posts tagged with the keyword ‘3dprinting’


Cabinet Lock

Our new(-ish) kitten is still getting into trouble on a daily basis, and he occasionally opens up the kitchen cabinet doors, and either crawls inside, or worse, gets into the trash can and has a good ‘ole time. Not cool, kitten! The solution was simple, those child-proof cabinet door locks. I took a quick look on Amazon and found some, but they typically come in a 12 pack or 20 pack or some other number that makes sense to put on all of your cabinets. Of course, when you’ve got a 3D printer, why bother ordering things you can just print out?

Cabinet Lock

I found Child safety lock for cabinet/cupboard on Thingiverse, printed one, and put it on the cabinet that has the trash can. Problem solved! I printed two more, one for the cabinet with the pots and pans, because who wants cat fur in their frying pan? And the third was for the cabinet where we keep the cat food. It’s probably a good idea to keep him out of that one.

Cabinet Lock

Here’s Mr. Kitten inspecting my handiwork. Or maybe he’s just trying to figure out how to get around this terrible device. This is one of those things where I probably would have enjoyed 3D modeling this part, but I was able to find one someone already created, and best of all, it was created in OpenSCAD, which was nice because I could easily alter it, and I could learn from looking at code someone else wrote. Win all around.

Cabinet Lock


3D Print

Back in 2012 I completed the build of a 3D printer, and then I printed a lot of things… The printer wasn’t amazing or great, but it worked, and I printed and printed. Around 2015 the hot end failed, and I got a cheap hot end to replace it, which never worked right, and then other things failed, and I fixed some of them, but the old RepRap still wasn’t quite working right. I ended up getting an E3D hot end and even with that, there were some weird issues with the printer getting up to temperature properly.

I didn’t care too much about getting the old RepRap working again because I had access to printers at work or school (I even worked on building some printers) so I could still print things, but…

Maker Select Plus

I finally got to the point that I wanted a modern, working 3D printer. I solved that problem recently by picking up a Maker Select Plus from Monoprice. What? Monoprice? Yeah, the company I’ve been buying cables from for the past 5+ years sells 3D printers. And they don’t suck. The “Maker Select Plus” is (pretty much) a rebranded Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus, which is based on the Prusa i3 MK2. Confused yet?

If you get emails from Monoprice (which come more frequently than Harbor Freight emails) you’ll get some discount code or coupon or sale alert. Take advantage of those and you can save a bit on a 3D printer. And if you want cheap, look at the MP Select Mini 3D Printer, or wait until April 2017 when (supposedly) they’ll release a Mini Delta printer for $150!

The printer is nice, but not amazing. There’s a number of upgrades suggested, and besides a wiki there’s a Facebook group, Google group, and Thingiverse group filled with users making improvements and troubleshooting when needed. (Just remember that the Wanhao Duplicator i3 and Maker Select are basically the same, with a few small differences.)

Maker Select Plus

I’m excited to have more desk space! I no longer need a computer or monitor, since I can just pop an SD card in and hit “print”, so yeah, that’s a nice improvement. I’ve only printed with PLA so far, but I’ll get around to testing with ABS and see what happens. (It should be fine, but, you know…)

RepRap Prusa i2

Meanwhile the old RepRap lost its place on the desk, and currently sits on the floor awaiting its fate. I’ll do… something with it, I’m sure. 3D printers have come a long way in just five years. (At least in my shop!)


USB Mount

I designed a small part to hold a panel mount USB cable. I started with the Phoenix Connector Mount I briefly mentioned before, and did some quick modifications to make it work with the USB cable.

USB Mount

I designed this thing in OpenSCAD though I did borrow a few elements from another recent model so that I could use 5/8″ #4 screws. The bottom where the screws go in is set to a height that allows the screws to go in just under 1/4″ which is enough to hold, but not enough to go through the material they’ll be screwed into. This is one of the things I love about making custom mounts and brackets, you can configure them to match the hardware you have available.

USB Mount

With many of the things that need (semi) precise placement of things, it takes two to three revisions to get it right. I actually used the second revision because I was in a hurry, but I’ve modified the file so version 3 will be just right next time. (I had the panel mount screw holes just a little too close together. Things flex enough that it works, but it could be better, and will be… next time.)

USB Mount

The first version actually warped quite a bit in printing. It’s a problem we seem to have occasionally with the old MakerBot. It’s always the front left corner of the print. I find that by shifting the print on the bed to the right just a bit often fixes the problem (at least for small prints.)

USB Mount

You can find this design on YouMagine and Thingiverse.


Arduino Nano Holder

I made another boring 3D printed part, and I say that in the best possible way. I mean, in some ways we may be at the point where creating a custom part is a little boring.

For anyone who has access to a 3D printer the magic at first is having a machine that can make a thing. The next level of magic is being able to design a thing and then make that thing. (I’d add that making a thing repeatedly, in an automated fashion, and sharing the thing with others who can do the same, is another level of magic.)

Anyway, I needed a thing, so I did a search and found the thing, which is an Arduino Nano mounting base. I downloaded it, printed it, and it wasn’t quite what I needed, and didn’t print very well. No matter, I just designed my own.

Arduino Nano Holder

Here’s my Arduino Nano Holder. I designed it very quickly, printed it, and it was ok but not great, so I tweaked things a bit and printed again. The same afternoon I needed a thing, I had a thing. I then shared the design with others so they could have the thing. In the first two days it was online 14 people found it useful and/or interesting.

I think that people forget that half the magic is in the physical making of the thing, and the other half is in the “virtual” making of the thing. Designing the thing with software. This is part of the problem that the “I’ve got a 3D printer, what do I do with it now?” presents.

Plenty of organizations are getting 3D printers with no clear plan of how they will be used. They are magical machines, but magic requires a wizard, or whatever you want to call someone with the skills to design 3D objects. And yes, the software is getting better/easier, so there is hope.

I may need to design another part next week, and it probably won’t be amazing or spectacular, but it will get the job done, and getting the job done is more important to me than magic.



I needed a few shims to make something fit just right and I grabbed a piece of 3mm acrylic that was sitting on my desk, figuring I could easily cut it in the shop, but 3mm was just too thick. I could have tried to sand it down to the proper thickness, but at this point I would have had to cut three shims to the proper size, and get them all down to the correct thickness. (I didn’t want to use wood, as something would be sliding against the shim, and wood wasn’t the best choice.)


I took some measurements with digital calipers, launched OpenSCAD, typed in the dimensions, and had a 3D object ready to be 3D printed in just a few minutes. While I did have to wait for the 3D printer to heat up, and print the pieces, I could easily do other work while I was waiting for the prints. I didn’t spend time cutting and sanding things to get them the exact size.

Sometimes 3D printing is the right answer, and sometimes 3D printing doesn’t have to be revolutionary or solve big problems, sometimes it can solve the (little) problem you have, quickly and easily, and that’s enough.

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