Jan 25, 2015 | By Alec

Have you ever noticed how quickly you can burn through those filament roles? Even if you don’t see yourself as an avid printer making hundreds of iterations, it can certainly feel that way if you’re always ordering new rolls. Well, now Thingiverse user Kyle Gagnon presents us with a solution to find out once and for all how much plastic you use: a 3D printable filament counter.

Not only is this a fun and remarkably easy project to complete, it’s also a very cool addition to most FDM 3D printers that will allow you to verify those claims about how much filament you use for certain projects. In a nutshell, it keeps track of how many meters of filament you ever use on a non-resettable rotary counter.

To make it, you’ll need to 3D print a couple of parts which will help you to clip it onto your own 3D printer. You might need to make a few modifications to design to ensure it fits your model; the original files are intended for an PrintrBot. However, Kyle states that it should be easily mounted to most printers through his custom mounting bracket and a zip-tie.

The only thing that isn’t 3D printed is the electromechanical counter itself. Kyle is currently experimenting with a few of these, which you can find all over the web. He originally referred to an expensive classic on eBay, but has is currently working to incorporate a very cheap model. Whatever one you use (perhaps you still have one laying around?), it should be fairly easy to incorporate.

Now, there isn’t an assembly tutorial or anything, but that process should be fairly simple. You’ll need to add a rubber band, some bolts and a hole reaming. Obviously, the motion of feeding the filament through the wheels will, thanks to the rubber band, slowly but drive up the counters to reveal how many meters have passed through. In the photo above, the white decimal point denotes the 1/10th meters.

All in all, this is a very fun project that should result in a quiet but very cool addition to your desktop 3D printer setup. So what are you waiting for? This is a device that will grant you some prime bragging material!


Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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