Friday, January 27, 2017

3D Print: Filament Spool Identification Tags

This week, I am releasing one of my own designs: 3D printed filament spool identification tags!

The 48x48mm tags are designed to provide a quick means of identification for reordering a roll of filament, which I label with a piece of tape and a number. The filament tag is labeled with a number in the top right corner that matches the number on the spool.

From this, I add a description of the filament width and material, and add a second line for the spool color and weight. Lastly, there is a shortened URL with the link to the filament, which is made through Google's URL shortener.

As a bonus, these tags also provide an excellent color palette to choose colors for a new print.


The tags are created through an OpenSCAD library of my own design, which simply can be included in the same folder as a new filament tag file. The font used is Highway Gothic, a font designed by the United States Federal Highway Administration for its readability. I find that it prints very nicely.

In the specific filament tag file, simply use these lines of code, while filling in the values that work best for you:

use ;

              filament_number = "004",
              diameter_material = "3mm PLA",
              color_weight = "Blue 1kg",
              short_url1 = "",
              short_url2 = "onMWPY"

The filament_number is the number in the upper-right corner, the diameter_material is the line for diameter and material, the color_weight is the line for the plastic color and spool weight, and the last two lines are taken up by the shortened URL. I would avoid shortened URLs with lowercase t's (they print poorly) and numbers (they can become confused with letters.)

Optionally, include

line2_font_size = 5.7;

(or any other value that is not 5.7) after the filament_tag() clause to change the size of the color_weight line, just in case it is too long.

Here are a couple renderings of the sample file (included in the download.)


In order to print the tag in an equal manner for each plastic roll, I followed these directions:

All tags:
- 75% infill
- No raft
- 3 vertical shell perimeters
- 3 bottom layers
- 3 upper layers
- 0.2 mm layer height

All PLA tags:
- Glass bed
- 70 degree bed temp
- 183 degree extruder temp

All ABS tags:
- Glass bed
- 100 degree bed temp
- 225 degree extruder temp

Here are some photos from the grey tag print:

Here are some photos from the white ABS tag print:

Some photos from the orange PLA tag print:

The printer, churning out a new filament tag.

Some finished filament tags.

Zip download for source code and files can be found here.