My Initial exploration into a Filament Spool Holder design, and the use of topology optimisation and the simulation environment on Fusion 360.
Access to powder-jet printing invites the use of multi-colour into the communication of my designs and the ability to print in metals allows high strength parts, similar to those in industry. As a result I have decided that I’d like to do some sort of generative design and/or topology optimisation for my project, where I can compare materials and fabricate a physical representation of CAD stress simulation.
One Idea I had, where I would be able to communicate/showcase skills learnt in such techniques, through something that I could use, would be a new spool holder for my Ender 3 Pro 3D printer. The existing spool holder, by default, is bolted vertically to the top of the frame. This makes very little design sense, due to the filament feeder being positioned on the gantry, and feeds in the direction of the X axis.
The best position for the spool holder would be right next to the printer, alongside the feeder where it is more able to pull filament through to the extruder smoothly, without disrupting extrusion.
Due to a reel of filament being an ideal weight to test CAD and prints with (aswell as my interest in using bearings in the assembly), I thought that this might be an opportunity to design using topology optimisation (and high strength materials) for the project, or at least to start with.
My first attempts of using the topology optimisation tool can be seen below. I started by modelling a very basic, blocky spool holder, where the constrained square at the bottom will interface with my Ender 3 Pro, and the filament spool will sit on the cylindrical part of the model. I ran a simulation using a 1Kg load on a steel holder…
By setting the optimisation criteria to a mass target of 30%, the following shape was generated.
This has created an interesting shape, where a thin bar of material arches round from the front of the constraint, to the under-side of the cylinder, and another arches in the opposite direction, from the top of the constraint, to the front of the cylinder. However, as we can see from increasing the target mass to 35%, connections between the two bars start to form.
The next step would be to model a spool holder from these results, using the resultant mesh as a template shape. However, due to this being early experimentation and having validated the use of this technique for such a object, I will first be considering and sketching other parts of the design. I would also like to do more research into available materials and how this might affect the optimised shape/the design of the spool holder.