Parts Tray with Sliding Lid

I get a lot of hardware from Bolt Depot and it comes in these tiny bags with labels, which are great, but when I’m building products I find that I’m always opening and closing bags to grab what I need and I wanted to try another way. I designed a parts tray with a sliding lid to organize things a bit better.

Here’s a render showing how it fits together. I do this stuff in OpenSCAD. (I’m still far from being an expert in that application, but I am getting better, and exercises like this help.)

It’s a three piece design. There’s the bottom part (the tray) that holds things, a top part which gets attached to the bottom part with screws, and a lid. I laser cut some clear(ish) acrylic for the lid so I could see the parts inside. You could just print the tray part if you don’t need a lid.

No laser cutter? No problem! You can also just print a lid. Obviously you can’t see the contents with the 3D printed lid… though maybe if it were printed in resin? I don’t know… I don’t print with resin. Anyway, there are files to laser cut a lid and for 3D printing a lid.

Part of the idea of two separate pieces connected with fasteners was to allow for making the fit tighter or looser, to some degree. There are friction bumps on the top part that the lid slides against, and the top part flexes a bit to allow for a good sliding fit. That’s the idea anyway.

Now, the first sliding lid I laser cut didn’t fit… seems it was 2.8mm acrylic, not 3mm acrylic. To make it fit right I just added a bit of tape along the edge of the lid. (Note: Clear tape might be better. I used blue tape for this photograph so you can see it.) You can also adjust the top part and print it until you get it right. It’s a small part that doesn’t use too much filament.

I posted the in-progress photos of this on Twitter and a fellow named Pooch asked if I could just print it as a single piece standing up. Turns out you can, so I included an STL for that method as well. (I’m still a fan of printing in two pieces and then using a laser cut lid but hey, options are good!)

Because options are good I also created a “deep dish” version that’s a bit taller and will hold more (or larger) hardware a bit easier. There’s also some OpenSCAD files so you can change whatever you want. So… many… options!

You can get all of the files from – Tray with Sliding Lid.


Ornament 69

I’m way behind on my ornament game this year because work has been insane lately. Here’s one I made two weeks ago for a neighbors small holiday open house. They provided a heavy blank paperboard ornament and Dana came up with the concept for this.

Here’s the illustration I created. (The final piece consists of layered felt that is laser cut and then spray glued together on the blank ornament.)

Here are the individual pieces of felt. I did illustrate the stars in gold/yellow but I found a silver backed felt and used that. I ended up stacking a few layers of the white snow to give it some depth, though I should have done a boolean difference of the top of the trees for the stars, or better yet, layered the stars a bit better. (I have another project in the works that is an improvement in this.)

Oh, it’s “Ornament 69” because we live on 69th Street. Happy Holidays!


Arm for Phone Photography & Video

I needed a way to shoot video and photos on my phone while facing straight down at a desk. I grabbed one of these adjustable suspension arms with the thought that I would figure out some way to mount my phone to it… and I did. (Ugh! I got the arm for less than $10 but it’s closer to $20 now.)

As luck would have it I found some GoPro mounts in a dumpster a few weeks ago, including a 1/4-20 mount which screws onto the end of the arm. I then laser cut a piece of 1/8″ Baltic Birch and as luck would also have it it only takes a little bit of sanding to get it to fit into the slot of the GoPro mounts.

I drew up a piece that was approximately the size of my phone, and then put in some notches where the camera is, and made it so I can flip the camera around either way. (I also cut one without the “speed holes” in it.)

This is what I used to shoot the video for my Syncing a Behringer RD-6 to a Pocket Operator via a Pi Pico post. I’ll use this whenever I need a steady shot or I need both of my hands free to twiddle some knobs.


Non-Fancy Signs

We’re growing new grass on the side of our house and wanted something to remind our neighbor not to mow it. Typically I would be 100% in favor of someone else mowing our grass, but it needs to grow more before being cut. Dana asked me to make two signs to put in the lawn, so I did.

I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on it, but I do enjoy making signs so I made them “nice enough” but not too fancy. When I was done Dana saw them and said “Why are they so fancy!?” and I explained that these were not fancy. I did not sand, I did not stain, I did not polyurethane them. Quick and dirty, in my opinion. I just hot glued some wood dowel scraps on the back, though I did sharpen them on the belt sander.

She said she would have just used cardboard and duct tape. I cringe when duct tape is mentioned. This is a gaff tape household, though we do dabble in electrical tape, blue painters tape, Maker Tape™, etc. but NO duct tape.) I told her cardboard would have been destroyed by the rain, and really… these were not fancy signs.

What do you think? Are these scrap wood signs I laser etched and quickly rolled one coat of white ink onto fancy? I didn’t even do any kerning!


Fast Laser Cut Sign

I got a message from my daughter asking if I could help her make a sign for an event happening later that day. I said yes, and without much time asked he what it needed to say. She texted me the copy, and I cranked out a design very quickly.

I did ask if it was a tabletop sign or a wall hanging sign, and she said tabletop, so that’s what I made. It’s just two simple pieces that slot together. I think this came together in about 30 minutes total. I did a quick sanding and didn’t really have time to stain it, so I just applied some paste wax to it.

And yeah, you can check out BrewCityWraps on Instagram if you are into wire-wrapped jewelry. I heard back from her during the event saying people liked the sign and they had made some sales. Awesome!

The sign can flat pack, and I threw in a few rubber bands to hold the two piece together. Overall I’m pleased with how it turned out in the time given. Sometimes with larger projects you spend so much time planning you never get around to actually making something, so cranking out a quick one is nice.