This is a multi part, series of posts on the construction of a new 3D printer Filament Health Monitor system. It is my express intent and hope that you will build, modify and expand on the product I present.
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My current storage solution works just fine for keeping things dry, but I am a really bad estimator of how much filament I have remaining which leads to a lot of remnant spools. My filament runout sensors are great, but not in the middle of the night. I want to be able to run a print and know with confidence that I have enough to get through it. To know how much I have, I will need to weight it. Next, if it is going to feed the filament, the device must allow the spool to rotate. To know when I need to change out the decadent I will need to monitor Humidity levels and possibly temperature. Finally, if I am printing remotely, I’d like to know what color filament is loaded (Stretch Goal). This leads to the following requirements for my build:
Shall be able to weight the spool.
Shall allow the spool to rotate.
Should monitor Humidity
Should monitor Temperature
Could detect color of filament
Shall be remotely accessible
Does it Exist Already?
I’ve seen a few different filament storage methods. I have found that I have to store my filament in a dry box of some sort or another. Currently I use a tuber ware container but it lacks a certain amount of smarts. After browsing for other solutions, I stumbled on two particular offering on Amazon. The first, from eSun:
This one was pretty neat. It reported the temperature, humidity and even the weight of the filament remaining on the little screen at the front. However, at the price point, I couldn’t imagine buying the five or six as I intended. Also, you couldn’t see the stats remotely, a real hope I had. The next one was this offering from Polymaker:
This one was even more basic. It is big enough that you can fit two spools in it at once but other then that there is not much to it. It has a humidity readout and a place for desiccant. That’s it. I think we can do better.
After looking around a bit I was able to find all of the devices and parts I was going to need. I bought more than I needed as I hoped to be able to experiment and possible build more. Most of the items I used are listed below.
Of note, the above BOM does not include the wire or tools I used to build this monitor. For those, you should check out my article on wire wrapping. It is a some what forgot technique for building low run count circuits that are repairable and highly durable. It made this project soooo much easier and I wish I had learned to do it a long time ago: