I absolutely LOVE my Class 4 CO2 Laser cutter/engraver. But it definitely needs some improvements. I’ve added custom lighting, camera, and analog milliamp reader to it and needed a control panel to manage everything. I designed this as an inset panel that controls the AC lines (which are connected to a new UPS).
My 3d printer always prints a little larger. My designs need about 0.5-1mm tolerance for fittings so I printed out this flat plate to test the panel mounted switches and hole placements.
In order to save counter space, I designed a rack in Fusion 360 to cut out 1/4 inch MDF rack. The rack is designed to be mounted to the side of a cabinet, and use double sided mounting tape (along with some physics) to securely hold the bottles in place.
Yi Home cameras are inexpensive, but you can’t use them outdoors. I built this 2 piece window mount (with SVG sticker for those who have a Cricut). This project was an exercise using Fusion 360 and threads, as well as practicing assembling components which is much like assembling parts in SolidWorks.
double sided mounting tape
Yi Home Camera
In order for the Yi Home IR (night) lights to work, the camera must be completely touching the glass of the window you’re mounting it do. Since mounting tape comes in different thicknesses, I decided to make this 2 pieces with threads so that the depth could be adjusted.
Mount the base to a clean window with your choice of double sided mounting tape, insert the camera into the other piece, screw in the camera until you feel it press up against the glass. If you leave a gap, you will see the reflection of the infrared lights.
Here is the final 2 piece product mounted to the window. It works great! The threads are really tight, and had to do some light sanding and screw and unscrew many many times to wear down the edge a bit.
I spend hours and hours on my bike. I needed an aerodynamic custom phone mount designed specifically for my phone/bike setup. This is my first multi-part assembly in Solidworks. So satisfying!
Before I begin, let’s stop and take a look at this beautiful bike. It’s not as high end as some of the $15k+ bikes out there, but it’s gotten me through many Ironman races.
M2 screws and nuts of varying length
I measured the diameter of my aero bars and also the distance between the stem where it would be mounted. I decided on a 3 part assembly to make it easier to print. The pieces of the assembly where designed to be held together with M2 screws/bolts.
Always used variable names in Solidworks, but also give them meaningful names so you don’t end up using the wrong measurement for the mount gap width here to account for the stem.
After re-printing the design, I pushed in the hex nuts into the slots I designed and screwed bottom mount together. The 3D printer needs a good amount of tolerance for a good fit. I used 2mm for these M2 screws but the fitting was too tight.
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!
green and white PLA filament
2 part epoxy resin
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.
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.
I custom designed in OpenScad this front of the cannon with LEDs
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.
I found a mini helmet online and printed a small scale version of it.
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.
Especially around the yellow lightbar the print was really rough. The post prep on this part was intense.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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!
I couldn’t afford to print graphics, so I used my projector to help me trace some graphics which I later painted.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!