April 25, 2020

Toilet roll roller

This week someone kindly left a box of industrial sized toilet rolls in our building's foyer for people to take. The large size roll isn't going to fit in my bathroom, but maybe I can improvise something. Hey it was free!

My first thought was maybe I can wind some onto an empty roll. Perhaps there is a way to fit the roll to my drill to help wind.

While it looks broadly feasible, the fit is not good enough. Maybe I could make some kind of roll holder that attaches to the drill, and fits inside the cardboard roll to help roll it. At this point I'm thinking of just doing the minimum to get something working.

I have plenty of time at home at the moment, what with COVID-19 and isolation. Captain Over Engineering to the rescue. Why not just 3D print the roll itself, along with an attachment for the drill. I sketched it up to help with my thinking.

Maybe slots in the roll, and some kind of spoke things in the drill attachment. I made a design in OpenSCAD and printed a proof of concept.

It seems broadly feasible. My roll was a bit too thin, but the fit between the parts is good. Not too loose. Time to print the design at full size. A toilet roll is 10cm long, and 4cm in diameter.

With the roll a bit thicker (and so stiffer), the fit was tighter. I needed to sand the joints a bit.

I needed a way to spool the paper off the large roll easily. Luckily I still had some metal piping left over from my towel rail project. Add some chairs, and I'm in business.

Now it's winding time. I wondered how easy it would be to wind consistently. The tension is a bit tricky, but I didn't have any problems with side-to-side movement.

Cut the paper, and I have a bathroom-sized roll.

Now the end cap detaches until I'm ready for my next refill.

If you would like to print one yourself, the STL files (and the OpenSCAD source) are on Thingiverse at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4309439


Unknown said...

Can you show a video of it working?

Eb said...

Yes I should make a video of it working! I'll add one when I do the next roll.