I really like the Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printer we have at the Library at the Dock as it’s really easy to use. At the Makerspace, when we introduce 3D printing to our digital skills classes, it’s great to see a participant go through the introduction and then graduate by printing their first design. In my eyes, it’s all about the doing, and the Rep 2 allows someone to get a result the first time.

One of the small issues this printer had was filament getting caught and tangled as it comes around the back of the machine into the extruder. Having the same issue on my Solidoodle 3 3D printer, I realised that the best way would be to have the filament above the extruder feeding directly from overhead.

I have seen many different solutions to this issue, but the one I liked personally was to have the filament a few meters above the printer, allowing no issues of entanglement and a free pathway. But as we don’t have a permanent place for our printers the answer had to be attached to the printer itself.

What I was able to find was a beautifully designed overhead gantry that I found on Thingiverse. This gantry is designed to bolt straight onto your metal frame of your Replicator 2 but be warned you need to get longer bolts than the ones supplied with your printer. A threaded rod will also act as your main axle, so the trip to your local hardware store will get you all the things you need for this upgrade.

Once you have the parts printed, it took me less than 15 minutes to have the gantry erected and operational. The printer now has four different types of filament available at any one time and it is now a dream to change colours when setting up a print.

Not only is this modification practical, but it also looks awesome. Our Replicator 2 is named Tron, and is open for use after a basic indoctrination, at the Library at the Dock’s Makerspace.

The STL for this modification can be found at http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:74050