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Builds

Bathroom Sign

  • Build Time: 2 days
  • Build Difficulty: 2

Why create a bathroom sign in your own home? Why not! This project was super fun because I got to play with heat guns, resin, and multi-colored prints!

The Tools

  • 3d printer
  • heat gun
  • disposable gloves

The Materials

  • green and white PLA filament
  • 2 part epoxy resin

The Build

The most interesting thing about this build was the resin coating. There are a few things to learn here. First, resin is nasty, smelly, and sticky so wear gloves. Also, 2 part resin mixed together ends up with tons of bubbles. You remove them by pouring the resin from really high up, but also using a heat gun or torch to pop the bubbles. This only works if the layer is thin — if you are pouring a thick layer of resin, then you need a degassing chamber to vacuum all the bubbles out.

Post-processing g-code

The second interesting thing about this is the dual color extrusion. I do not have a dual color print so I had to modify the G-Code to “pause” the print at the right height so I could swap out the green filament for white. This is done with Cura3D.

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Builds

Marshmello Helmet

Every project is cooler with LEDs. I made this neo-pixel and Arduino powered helmet with both battery or 5V plug in power.

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Builds

Megaman Blaster

Front of the cannon

I custom designed in OpenScad this front of the cannon with LEDs

Backside of canon tip

The back was designed to have holes exactly the size to mount LEDs in. The pieces were printed with “translucent” PLA to diffuse the light.

Gotta have the helmet

I found a mini helmet online and printed a small scale version of it.

Initial print, super rough

This is the assembled first print. There was so much sanding that I had to do. I learned a lot about how to fill holes and smooth out the lines in the print. The support material that was broken off left so much work to be done.

I used some 3M filler to smooth out the print lines

Especially around the yellow lightbar the print was really rough. The post prep on this part was intense.

After sanding and painting

Did about 5 sessions of filling and sanding with bondo before I got it to a point where it was nice and round. Here’s me holding the canon. It has a handle inside. Still need to build the electronics.

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Builds

Arcade Machine

  • Build Time: 3 weeks

My first really difficult built, that I did for me and my little girl. Didn’t have the right tools or experience, so it was built mostly with elbow grease, vision, and determination. The machine supports MAME emulation along with many other consoles.

The Tools

  • router – for t-molding slot
  • jigsaw – to cut everything
  • sander – to sand off the crap job that the jigsaw did
  • drill – to screw everything together
  • projector – to outline the graphics
  • 3d printer – to print speaker grills

The Materials

  • acrylic paint – for the graphics
  • 5/8 MDF panels – for the frame
  • 4:3 LCD – the screen
  • Xin-mo controller – buttons and joystick
  • spare computer – for the internals
  • t-molding – for the edge trim of the cabinet
  • power strip – to simplify powering everything
  • fluorescent light – to light the marquee
  • plexiglass – to cover the screen and for the marquee
  • spade drill bit – to cut out circles for the game buttons
  • speaker – an old Jawbone speaker for audio
  • mini foam paint roller – for a smooth finish
  • raspberry pi – worked better than the computer
  • wood screws

The Build

Initial frame of the machine

I built everything with 5/8 MDF because it was cheap, sturdy, and the 4×8 panels cut in half at Home Depot provided dimensions just about right.

Mockup of controller placement in cardboard

The buttons are from Ebay. You can find them by searching for “Xin-mo buttons” or Jamma. This kit came with all the wiring, 2 joysticks, and colored buttons. Button layout is up to you.

Measured twice then drilled and screwed on buttons and joysticks.

Using a “spade” drill bit that matched the button size, I attached the buttons and screwed in the joysticks. The buttons have a small lip so if the whole isn’t perfect, it’s not a big deal.

Final controls, painted, with t-molding

The rubber/plastic trim is called t-molding that I got from t-molding.com. Pick your color, they even have light up molding. You need a router to make a cut in the middle of the wood. When you buy the t-molding, they’ll tell you the bit you need with the specs.

Painted and added trim all around

Do NOT paint with a rattle can, use a FOAM roller. The furry roller will not give you a smooth surface. So far all these pieces I cut with a jigsaw. Super dusty, not straight, tons of sanding, would not recommend. Also, I used Phillips screws… I would definitely go with hex. And always use pilot holes! The monitor I found on Craigslist — it’s strange to realize you can barely buy a 4:3 screen anymore.

The rear of the machine with the computer mounted

The computer originally was built with leftover computer parts. Later on, I replaced it with a tiny Raspberry Pi that worked even better than this linux based setup!

First MAME game, success!

In the useful links section at the bottom of this post, I’ll link where you can find MAME ROMs legitimately. Here is the first test, she likes it!

Getting ready to painstakingly paint the cabinet

I couldn’t afford to print graphics, so I used my projector to help me trace some graphics which I later painted.

Finished side… only took 4 hours

I used acrylic paint, lots of it, then finished it off with black outline, then coated it with rattle can clear coat. Emma is lucky I love her so much, never doing this again. It was incredibly difficult.

Here is the other side. I know, it doesn’t match, but whatever.
The marquee I custom designed and got printed at a shop.

I found a local shop that prints on translucent adhesive. I designed this logo myself (emma-arcade, get it?). I tried to print this on my color laser, but it came out like garbage. The translucent adhesive is stuck onto plexiglass which I cut and mounted with black duct tape. The light is a small 18″ fluorescent light that I easily mounted. I also cut plexiglass as a cover to the monitor.

Finally playing games!

After all that work and finding tons of ROMs, she only wants to play a few games like Simpsons or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.. oh well.

Mistakes

  • jigsaw – doing everything with a jigsaw is a bad idea because things aren’t straight, needed a lot of post-sanding, should have used a circular saw w/ guide
  • router – the router was too big and hard to route the t-molding slot, should have used a palm router or added flat support to prevent uneven slots (sorta covered by the t-molding, but uneven slots makes for loose molding fitting)
  • paint – hand-painting the sides was pain-staking, if you have the graphics and can afford it, get something printed and stuck on
  • pilot holes – always drill pilot holes, mdf isn’t that strong
  • foam roller – for smooth surfaces, use a smooth roller, learned that the hard way
  • computer – I was stubborn and went with a computer, but ended up replacing it with a tiny raspberry pi and used RetroPie, soooo much easier with a nice interface to select games and switch between emulators
  • black duct tape – I used black duct tape to mount the front plexiglass pieces but electrical tape worked out much better

Updates

The speakers I used were battery powered, so I bought a pair of cheap computer speakers instead.

The computer setup had a really bad interface, so I ripped everything out and replaced it with a tiny Raspberry Pi running RetroPie, much better!

The speaker grill was terrible so 3D printed 2 speaker grills from thingiverse.com, looks much better.

The fluorescent light I wasn’t happy with, so I replaced it with an LED light strip that was much brighter.

3D printed a little coin door that I will make functional later!