When you already own a 3D printer you can start buying products that come in two halves – one that is 3D printable and you need to make the parts yourself and another one that is with components that you cannot print. We have purchased the RoboSavvy Universal Spool Holder kit that essentially comes just like we described above as we wanted to have a separate filament spool support that is not directly attached to the 3D printer. The kit itself comes with all the metal parts that you need in the form of rods, nuts and bearings and the other plastic parts you need to print yourself – the STL files are provided (the parts in black on the photo above we have printed ourselves). The parts you cannot print are actually common items that you might be able to easily find in a hardware store near you, but you need to buy them separately and they are sold as a complete kit, so it is easier to acquire all that you need.


The Universal Spool Holder is designed to support two medium sized spools of varying lengths at once, and can be adjusted to support spools up to 21 cm wide, so pretty large ones. On the photo above you can see our fully assembled spool holder with a single MakerBot large 0.9 kg (2lb) spool of PLA material mounted on top of it, this leaves quite a lot of space for more than one more spool even if larger, and even though the spool is small in one end the holder remains stable and works well. It would’ve been nicer if we’ve had another 4 bearings and wing nuts in the kit, so that we could add the option for a third spool, but we can get them additionally anyway, so not much of a problem. The idea is that the spool holder is designed for medium and large size spools and you are most likely going to be using a lot of smaller size ones as well, so you are most likely going to need to add the option for a third spool to make it more useful anyway.

The RoboSavvy Universal Spool Holder is a nice and useful product that we liked very much and the fact that we needed to print some parts and assemble the unit ourselves is a nice addition for people who like us like this kind of stuff. While assembling the spool holder we have found out that there was a pair of hex nuts missing from the package, but we had some spare M4 nuts lying around, so we have quickly fixed that. Now what we only need to do is find some more 20x27x4mm bearings and print two more plastic middle parts on the 3D printer and we’ll have the option to extend the holder to three spools.


With FDM/FFF printers extruding thermoplastic you normally need to have multiple extruders in order to be able to print with multiple colors or materials that all build a single 3D object. If you have just a single extruder you might still be able to print in multiple colors, but the complexity of the printed part should not be that high as you will have to change the filament when a new color is needed. So normally dual extruder printers are the next level of devices that offer wider functionality as they are easy to use with dual color printing or for use with a different material that will be used for printing support material so that it can easily be dissolved for example as a way of removing from the main print. There is however an interesting new solution being worked on at the moment that should allow multi-color printing with a single extruder 3D printer by a Canadian company called Mosaic Manufacturing.

What their device called Mosaic does is to have multiple filaments as input and a single filament as output by using SEEM Technology or Series Enabled Extrusion of Material. What the Mosaic essentially does is to slice the model you want to 3D print and fuse the multiple input filament colors into a single filament with different colored segments that are fed to the 3D printer and thus the printer creates the 3D print with multiple colors from a single extruder. The demo shown on the developer’s website is with two colors, but the technology should be capable of using even more, provided that it does not make the device too expensive. The Mosaic should be affordable way to upgrade your single extruder filament to a multi-color printing device, so it should not cost as much as a dual extruder 3D printer in order for the users to actually choose it.


We are going to keep an eye on the development of the Mosaic devices as it is a really interesting product for owners of single extruder 3D printers that would want to extend the functionality of their thermoplastic extruders. The device should be capable of working with standard filaments (we assume that these are ABS and PLA) and with printers that run on G-Code/X3G. What is the most significant advantage of using a single extruder and single filament with multiple colors is that you should be getting a continuous print, which leaves no opportunity for dripping or oozing, meaning a cleaner and crispier print than when relying on multiple extruders. Unfortunately there is still no information on when we can expect to see the Mosaic device available for order and what will be the expected price, but it will most likely take a few more months at least.

For more information about the Mosaic 3D printer multi-color printing upgrade…


If you want to have an interesting, original and innovative present for someone this Christmas you might want to consider going for a 3D Printer – an affordable one that can offer a good start and to help see if the person gets into the technology before going any further ans pending more for a more advanced device. The most affordable 3D printers on the market are the various DIY kits that you need to assemble yourself, but that could turn out to be a bit of a challenge for most people, so if you are going with a 3D printer for a present you should chose one that is fully assembled and ready to be used. That is unless the person receiving the present is not into DIY and loves not only to play with the latest technology and gadgets, but actually loves assembling and disassembling the hardware as well to know how things are working. The Da Vinci 1.0 3D printer by XYZprinting is one interesting and affordable solution that is ready to be used that you can consider as a good gift for Christmas with a price $499 USD.

Da Vinci 1.0 3D printer specifications:

– Technology: FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication)
– Maximum Build Volume (WxHxD): 7.8W x 7.8H x 7.8D inch (20x20x20cm)
– Print Head: Single Nozzle, 0.4mm diameter
– Filament Supported: ABS and PLA with diameter 1.75 mm
– Display: 2.6″ FSTN LCM
– Connectivity: USB 2.0
– Software: XYZWare supporting .stl and XYZ Format
– Product Dimension (WxHxD): 18.4 x 20 x 22 inch (46.8 x 51 x 55.8 cm)

Aside from the da Vinci 1.0 3D printer that has a single extruder, XYZprinting also makes a dual extruder model called da Vinci 2.0 Duo as well as a single extruder version with a built-in 3D scanning functionality – the da Vinci 1.0 AiO. The two other versions are available for a slightly higher price, but they are intended more for people that are not new, but already have some experience with 3D printing and want to get more functionality so the standard version of da Vinci 1.0 3D printer is pretty much great as a Christmas gift for a first 3D printer.