So what's involved in supporting 3rd party filament on a printer that takes proprietary cartridges? Well as you can imagine I'm not the first to do this and there is solutions out there already. The problem is two fold......the first is how to get the filament to the extruder. The second is how to fool the printer into thinking it's using it's own filament. The physical side of using 3rd party filament itself has several options, firstly you can mount an spool holder on the back and feed the filament though a gap in the case, this design from DaakTwo demonstrates it well. You can see the filament enters the printer through the gap in the back of the case. This is were the standard cartridges are located so the filament uses the same guide path to the extruder.

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:722110

DaVinci rear spool

 

This design doesn't work for me since my workbench is limited in depth and therefore the back of my printer is against a wall. There are also side hanging version of this idea (not shown) but this has the same problem for me, lack of space. So what alternative do I have.........well there is a nice set of designs for spool holders on the top of the printer. This one from mathers3000 shows it well.

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:727723

DaVinci TopSpool

You can see the filament entering the printing through the gap at the top. The extruder is located just below this gap. I like this design as it deals with my space problem and still looks nice. However the top of the case of mine (later version that the one in the photo, my sides are blue not grey) is very thin and I would worry about it supporting the weight of a full reel.

That lead me to the same conclusion I had in my previous article.......the Da Vinci has loads of internal space, why not put the spool inside and use some of this space. Turns out I'm not the first with this idea and rawkstar320 has designed a nice set-up. The only issue with internally mounting the spool is guiding the filament to the extruder with as little friction as possible. This is included in the design on thingiverse too.

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:592197

DaVinci InternalSpool

This consists of a spool holder that the spool sits on. There were hanging designs that use the handle holes in the sides of the case but as I like to keep the hole seals in place these were not an option. Also included is a corner loop that takes the filament from the bottom of the spool and allows it to go around the 90 deg corner in the rear of the case and travel upward. At the top of the Z-axis lead-screw another new part is added that guides the filament through a hole in the chassis and on to the extruder.

The corner piece has since been remixed by NickJallday to further reduce the friction on the filament so there is less possibility of it jamming and ruining a print.

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:888681

DaVinci cornerremix

All these parts have now been printed and installed.....

DaVinci Internal Spool

....but that leads me to the next issue of the usage monitoring chip inside the XYZPrinting cartridges. That's for the next post.