Monday, June 29, 2015

Glass frame screw caps for exterior house doors

The rear entry area of our home is very dark, so we decided that an easy way to add light was to replace our old, drafty, malfunctioning rear entry door with a modern door with a glass panel to allow more light.

Our first problem was that our rear door happens to be pretty small - 30 inches wide.
Most exterior doors are now 36 inches wide, so to get what we want, we'd have to special order at about three times the cost of the doors in stock at our local stores.  My partner in crime had the brilliant idea of searching craigslist for 60 inch wide double entry doors, since that would give us a door with exactly the width we want (and an extra door to do something with?).  With a little patience, we located a set of used wooden entry doors, so we took our new door home to strip off paint, fill in holes, and generally clean everything up.
Missing screw caps in the glass frame

Second problem: the screw caps were missing from the frame around the glass in the door.
I first went to Lowe's to ask if they had those caps and was told that no, no ones sells them, they come with new doors, and nowhere else. I searched the internet and found that the guys at Lowes were right, those caps can't be purchased!
So, I took some careful measurements, 3D printed some screw caps in white ABS, popped them in place with a mallet, and they look great!


gently tapping in with a mallet





















18 new screw caps
Caps in place

Monday, June 15, 2015

Archery Bow Square

I've recently begun learning archery.

When you receive your first bow, one of the first things you need to do is set it up by adjusting the brace height, and add a nock point to your string.  I'm not going to explain here how to do those things as I'm just a rank beginner.  To accomplish those tasks yourself, you'll need a tool called a Bow Square, it lets you both measure the brace height and find the proper placement for your nock point.

These aren't expensive tools, you can find aluminum bow squares for as little as $15 online, but designing and cutting my own was a fun project, and was a good excuse to further acquaint myself with 10BitWorks' new 80Watt Rabbit Laser engraver.

I designed in Inkscape, exported to DXF and used LaserCut 5.2 to communicate the actual cuts to the machine.

Monday, January 5, 2015

How 3D printing saves time and money

It's been close to a year and a half since I purchased my current 3D printer (it cost about $1200 at the time, but you can pick one up for about $950 today), and I've lost track of how many times over it has paid for itself, but here's a list of some ways my printer has paid for itself around the house:
Ceiling fan with 3D printed globe retainer clips

Monday, November 3, 2014

How to redesign a kitchen pantry

We're rehabilitating our new home. Here's how we redesigned our kitchen pantry.
Before: dirty and unusable, lots of wasted space.

Problem 1. The shelves were few (3) and too deep (24 and 36 inch)

In a situation like a pantry, instead of a small number of deep shelves, you want many shallow shelves to reduce situations where one object hides behind another.
The deep shelves also cause dark shadows at the back of the pantry, making it even less usable.
To fix this situation, we'll increase the number of shelves from 3 to 5 and reduce the depth from 24 and 36 inches to 12 inches.
To ensure that we use our available storage space efficiently, we're creating L-shaped shelves which increases the linear shelf space by more than 50%.

Problem 2. The interior was coated with flat paint. 

Anyplace where you want clean or disinfected, you need to use a semgloss or high gloss paint.  Unlike flat paint, glossy surface coatings are water resistant, cleanable and resist sticky substances (like food spills).  Additionally, flat paint soaks up light, making the pantry seem dark and dingy, not attributes I want where we store our food.
To maximize visibility and cleanliness, we used a low-voc white semigloss paint.

Problem 3. Shelves were held up with 2x4s.

Using a 2x4 in your food pantry to hold a shelf is not only overkill, it looks clunky, wastes space, and when working on a closet for a few hours, I'd rather not deal with material that bulky or heavy. We decided to go with pre-primed 1x2 for the long shelves along the rear of the closet and twin-track standards for the short shelves along the right side.

Design goals:


  • Maximize storage space without making things hard to see or reach
  • Solid shelves instead of wire shelves - wire shelves are bad for small objects and useless during spills
  • Sometimes food gets messy: make everything easy to clean
  • As always, re-use as much material as possible

Let's get started!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Shapeoko+Arduino+Raspberry Pi+Easel

Over at the Easel beta tester's mailing list we started talking about running a shapeoko on odd hardware, and I mentioned that I run mine on Raspberry Pi. The developers (Chris B) chimed in to ask if Easel worked on Raspian. Well, after a bit of back and forth, I came up with this workflow to use Easel on Raspberry Pi.

A quick spoiler: Easel does not yet have a local sender that works on Linux, so we'll be using a separate piece of software for sending the GCode to the Shapeoko.

Fair warning: this post gets slightly technical.

Here's the workflow I came up with:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Make a Set of Progressive Locks

First off, a definition: a set of progressive locks is a set of locks with an increasing number of pins. They are a great way to gain confidence and learn to pick locks. A full set typically consists of five locks with 1 pin, 2 pins, 3 pins, 4 pins, and 5 pins, respectively.  

The 1 pin lock can be opened with just a stern look, but the 5 pin lock will take a bit of effort, and the ones in between... well, you get the idea.

Over this past weekend, we changed the locks in our new house and I was faced with discarding 5 locks. Hmmm... 5 locks... 5 pins in a lock... waitaminute, let's make a set of progressive locks!

Here's how to turn Kwikset locks into progressives:

Ingredients:
  • Small flat head screwdriver for prying
  • Tweezers
  • Needle nose pliers
  • A set of lock picks (for testing!)
  • A bunch of spare locks that you own

1. Take off the outer ring and discard.

Monday, October 13, 2014

3D Printing Upgraded Chair Feet

Earlier, I designed and printed some replacement feet for my Ikea Gilbert chairs (see that earlier project here).

We recently moved to a new home and we have gorgeous pine wood floors from 1925, and we obviously don't want to scratch them up with chair feet, so I tried putting stick-on felt pads to the chair feet, but they slid off with use, leaving scratches AND sticky messes on our floors.

So, I pulled up my old design files and came up with a chair foot that is:

  • slightly larger diameter (~25mm versus ~19mm), to distribute weight over a larger area
  • has a lip on the bottom to prevent the felt pads from slipping off
  • still compatible with IKEA Gilbert chairs

New feet shown with and without the felt pads
You can download the file and print it yourself I recommend black ABS plastic, 30% infill, and orient the feet with the smaller diameter facing down.

If you don't have a 3D printer handy, I've set up a store for my replacement chair feet over here (I sell them with the appropriately sized felt pads included).