posts tagged with the keyword ‘reprap’


Coat Hook

I recently (temporarily) changed offices at work, and with the new office came a new door, and this door has no coat hook! Because I couldn’t drill a hole in the door or mar the surface in any way, I needed an “over the door” style coat hook. Ah yes, the classic coat hook. Adrian Bowyer made one back in 2008, so I decided it was time to make my own.

OpenSCAD Coat Hook

I took a quick measurement of the door to determine how wide it was. I then fired up OpenSCAD and made a bunch of “cubes” of various shapes and sizes, some rotated 90 degrees, but all in all, a pretty simple OpenSCAD model. One thing I did do was add in the “door” based on the measurement I took, so I could see how the coat hook would fit around it.

Plate Coat Hook

After compiling it in OpenSCAD, I exported the STL file, and at this point I usually use Gary Hodgson’s STL Viewer to take a quick look at the file and make sure it’s oriented correctly.

G-code Coat Hook

After viewing the STL file, I use Slic3r to generate the G-code, but hey, let’s check out the G-code while we’re at it! Joe Walnes wrote a great web-based G-code viewer you can use online, or download and run locally. If you want a somewhat improved version, Jeremy Herrman’s got a viewer and some code for you.

Working Coat Hook

Well, after all that generating files, and viewing files, I printed the file. It worked out well! Here’s a terrible photo of it preventing my shirt from falling on the floor. Success! The magic of a home 3D printer pays off again.


Safety First!

I decided to try my hand at this acetone vapor finishing method of making 3D printed parts smoother.

If you’ve seen 3D printed parts from a “fused filament modeling” printer, you know that there are tiny ridges in the prints. You can print at different layer heights for finer layers (and smaller ridges) but that increases your print time.

As you might be able to see in the image above, I placed a large glass jar on the print bed of my RepRap and cranked the heat up to 110° F. I had maybe 2mm of acetone in the jar. (2mm may not have been enough.) I waited until I could see the vapor cloud on the sides of the jar and then (with gloves on) placed the prints inside.

Here’s the results:




You can see an untreated print on the left, and a treated print on the right. The treated print didn’t get quite enough melting to smooth everything out. (And yes, these were a challenge to photography!)



Another one… the TARDIS on the left shows the ridges while the right one is smoother. Note that the smoothing worked much better on the outer edges, and not as much on the inset parts of the print. It sure does make your parts shiny, though!

I’m sure I’ll keep experimenting with this technique, and hopefully start to improve it.

If you feel like seeing the original full-size photos, check the Skulls and TARDIS on Flickr.


Camera Mount

PIY stands for “Print It Yourself” which is a little like “DIY” but involves things you can easily print on a home 3D printer instead of buying.

Remember last year when I made this hot shoe audio mount? Well, a few months back we picked up a Zoom H4n to use for some DSLR shooting, and for the quick & dirty stuff it makes sense to just mount the Zoom on the camera. I just printed another one of my mounts, added two nuts and a bolt, and had one we could use. They’re cheap enough that I could probably print 10 of them so we have spares on hand if needed and still come in under $20.


The story doesn’t end there though… at some point I was looking up specs on the Zoom and wanted to check out the accessories and came across the HS-1 Hot Shoe Mount Adapter. It’s basically the same as the mount I made, except it’s probably metal, and it’s about $20 for one of them.

So this time around it was the opposite of my GoPro Frame. For that one, I saw the frame on the GoPro web site and sat down to design my own. For the Zoom mount I ended up making my own before I even knew they had one.

This is the amazing world we live in now… where open source 3D modeling software allows you to quickly and easily design something, and open source 3D printers allow you to quickly and easily print them out.

PIY is the new DIY.


CHC Hip-Hop

I don’t know if the Maker Movement has any hip-hop artists in its ranks, but at some point someone is going to want to write a rap mentioning CNC machines, so I’ve compiled a list of suitable rhymes for “CNC” and I present them here.

Note that some of these words/phrases are serious, and some of them are just for fun. It takes all kinds.

  • Jamboree (fun word)
  • Wait and see (should be in reference to the time it takes to finish a job)
  • Filigree (should be in reference to detailed artwork.)
  • My man Adrian B (should be in reference to Adrian Bowyer of the RepRap movement.)
  • Look good to me! (should be in reference to how a job turned out.)
  • Jubilee (fun word)
  • My main man Bre (should be in reference to Bre Pettis of MakerBot)
  • Bumblebee (fun word)
  • Bruce Lee (fun, but could also be in reference to strength/power.)
  • Guarantee (fun word, but could also be used in reference to how a job turns out.)
  • Tree (should be in reference to the consumable used for a job is wood, which comes from trees.)
  • Billy D[ee] (should be in reference to Billy Dee Williams or the other Billy D)
  • Whiskey (fun word, but you should think twice before combining alcohol with any power tools.)
  • Debris (should be in reference to the scraps/waste left after a cutting job is finished.)
  • Banshee (fun word)
  • Emcee [MC] (this one is obvious, I should hope.)
  • Waikiki (fun word, possibly only suitable for Jerry Isdale.)
  • Potpourri (fun word)

Alright! That should be enough to get started… can you think of any more?


One of the great things about Milwaukee Makerspace is the inspiration you get from other people. Kevin recently used our aluminum forge to create a piece he calls FEAR, which he said was an update of Robert Indiana’s LOVE.

I’m not one to give in to fear, and I figured that with a new year beginning we should focus on something a bit more positive, so I created MAKE.

I also figured I’d walk through the process of creating this piece.

MAKE in Inkscape

While MAKE is three dimensional, it’s really just an extruded two dimensional form (sometimes called 2.5 dimensional) so I started as I often do, with Inkscape. I used Georgia Bold, which is the font Kevin used in his piece, and typed up the letters for MAKE.

MAKE outlined

I selected each letter and combined them into one object via the “Union” command under the “Path” menu.

MAKE outlines joined

At this point we no longer have editable text but an outlined object. We still have curved lines though, and that just won’t do for 3D printing, as we need all straight line segments.

MAKE with straight lines

I selected all of the segments and inserted new nodes. Once you have more nodes, you can convert all of the segments into straight lines. No more curves! If you add enough nodes the short straight line segments will look like a proper curve. (Adding more segments can increase the complexity of the file, which can increase the time to process and print it, so don’t go too crazy.)

MAKE reversed

After I had my artwork outlined, I exported it as a DXF file and brought it into OpenSCAD to extrude it. Also, here’s a trick: I actually flipped it 180 degrees in OpenSCAD so that it would face down on the print bed. I wanted the “front” of the piece nice and smooth.


Here’s what it looks like in proper perspective… What’s that? You’re already getting inspired to make something? Excellent!

MAKE in plastic

And here’s our final piece. MAKE… in plastic… for your desktop. I like the white, but I definitely need to get more filament colors… I think this would look great in orange or red!


I made an attempt at a larger version, but the old RepRap went a little crazy and the print failed about 15% into it. Still, it’s a pretty good MAKE if you ask me. Perhaps this one is more suitable for the wall than the desk.

(Note: grab the file from Thingiverse.)

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