Overengineered Spools

Overengineered soda-fountain valves, in Hamburg, Germany

Overengineered soda-fountain valves, in Hamburg, Germany

This post is a sub-series concerning the redesign of the various parts of my DrawBot.  In short, I am looking to design/redesign

  • PolagraphSD case – discussed here – done!
  • Mounts for a paper roll – discussed here – waiting to upload…
  • Filament spools – discussed in this post – waiting to upload…
  • Stepper motor mounts – TBD1
  • Pen holder/gondola – TBD
  • Filament guides – TBD

After several iterations, I printed the parts2 for spools for the newest version of my DrawBot.  ((Photo courtesy of Cory Doctorow))

The original spools I designed were simultaneously over-and-under engineered.  They were over-engineered since, for spools, they required two separate parts that would be friction-fit together around the monofilament line.  They were under-engineered since, ultimately they once came apart while still attached to the robot – resulting in a lot of monofilament line unspooling everywhere.  While not tragic, it was a small hassle.

The second iteration of the spool for my DrawBot was far simpler.  You feed the monofilament line through a tiny hole in the spool and slide it onto the stepper motor shaft.  It was a single print where one end of the spool was flat and the other end was beveled to comply with the “45 degree” rule.  This spool design worked wonderfully – once I forced them onto the stepper motor shaft.  They were also bubble gum pink, according to my daughter’s specifications.  However, once I decided to upgrade my DrawBot into a PolargraphSD, I needed to remove the motors from their mounts – which meant I needed to take the spools off.  Unfortunately, taking the spools off proved to be a problem.  I had to literally hack them off using some heavy wire cutters, pliers, and a no-foolin’ hacksaw blade.  It did not help that I printed them at 100% infill.  I cannot imagine for the life of me WHY I wanted to print spools, that are basically non-weight-bearing, in solid plastic.  The big problem with this design was that the tolerances on the spools were not right – and it is entirely possible they never would be.  Slightly too tight and they would have to be destroyed to be removed or adjusted and slightly too loose and they might not stay on the shaft or have too much play as the robot operates.  In the end, I’m just not sure I could really “trust” a single-print press-fit spool to be removable and reliable.

Which now brings me to the spools I have designed over a few days and printed yesterday.  After several revisions I now have two spools3 which are themselves compromised of two parts.  I would have to say that although this spool is more complex than the first version I used, it is probably going to be the most reliable overall.  Each spool requires 2x M3x16 bolts, 1x M3x12 bolt, and three M3 nuts.  The two M3x16 bolts hold the top and bottom parts of the spool together tightly and the single M3x12 bolt is used to tighten the spool to the motor shaft.  The result final result are two spools that are symmetrical, do not have a beveled end where monofilament can be gathered over an increasing diameter, and can be tightened on the motor shaft or removed with ease.  They’re also somewhat heavy which gives them a good respectable “this-is-definitely-a-robot-part” feeling.

I will be sharing these designs on Thingiverse and they will be able to be found under my Designs or tagged with DrawBot, but I’m going to wait until after I’ve assembled the entire robot and have actually drawn something.  For all I know these could be abysmal failures.

Stay tuned – next, I’ll overdesign motor mounts!4

Posts in the DrawBot Adventure Series
  1. Wanna make a DrawBot?
  2. DrawBot Resources and Links
  3. DrawBot, the Adventure Begins
  4. DrawBots for the slow learner
  5. DrawBot - Parts Ordered!!!
  6. DrawBot - Parts Shipped!!!
  7. DrawBot - What would you draw?
  8. DrawBot - The Plan!
  9. DrawBot - The Hacks
  10. DrawBot - Giant Unicorn?
  11. DrawBot - The Delivery?
  12. DrawBot - The Delivery, Part II
  13. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part III
  14. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part I
  15. DrawBot – The Software, Part I (and an existential conversation)
  16. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part II
  17. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part III
  18. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part IV
  19. DrawBot – Design Considerations
  20. DrawBot – Halp!!! No - seriously, a little help?
  21. DrawBot – The Face Palm
  22. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part V
  23. DrawBot – The Silver Lining of Failure
  24. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part VI
  25. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part V
  26. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VI
  27. DrawBot – Printed Parts
  28. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VII
  29. DrawBot – The Operation, Part I
  30. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VIII
  31. DrawBot – Printing!
  32. DrawBot – Printing, Part II
  33. DrawBot – Why are you crying?
  34. DrawBot – Calibration
  35. DrawBot – Pen Selection
  36. DrawBot – How to Recover from a Stalled Print!
  37. DrawBot – Drawing Success(ish)!!!
  38. DrawBot – Pen Selection, Part II
  39. DrawBot – Onwards and Upwards!
  40. Restarting a Stalled DrawBot Drawing
  41. TSP FTW!
  42. Speedier DrawBot Drawings
  43. Two new DrawBot links! And an update!
  44. Excellent DrawBot Slides
  45. Another Drawing Robot!!!
  46. DrawBot Practice Tip: A Watched Pot
  47. The biggest inkjet printer ever
  48. Why do DrawBots draw on walls?
  49. Maze Code + Polargraph?
  50. All New Polargraph on the way!!!
  51. Ideas for improving my DrawBot
  52. DrawBot Aesthetic Re-Design Ideas
  53. The Eagle Has Landed
  54. Every Body Needs a Skull
  55. I think I know what I want to draw next...
  56. Overengineered Spools
  57. Overengineered Stepper Motor Mounts, Filament Guides
  58. Overengineered Bolt Endcaps, Case Holder
  59. Sourcing DrawBot Parts
  60. DrawBot - A Tour!
  61. DrawBot - A Preview
  62. Arduino Powered Drawing Robot Poll
  63. Building an Arduino Drawing Robot - On The Cheap
  64. DrawBot - Printed Parts Tour
  65. Unidentified Foam Object
  66. Arduino Powered Drawing Robot - Take 2 (Or 3)
  67. DrawBot, now ACTUALLY wall mounted!
  68. A Study of Drawing Robot Pen Holders and Design Considerations
  69. Drawing Robot Pen Holders, Calligraphy Pens, and Thought Experiments
  70. Ideal Qualities in a Drawing Robot Pen Holder
  71. DrawBot Pen Holder Post Mortem
  72. To Maker Faire!!!
  73. Skipping! How could I forget the skipping?!
  74. PlotterBot at Maker Faire Bay Area 2013!
  75. PlotterBot.com - a new site dedicated to drawing robots
  1. To be designed! []
  2. Plural?!?! []
  3. Printed at only 10% infill! []
  4. Then, it’s ten somersets I’ll undertake on SOLID GROUND! []

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