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MakerBot filament dry box

Moisture is the number one enemy of a successful 3D print. This moisture proof storage unit keeps the filament dry during printing.

Simple design.

The dry box features simple mechanisms for ease of use. The filament spool rolls on pair of adjustable rollers.

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The dry box must face backwards when used with Method since it was designed for another unreleased product.

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Bottom details.

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A channel inside the filament box maintains the proper bend radius for the PTFE tube to ensure low friction. A heated chamber at the bottom of the dry box blows hot air in to the storage.

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Exploded view

3D printed Prototype used for friction testing.

Process:

Research

I started off looking at some existing filament storage solution on the market. Most of them are pretty simple with no heating.

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I decided to explore how the filament dry box will be intergraded with the Method 3D printer in simple 2D views.

Placement explorations

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Filament loading explorations

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UX Work flow explorations

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Heating options

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I moved on to conceptualize the design in 3D. I started with drawing and then moved on to CAD.

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I want the final product to feel transparent, revealing the filament as much as possible.

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Spool size

Different spools must be able to fit in the filament dry box while accommodating the space for RFID and heating assembly. The box needs to fit at least two smaller method filament spools and one 1kg 3rd party spool.

Refined concepts

These concepts are more thought out after the previous rounds of exploration.

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Concept 1

This version incorporates sharp edges in it's design to establish visual cohesion with the Method 3D printer

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Lock

Dock for PTFE

Desiccant compartment

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Explored two option for routing.

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Power

Connectivity

RFID reading

If the caddy has a display, connectivity is not needed. The user can use the pug for material recognition

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Three concept for opening the caddy.

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Printed prototype.

Concept 2

This concept features a more curve out look to match the new heater placement decision.

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USB port

Connectivity

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Concept 3

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Lid on a spring loaded slider that opens vertically.

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Concept 4

Lid opens from the top, the filament is loaded through a channel on the inside of the caddy.

Concept 5

A iteration of concept 2 but with a flat sealing face for gasket.

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Final concept development

This is the chosen concept that has top opening lid with an area for loading filament at the front. 

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Area for filament switch 

Opening for loading filament

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Dimension for filament bend radius is carefully considered as it affects will add unwanted friction to the filament loading process.

Form explorations

With considerations to how the caddy will look with Method, I worked on a series of explorations with the engineering requirements.

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RFID reading explorations

One major challenge for this stage of the design is to figure out how to accommodate RFID reading for two different size spools.

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Spool size

Different spools must be able to fit in the filament dry box while accommodating the space for RFID and heating assembly. The box needs to fit at least two smaller method filament spools and one 1kg 3rd party spool.

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We want to use the same PCB set up as the Method filament bay. I did some test to confirm the reading range.

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33mm max offset

30mm max offset

Inner bucket RFID reading explorations

In order to make up for the difference in RFID placement for the two different spool size, I look at some possible mechanisms to re-locate the spool inside the caddy

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Spools and RFID on an adjustable platform.

Adjustable back roller.

Adjustable roller.

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Spools on adjustable rollers

Spools and RFID on an adjustable roller with guide

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This concept below is ultimately chosen for it's simplicity.

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Mechanical development

The following pictures/ videos documents some of the mechanical developments of the caddy.

Top lid and lock mechanism

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Chosen design

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Printed prototype

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PTFE securement explorations

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Chosen design: Silicone housing for securement and moisture sealing. 3D printed prototype below.

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Base prototype: for friction testing

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PCB place holder

Upper PTFE constraint

Funnel prototype

LED

Lower PTFE constraint

PTFE exist port

PTFE exist port

Funnel prototype

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Thank you!