There are many spool holders out there. The problem is there are many spool sizes that makes it hard to build a universal one that works well. I decided to make a spool holder that mounts horizontally and uses the weight of the spool itself to keep the spool in place.
This is version 7 of my design, it’s still in progress and was a good motion study for the joints in CAD. How will it work in practice? We’ll soon find out.
This year my goal is to focus on designing more complex assemblies that rely on gears, joints, or parts that leverage the flexibility of the material itself to its advantage as in compliant mechanisms. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compliant_mechanism
This part is very specific to my sink, although I could probably rebuild this so the ring clips utilize the flexibility of the material to expand or contract allowing more generic fits.
It’s ugly, I know, but functional. The main exercise here for me was to design pieces that snap together, with the correct tolerances for my machine.
I bought some cheap adhesive hooks for the shower but the were poorly designed, flexed, and did not hold up enough weight. Amazon sells a 20 pack of suction cups which I got for a variety of projects so I created these durable hooks to go with them.
Here is the file to download. All the parameters of the suction cups are variables, so if you buy different ones, just enter your specific dimensions.
The design allows for the larger round part of the suction cup to slide in, then slide up unto the smaller diameter area at the top. The bottom of the hook features a mini extension exactly the thickness of the suction cup to keep the hook perfectly horizontal and also get the most leverage from the suction cup as well.
The best orientation to print this is sideways for the best strength.
Emma’s paint collection is getting pretty big. It was impractical to find colors in her basket, so I decided to create some parametric wall-mount removable paint racks to hold her Apple Barrel paint collection.
CO2 laser cutter
5mm birch wood
I wanted the racks to be easily removable so I made slots for the screws to easily go in at the ends of the rack. I initially made it to hold 12, but it ended up being too wide.
I would post the Lightburn/SVG/DXF files, however, the design is dependent on the thickness of the material. 1/4 inch MDF ranges from 5.5-6.3 mm. The birch I used was 5mm. Also, the laser kerf (thickness of the laser cut) even though small, may be different than your machine. To do it right, you really need to open the file in Fusion and save the sketches yourself after updating the parameters.
The design is completely parametric so the bottle diameter, height, count, and material thickness are all customizable so I can use this to hold anything else like paint cans, sauce bottles and spices, etc.
Birch wood seems to have a lot of ash when cut on the laser so I had to take a damp towel to clean off the edges otherwise the glue job is a complete mess.
The stock I used was slightly curved which caused distance issues with the laser’s focal point. Not a big deal, but I should add some weights next time to flatten out the stock
Rubber bands are not ideal for gluing things. After the initial prototype, I utilized some strategically placed clamps and the result was much better. Also, if the wood is slightly curved, I realized that you can use the curve to your advantage to put pressure on the connecting edges.
I receive (and send) lots of packages from my front door. I love creating scaled versions of things, particularly undersized. I decided to recreate a small version of the classic USPS mailbox for my front door as a place for packages to be held.
Additionally, my idea is to add LEDs, a camera, and make it WiFi enabled so I can monitor at all times, assuming the delivery carriers understand what it’s for. Hopefully I can make it intuitive enough but still retain the classic unmistakable design.
I envisioned this to be about 2 feet tall. The parametric design would let me adjust the dimensions. The hardest part of the design (and newest challenge for me) is the curved top. So far, everything I’ve created is pretty square. For this, I’ll have to use some tricks to make the curved top.
Cutting this took forever! It’s basically an alternating pattern of cuts. In Fusion360, I measured the inner curve length, and built a new piece based on that. The outer curve length is irrelevant for this because the cuts would provide the longer length that I need.
It came out super bendy! So excited. After test fitting the top curve, in the future, I’m going to make the piece slightly shorter than the inner curve surface. Even the the top is doing most of the stretching, the bottom also stretches as well so leaving some room would do just fine. I didn’t leave any tolerance to i had to really tape down the piece well during the gluing process.
Always remember to use the correct height when setting your laser/bed distance. The laser beam is hourglass shaped, and the middle of it should be the middle of your material. I didn’t quite adjust it right so the edges were slightly angled and required a little sanding.
Emma wanted to be the first one to deliver a message in the new mailbox. She is the best!
I had a difficult time deciding on the right amount of storage. I think the majority of packages will fit in here. it’s roughly 13x13x17.
Glued all the pieces together. I used tape to hold down the top curved wood while using wood glue. Everything came together as expected!
After painting, I added the logos and also lined the inside with colorful rainbow card stock. I also added a little disclaimer label in case somebody actually believes it’s a real mailbox.
Here is the mailbox with all the logos and actually being used outside!
MDF legs on concrete are not great. I’m going to design flexible TPU feet for it to protect it from bumps and scrapes, but also leave it off the ground to prevent moisture.
My original designs were built for 6.4mm MDF. I adjusted the material thickness to 8mm, then generated this STL for flexible TPU. The reason is that I’ve found that TPU needs quite a bit of tolerance. Even if there is extra room, I can fill it with glue.
20% flexible TPU infill + 2mm tolerance fit perfectly! The flexible material really helps to protect the piece and also prevent it from sliding.
Using double sided padded tape, I mounted a camera to the top and now get motion alerts. Going to finally put this project to rest for awhile. Thanks for reading!
Machines that serve a single purpose are fun. But it’s even more fun to combine different materials and machines. I decided to make drink coasters that were laser cut out of foam place mats and print 3d coasters and a holder to test all my filaments for moisture.
cork placemats from IKEA
tons of different filaments (PLA and wood)
This build is pretty simple. I cut out 80mm circles from the cheap cork placements I got from IKEA.
The real reason to make these is to test my filament. All filament spools are subject to moisture which causes print quality to have issues. With PLA, you will hear cracks and pops (which is the water vaporizing at 200C) and the prints will become flakey and uneven.
Several of my PLA spools were damanged from long term exposure to humidity. If you want to test filament without printing, simply bend it and if it snaps easily, then there is moisture in it. Good dry filament should be able to be bent (permanently deformed) but not snap.
In order to fix filament, you can put it in the oven at about 140F-160F for a few hours.
I didn’t want to use the oven and preferred to do a longer slow moisture extraction, so I used my food dehydrator, removed the top, cut a circular hole in a cardboard box, and put the top of the blower in the hole. I also cut out air outlets at the bottom of the box to allow the air to flow out from top to bottom.
After drying out the filament, the prints started looking much better. No flaky surfaces or brittle filament. I then designed a holder for it that fits 6 coasters.
This special wood-infused filament can be stained like normal wood and even smells like charred wood when printing. Overall, happy with the coasters and it was a good exercise in understanding the affects of moisture and how to fix it and save my spools.
It’s not too late but I want to add engraved logos on the coasters to make them a little more interesting. Not sure what the logos should be yet, but it should be easy to throw under the laser and etch in.