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!
The CR-10 is an amazing printer. However, it does take up quite a bit of precious area in my small workshop so I decided to build a thin case under it. The computer is in the rear part of of the case, and the front will have drawers for storage.
Here is the original CR-10. There’s that big ugly box on the side of it. It’s so tall that another couple inches isn’t going to matter.
I took apart my CR-10 to examine all the wires, components, etc so I could get a good idea of where to place everything.
Here are the internals of the printer. Pretty basic stuff actually. The power supply is the biggest thing. The board for controlling stuff, the mosfet for handling high current to the heating bed, a couple fans. I also added a raspberry Pi to run OctoPrint.
Based on previous projects, I am not going to leave any tolerance for the drawer. I put 1-2mm before and there was a huge gap, so going to gamble with a perfect fit here.
I glued the drawer together to prevent any screws sticking out messing with the clearance. The main case however is bolted together with M3 hardware. Getting ready to mount the components in! I decided to add a 1mm clearance to the drawers, I think that’s the right amount for all projects going forward. I did a quick test with 0 and it was just too tight.
I used double sided tape to mount the power supply, Raspberry, and other stuff. Surprisingly all the hole cutouts I measured pretty accurately! Maybe I’m finally getting better at this.
Put everything back together, removed the printer rubber legs and let the printer sit flush on the enclosure. Everything fits perfectly, the drawer works great. I left the top screws off just in case I need to get back into the internals. Gravity does a good enough job of keeping it in place.
Back on line printing again. Steady helping to make masks/equipment for donation for this CoVid-19 thing.
I added a nice coat of matte black paint to match the printer. Normally I like to leave MDF unpainted, but wanted a more unified look for the printer.
I thought I did a pretty good job with the fan grill.
I left the inside of the drawer unpainted to make it easier to see the stuff inside.
I have a 3TB RAID1 ext4 NAS and set up a Raspberry Pi 2 to serve as a streaming media center. I wanted to come up with a cool case. Since the dual drives + Pi is roughly square-ish, I came up with the idea to make a rubik’s cube case. Initially it was just going to be a solid block, but then I decided to make it actually rotate horizontally.
All the panels will be made of 1/4 MDF. If you look closely, you can see the perforations between the color panels that is meant to allow air flow.
This is the most cutting I’ve ever done for a project. I used a full 2×4 and them some.
I noticed that new/dry MDF cuts much better than old or boards with some condensation. Usually I would have to pop the pieces out, but this project, everything fell out perfectly.
I used adhesive spray to add the colored card-stock to the panel pieces. I designed the panels to stick up to give the the colors texture.
The design uses a thin cut ring to allow the 3 levels to spin around. I just used wood glue to stick the thin ring to the 1st and 3rd levels, and the middle level circle is slightly larger. I didn’t leave any tolerance, but it was a tight fit and so far works perfectly.
The inside of a rubiks cube is black, so did a light spray of matte paint. Also works to hide the laser cut edges.
All that’s left is to install the hard drive and Pi. In retrospect, I made the cube a little too big. I could have spent the time to disassemble the SATA base/connectors. I might redo this to make it more compact.
Here is its final resting place, next to my router, serving media. If i didn’t make it able to turn, I could have definitely made the case smaller.
built the inside too large, however, might make the most of it by adding motorized movement
used card stock instead of adhesive vinyl, which would look more like a rubik’s cube
the blue color i’m not a fan of, need a darker blue but we’re in a quarantine because of coronavirus
I got new cardstock and updated the blue color to match the classic cube, so much better!
Replaced the Pi 2 1GB with Pi 4 4GB… runs so much faster
I decided to make it 5 columns 4 rows of minifigs so 20 per display case. The Fusion360 design is totally parametric (I think) so I can easily adjust these to customize it.
There are 3 types of material used. 1/4 MDF for the frame and shelves, the white support board (like you get from cheap bookshelves), and plexiglass for the front cover.
I used bolts for the 4 corners of the frame. I did not want to use glue. Here you can see the notch that holds the M3 bolts.
I used neodymium magnets, 5x3mm circles, to hold the front glass together. The 1st and 3rd shelves have notches where I used epoxy to glue 4 magnets to the shelf. There are also 3mm holes cut in the plexiglass. It’s kind of weird, but works and I didn’t have to use any hinges.
I used a hot glue gun to mount the minifigs using the engraged indicators for perfect spacing!
After the first one was a success, I made 2 more. Still need another one!
I used 2 sawtooth picture frame mounts per display case to mount everything to the wall. All done!
probably could have designed the frame mounts in the other direction so the frame can sit flush on a flat surface
I created another size for my 4 larger minifigs. It really tested my parametric design, which didn’t do so well so I had to make updates.
I noticed that my MDF was pretty fresh, so it was dry and also not as thick as I spec’d it out for. Also, I put the magnets in the middle, but since there is only 1 shelf, it’s a little wobbly. Going to add stoppers the top and bottom to make sure the glass sits straight.
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.
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!