Refill, spoolless filaments to reduce plastic waste


Users of fused material deposition (FDM/FFF) 3D printing have probably already faced a large quantity of empty plastic spools: what to do with them? If some recycle them, many throw them in a household waste bin and the sorting is not done.

In addition to this environmental issue, the spools can quickly become bulky, especially if a lot of filaments are used. It is to circumvent these barriers that certain material manufacturers have imagined filaments without a spool, called Refill. In France, the distributor Atome3D offers these solutions for sale, in particular those of eSun and Tag3D and soon Rosa3D, committing to a waste reduction policy.

If 3D printing uses only the quantity of material necessary, thus avoiding an overconsumption of materials, its environmental impact is not to be neglected - it is a plastics-consuming industry and recycling issues remain at the heart of the reflection of many actors. Beyond the composition of polymers– fossil industry or natural resources – packaging is an additional challenge.

For the FDM/FFF process, filaments are usually sold with plastic spools. Once finished, their treatment is not so obvious and if some reuse the reels as storage spaces or winders, they take up space. It is for this reason that some have imagined refillable spools, called MasterSpool, like cosmetics which creates bottles of soap or shampoo to be filled once the bottle is empty, or a water bottle which would replace the plastic bottle.

Atome3D therefore offers filaments without a spool, called Refill. These are materials designed by the companies Esun and Tag3D – be aware that more and more manufacturers are offering this type of filament. The range includes PLA and PETG in different colors and weights (currently 750 grams and 1 kilo). Each filament refill comes with zip ties to securely hold the filament and vacuum sealed to protect against moisture.

To these refills is added the reusable reel. Several options are available to you: you can directly buy the eSpool reel offered by eSun for less than 6 euros. Know that it is offered if you take a pack of 3 filaments. Otherwise, you can also create your own spool, the MasterSpool: upload the STL file to Atome3D and print it at home. The spool is made up of two screw-in parts, with a design that allows you to see the amount of filament remaining. A blocking system has been designed on the edge of the spool to hold the filament when not in use.