Creality Ender spool holder upgrade

I've been using my 3D printers a lot recently and as is the case with pretty much any tool, heavy use shows up flaws.

The spool holder that ships with the Ender models is a simple large diameter plastic tube. Which kind of works but I've realised this has a couple of problems.

The standard spool holder simply doesn't hold the 0.5Kg reels I have, the diameter is too large. More importantly there's a lot of friction that means it pulls the filament tight and I think on a couple of occasions has caused it to snap. I tried adding some shiny tape but it didn't really help.

A long time back I made a freestanding spool holder for my old Ormerod and I was using that for the 0.5Kg reels but the filament snapping is very annoying on a long print as the Enders have no filament sensor.

To fix this I spent a little time today knocking up a similar arrangement to the standalone holder for the Enders that goes in place of the tube. It's some 3D printed parts, 608-RS bearings, M8 studding and nuts. Now the spool moves completely freely and filament falls off the spool nicely rather than being pulled tight.

Job done.

OctoPrint PSU control

I've been using my Creality printers with OctoPrint running on Raspberry Pis for a little while now and it's made them really seamless to drive. One last thing has been bugging me, I want the printers to switch off at the end of a long print. A very quick look online shows there's a plug-in for this so I ordered a couple of cheap SSRs and today spent a little while setting this up.

The plug-in can be configured with a GPIO pin it then uses to turn power on/off and I selected pin 8. This meant I could solder up a very simple straight three pin header with 5V, GND and pin 8 next to each other.

There is a tiny gotcha with this choice in that pin 8 is GPIO14 which is used for the serial console on the Pi by default. So you have to use raspi-config and disable both the console and serial hardware in the 'Interfacing options' menu.

With that done, it was simple to configure the pin in PSU control and check it would turn the SSR on/off. This worked immediately but I found that the action was 'inverted' and the plug-in has a convenient tick-box that fixes that.

To manage the printer power I took the existing IEC mains lead and carefully stripped the outer sheath, exposing the individual wires. That made it easy to break the live connection and have it switched by the SSR without having joins in the earth and neutral.

So this was safe to have floating around on my bench, I designed a 3D printable enclosure and have published it on Thingiverse. This enclosure will obviously work for any use of these little SSRs and I'm tempted to buy a few more to have in stock for future projects. The cable channel is the right diameter for typical IEC leads and grips it when you tighten the cover down.

Creality Ender 3 camera mount

I've been using my Ender 3 a lot and am very impressed with it. Teamed up with Octoprint it's just great. Better 3D printers are legion but this will do me for the foreseeable future.

Octoprint supports a USB webcam for remote print monitoring and I've been using one of my stash of old Xbox LiveCams for this.

However I got tired of having it gaffa taped to a jar nearby as I kept knocking it out of alignment. To stop this I made a little mount which works quite nicely, so I stuck it on Thingiverse.

All it needs is some double sided tape to hold it on the printer and a sticky pad for the camera. Should work with any old webcam with a flat base.

I started out designing something to fix with the bolts that secure the Y stepper motor but realised they're too short to use and have any meat to the print. This version fits reasonably snugly so the tape doesn't really take much load.