the hole of the spool.
    • Start by cutting the filament close to the puller, using pliers.
    • Guide the filament through the first ring of the positioner, then the second ring. You must do this quickly after cutting it close to the puller. Unless the filament is extremely soft, the puller should move the filament, and you should just guide it.
    • From now on, you should keep the filament tense by pulling on it continuously, at the same speed as the puller. This trick is crucial.
    • Rotate the spool so that its hole is as close as possible to the positioner
    • Optional: Cut the filament between the positioner and the spool
    • Without spinning the spool manually, guide the filament through the hole of the spool
    • Optional: Cut the filament so that a 10cm piece comes out of the hole of the spool
    • The filament must be perfectly tense before you move on to the next step
  • 3/4: Wait for the tension to build up.
    • As soon as the spool starts to spin, you should pinch the filament firmly (180° turn) close to the spool hole, so that the shape acts as a ‘hook’ to retain the tension
    • Optional: If the filament is too rigid, you can instead tape it against the disk
    • Let the spool spin by itself without disturbing it: the slipper clutch mechanism is finding the best amount of tension
    • After 3 complete rotations, you can continue
  • 4/4: Spooling has started successfully.
    • Manually check the neatness of the spooling by gently looking for filament overlaps on the spool, with your fingers.
    • Manually check the tension between the positioner and the spool: the spool should be collecting the filament, not stretching it, nor letting it hang loosely.

If you notice any spooling issues right after having launched the process, it is wiser to check the spool dimensions and start the spooling process all over again, before you obtain a full spool you cannot print.