What is a Spool Tower?
Where did they come from?
How can they help you reduce 3D printing waste?
Unlock your creative potential and create fantastic works of art!
How did they come about?
Thus, the stuffing commenced, Prints were made and Digital Taxidermy was born.
This modular office or hab block was designed as a way to 3D print and model a large, interesting sci-fi building by adding modular compartments to empty filament spools that would otherwise end up in landfill, generating a brand new idea of Spool Terrain.
Thus, giving you a great piece of 3D printed Spool terrain for your tabletop that gives variety and has that dystopian, brutalist, oppressive look and as a bonus is strong and durable.
Do You Have Piles of Empty Filament Spools?
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What makes them an efficient use of material?
This set out the design goals for the original Spool Towers:
- Thin walls using minimum filament, saving material and making efficient 3D printable models.
- No infill where possible to reduce time and plastic in production.
- No supports, for fast efficient printing times
- No need for special slicer settings for easy trouble free preparation
- Fun and detailed designs to enhance your tabletop gaming experience
- Scalable designs to fit the multitude of spool styles so nothing has to be thrown away.
- Inspirational model kits to bring the modelling back into the hobby and inspire your creativity.
What Are they used for?
The Spool Towers developed into decorative structures in various different styles and falling into a Fantasy or Sci-fi styles.
The file sets became full model kits and construction sets, so we considered their uses.
Originally, we had thought that they would be perfect for tabletop gaming terrain and scenery, which is the area we had been making 3D models for and Spool Terrain or Spool Scenery STL designs seemed like a perfect follow on.
Then we thought they became great pieces of artwork in themselves and so could act as miniature display stands or shelves to display gaming minis.
Being available in both Sci-fi and fantasy terrain styles the spool towers could be at home displaying Dungeons and dragons characters, Warhammer Fantasy Battle miniatures or armies as well as Hosting Warhammer 40K Miniatures, Stargrave models and Judge Dredd Gaming minis.
We expanded on this by also making them functional 3D prints. We created toppers and plinths that turned these towers into 3D printed dice towers.
Our children even decided that our amazing new toys would be great to go with their dolls and so many were stolen and added to the toy box.
So we set to work and produced a few more towers and concept art for enough wargaming spool terrain to build a list of stretch goals and we took it to Kickstarter, we kept the project low key before the launch because we didn't want the idea to be stolen before we were ready to release.
Delivering success and taking it to the next level
The Kickstarter was a stunning success and the STL Pack was snapped up by hundreds of 3D print hobbyists who recognised the potential to save vast amounts of 3D printing plastic waste from landfill.
We had our work cut out for us!
We had to design, test, and build 20+ different complete Spool Towers and accessories, plus writing a set of detailed fitting instructions for the sets.
The biggest challenge was to make sure everybody that gets the 3D printable Spool Tower scenery model kits have the tools they need to scale the models to fit almost any filament spool.
To do this, we not only wrote the instructions but we made a few scale calculators that you can use to rescale 3D models to fit any situation.
In the end we got 446 backers for the project and shattered all the stretch goals.
It was a busy few weeks, and we grit our teeth and set to it and rounded out everything in time for delivery and sent them out into the world.
We then took the feedback from that campaign and went off to experiment with some other techniques and design ideas, but we never took our eyes away from Spool Towers.
We created some other Spool Terrain for our follow up campaigns the Lost Bio-Lab and Trewell Common.
Soon there was a vast array of ideas for reusing useless spools as gaming scenery, and concept works for lots of different settings and genres.
As usual there was a lot of buildings and terrain but also, we had some vehicles that we didn’t know what to do with.
So, we put them together and created a platoon of Spool Tanks and ran that Kickstarter.
Which leads us up to Spool Towers 2 - The Re-Spoolening.
After many requests for more Spool Towers terrain 3D Model Kits, we dusted off the ideas book and looked at the pantheon of 3D printable Spool terrain options that are possible using our 3D design system. We then put together another vast array of 3D models for another massive STL kickstarter Pack.
Here you can see some of the arty concept designs we came up with on the road to the campaign.
We created another massive bundle of creative Spool buildings, Display Stands and 3D models for both the Sci-fi and Fantasy gaming settings that take inspiration from many areas of lore and pop culture, expanding on what we have provided before.
You can see the 3D printable STL models for the Spool Towers 2 - The Re-Spoolening campaign below.
If you haven't tried out the Spool Tower Scenery Systems yet, then now is a great time to give it a go and print a great model kit.
We have 2 free Spool Tower demo models with the detailed fitting guide included.
Check out Ye Olde Taxidermee Shoppee and Sci-fi Hab Block.
The Spool-Ganiser - Levelling up your storage
The latest development in the Spool Tower range is The Spool-Ganiser - A Modular Storage solution and desk organizer for all your modelling supplies and more.
This set is going back to our original design principles from the first Spool Tower sets and adds to it some of the things we have learned since they were first produced.
So, we went right back to the beginning, the first principle was minimal filament, the idea that you can use all the ends of a roll to create a ridged model. This involves thin wall design that is still robust enough to be scaled when needed to fit specific filament spools.
The walls of each of the facias in The Spool-Ganizer are 1.6mm which we have found gives you a ridged and reliable print and is still scalable.
These thin walls mean there is zero infill being used and the model is strong.
The designs will all print with zero supports required which saves on filament usage and means zero waste.
We have designed it so that you don’t need to mess with your slicer settings to be able to print out these models, just drop them in your slicer and go.
Now, for the new stuff:
We have brought in another level of modularity to the designs using a jointing system that allows you to clip the parts together into their layers, unfortunately you will still have to glue these layers down to the empty filament spool but it will be much easier to control them as they will be solid rings which will add rigidity, save on glue and make assembly much easier. Modularity comes from having matching joints on similar shaped parts so you can mix and match parts of the storage solutions so that they can be set up in the round just the way you want them.
What is it then?
The Spool-Ganiser is a modular storage solution for your hobby desk.
You can create a stackable carousel that will hold your paint pots and tubes from various manufacturers.
You can store your brushes and small tools such as files, snips and scissors in various pots and drawers.
You can store your flock, glue, bits and more in trays and drawers.
You can stand miniatures in the base holding inserts so that they are held in place so as not to fall out.
And what is even better the new Kickstarter will be asking the community what it is they want to store and to be added into this set so it will grow to meet the needs of a vast array of hobbyists.