The DeadSpool (or empty spool) project is an initiative aimed at finding solutions for recycling empty 3D filament spools. When you use 3D printing regularly, you usually end up with a stock of empty spool as you consume the filament.

Some ideas for Deadspool conversion projects…

Choose a manufacturer offering recyclable spools

Some 3D filament dealers offer empty cardboard spools, such as

or opt for spool refills:

Return empty spools to manufacturers

Few filament suppliers do. If you have contacts to share, please do so in the comments.

Deadspool mobile robot

You can create a mobile robot using an empty spool of filament. I have models, schematics and code that I’ll put online if people are interested. You can use an Arduino to drive DC motors and add distance sensors on the front to avoid obstacles.

Storage drawer

It’s also possible to print little crates that fit into the middle of the empty reel. The result is pretty cool, practical and an excellent gift idea. If you have the dimensions of the spools, I can easily produce the 3D models.

Pencil case

All you have to do is cut holes in the surface to the desired size and place the objects you want in them.


This idea is simple and practical if you have the space and make small prints. Empty spools can then be used as displays in store windows, for example. To enhance the look, the whole thing can be painted or covered with fabric.


By adding a ball bearing or motor, you can easily transform empty spools into an automatic or manual turntable. You can then use this tray as a display stand or as a support for painting your creations.

Cable reel

Perhaps the simplest idea for recycling an empty spool is to use the spool for its original purpose: winding cable. If you buy cable or rope by the metre, this is certainly an interesting idea for tidying up your workshop. All you have to do is hang a tube on the wall to create a row of cable dispensers.

Wheel for mini-kart or toy

You can turn the empty spool into a wheel. There are certainly a few parts to be added to create a tire and to fix the wheel, but nothing that can’t be done with 3D printing.

Create a piece of furniture

You can stack the empty spools on one or more columns and fix a wooden board on top. With this method, you can create stools, coffee tables or even shelves.

Recycling spool into sculpture

I don’t have any ideas yet, but I’m sure someone will think of something!

Other initiatives

Prusa offers spools designed to be reusable – take a look!

I invite you to leave your recycling ideas or other initiatives in the comments or to send us a message.

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