Project: Spool Holder (ver. 1.1) – printing with supports

Our new spool holder works really well, especially considering that it is only the first version. It rolls really smoothly and has not slipped off the bearings yet, thanks to the wall supports on the clips.

There are still some things we were unhappy with though. This is a changelog (i.e. a list of changes from the last version):

  1. Made the spool holder base 2mm wider for a snug fit with the cavity.
  2. Added sliding cutouts (these are known as dovetails) for fitting the clips to the base without any need for superglue.

spool holder clip

I added jigsaw cutouts to Zhuowei’s ver 1 design, so that we can slide the clips in and adjust their positions without having to fix them down with superglue. Learning from past lessons, this time round I added a 0.4 mm gap between the two objects (0.2mm for each object) to ensure that the fit would be just right.


The clip is no longer able to print without supports, since it now has suspended features. Time to learn how to use supports in FlashPrint …


Just click on the Supports button at the top, and let FlashPrint auto-generate the supports. Not too bad for a first attempt. But we don’t actually need some of those; the protrusions are tiny and sloped and should print fine without the middle supports. So click Delete on the left side and click them away. Then click Back at the top. When FlashPrint asks if you want to save the supports to the file, click Yes (unless you’d like to repeat this process all over again the next time).


This next part got me stuck for about 15 minutes. When generating the gcode (for the printer to know how to move its motors) during printing, it kept leaving out the supports. Turns out I forgot to set one simple option:

support options

Set Supports to “Right Extruder” (or whichever extruder you are using). With that, the gcode should include the supports now.

By the way, the reason there is an option to set supports to Left Extruder is that for some complicated prints with lots of supports, you may not wish to have to break the supports off manually. There are dissolvable plastic filaments available: PVA (water-soluble), and HIPS (limonene-soluble). We will try this out one day, but for now we are focusing on designing parts for simple 3D printing.


It is good practice to check the gcode file thoroughly before printing. It can save you lots of frustration (and hair).

The test print part shows lots of oozing. We tried printing at 190°C and 195°C, and neither was able to eliminate the oozing; this happens when the 3D printer extruder continues to extrude plastic while the extruder nozzle is travelling to the next point. The extruded plastic gets stuck onto the side of the print, making it look like a baby dribbling its food. We’ll need to look into this sometime.

2015-06-19 10.14.03

This needs quite a bit of “post-processing” (a technical euphemism for “cleaning up”) with an art knife; fortunately, the Flashforge Dreamer 3D printing kit comes with one. 3D printing definitely is not print-and-go!

The actual print didn’t come out too bad. The supports were easy to remove, and the clips slid into the base with some force required. Unfortunately, our first design had a base that was too thick, making the clips too strong and unbendable! (Excess strength is not always a good thing.) It was a hell of a time trying to pry them open to fit the ball bearings in. Time to update the design:

Photo 24-6-15 17 44 42

There, much better. And putting it in position:

Photo 12-8-15 16 20 58


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