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I'm struggling to find out an enclosed 3D printer that allow to load the common 1 kg filament bobbins. Most of the enclosed ones accept only proprietary bobbins (like Dremel or Flashforge).

Do these bobbins ( = 1 kg) rely on a specific standard I can search for? How to filter out the printers that match my request when making a Google search?

I'm aware I can "easily" put them out of the machine using a custom support (or even directly in a dryer as I do for my Dremel) but this partially nullifies the advantage of the enclosure.

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    $\begingroup$ What makes you think having the filament in the enclosure is an advantage? $\endgroup$
    – Kilisi
    Sep 13, 2022 at 5:55
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    $\begingroup$ @Kilisi because (at least on my machine) if you have to put it outside, you must keep the door open! Hence the enclosure does not work properly to keep the heat inside che chamber. $\endgroup$
    – Mark
    Sep 13, 2022 at 7:23
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    $\begingroup$ You could always use a "passive" bowden tube from outside of the enclosure to the input end of your extruder. $\endgroup$
    – towe
    Sep 14, 2022 at 9:32
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    $\begingroup$ Most of the enclosed printers I've seen still keep the filament outside the enclosure, but they also have a specific place where the filament will feed in through a tiny hole, usually with a gasket of some kind. Bowden printers will often even run the bowden tube right up to the enclosure exit. No need to open a door for printing. $\endgroup$ Sep 14, 2022 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ Even printers with a direct drive might use a tube to guide the filament on the way in and protect it from cabling or to constrict the movement. $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Sep 15, 2022 at 12:41

2 Answers 2

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There are standards for spools/bobbins/reels

Looking for standards for spools, I started at Alibaba and then came to an actual European manufacturer or retailer of reels: Häfner. They manufacture reels for wires, which are also used for 3D printers. They helpfully provide a chart of their products from about 250 cm³ to a whooping 98454 cm³ - which is about 250 grams of ABS to in theory 98 kilos. However, typically the largest spool you will find for privates is the 300/20 K type with about 3800 cm³, which is more than enough to get a 4-kilo reel of PLA onto it. At times you might find something in the order of 8000 to 10000 cm³ for a rather heavy 8-kilo spool, though that is industrial sizing.

As this single offerer shows, spools are very varied, and the hub diameter of them is not standardized, but the boreholes only come in very distinct sizes.

However, some of the items that are sold as 3D filament spools are actually welding wire spools, for which standards exist, such as this dictating "2‐1/32 inch" arbor holes.

Scale of spools is dependant on the market

Typical enclosed consumer FDM machines are small.

But spools below 1 kilo are not useful for mass-production of large parts and even then, 3 kilos is a sweetspot for handling between ease of moving and time spent changing spools. So industrial machines usually take larger spools - or propriatory cannisters/cartridges with a spool.

One of the big ones is the Stratasys F900. It has a print-volume of 914 x 610 x 914 mm and takes "up to 500 cubic inch" cartridges, apparently the largest size of FDM Filament cartridge offered by Stratasys. For the record: 500 cubic inch weigh about 8 kilos in ABS, and about 10 kilos in PLA.

Modification of existing printers

It is almost trivial to modify an existing printer that takes non-proprietary spools to allow taking in filament from the outside without keeping the door closed. A piece of PTFE tube can easily take the position of the spool inside the machine to guide the filament into the machine-mounted intake. The modification might only need a single small hole in the door for the tube or its fitting to get into the machine.

This way you mount pretty much an adapter for larger spools, but you bypass for example automatic filament detection with the spool unless you also open the door and slot in a "disk" of sorts that contains the RFID with the configuration of the mounted spool.

A random example setup, mounting the "outer intake" in an angled block at the center of the former door:

an example setup

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice find, it seems my favorite Dutch filament OEM uses these spools (up to 8 kg!). $\endgroup$
    – 0scar
    Sep 16, 2022 at 6:28
  • $\begingroup$ @0scar those or at least some that are of the same construction or make - I am not sure Häfner makes them or retails them either... but it shows the variation of designs used. $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Sep 16, 2022 at 9:06
  • $\begingroup$ @0scar also, seems Stratasys offers that sizing for PVA XD $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Sep 16, 2022 at 10:48
  • $\begingroup$ I never buy bigger than 2.2 kg spools, to me the perfect balance between size and time it lasts, but indeed, the bigger the volume the larger the nozzle the faster the spool needs to be changed, hence the selling of 4 kg and 8 kg spools. $\endgroup$
    – 0scar
    Sep 16, 2022 at 12:01
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QIDI Tech makes a series of enclosed printers, which would narrow your search a bit. I own an X-Max model which has an internal spool spindle as standard equipment, along with an "ordinary" external mount. The internal spindle will take a standard one kilogram spool. It's considered good practice when printing moisture sensitive filament such as nylon to have such an environment.

With respect to search terms, it's fairly difficult to identify a phrase that would collect the information you require.

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