Paint Cabinet Organization

After my spray paint crates got my paints organized, I got to taking a harder look at my cabinet. I 3D printed a series of holders for the different calking tubes I have, then I went through and got rid of some old glues that were past their prime. Next thing I knew I was re-organizing the whole cabinet. This isn’t quite a before shot (Wish I had one of the beginning), but about half way through.

This cabinet has really deep shelves. That is great, but small stuff gets lost and even medium stuff gets hidden. I started making stadium seating for all my cans jars and bottles. I taped together two or three sheets of plywood, then laid out the stair step cuts. Glue bottles are smaller and got more layers that go taller. The wood finishing stuff tends to be bigger, so fewer wider shelves. 1/2″ plywood across the top makes a sturdy mini shelf.

I had a pile of tapes rolling around one of the lower shelves, so I looked for how to store them. I had recently picked up some harbor freight magnetic hooks. Turns out the hook is just a M4 stud, so if you unscrew it you can put in your own screw. I picked up a bunch more hooks and combined them with a stash of M4s I already had. Now I can flexibly store tape all along the inside of the doors.

I put more like things together. The spray paint was up top, but is now down low with the solvents, the glue and calking are together, the wood stains and finish have their own shelf, etc. I cleared up enough room to bring my hot glue out of a packed drawer and in with the other glue stuff. Magnetic bars and plywood gave me a wooden surface on top to attach my printed calking gun holder and a pvc hot glue gun holster. I printed a kimwipe box holder and stuck it to the roof too. Got to think in 3D when maximizing storage here! Use every surface possible.

To summarize, when organizing something like this:

  • Store like with like
  • Get creative about typically unused space (backs of doors, top of cabinet)
  • Make sure you have elevated seating for all shapes and sizes so you can see what you have

Prusa Mk2.5 Bed Flattening

My beloved Prusa is about to turn 4 years old. It has given me lots of years of good service with only a bit of maintenance and some minor upgrades. It is time to show it a little more love. While re-greasing all the bearings I decided to flatten the bed. Normally the bed warp is compensated for by the bed level probe. That is great, but it means the bottoms of your prints can be warped. The Mk3 printers have some simple upgrade using nylon lock nuts. The older printers are designed differently, so that isn’t an option. I do precision alignment professionally, so this should be easy.

First up, I used an octoprint plugin to see how flat my bed really is.

Gross. It is over 1.5mm off on the one corner. To fix this I am going to shim. The situation looks like this. Removable bed on top, heated bed under that, a standoff, then the metal frame. The heated bed and standoff are really tightly screwed together, the standoff was assembled to the metal frame when I built it.

I have brass washers from the hardware store. They turned out to be quite flat and 0.5mm thick. I will be slipping these in between the metal frame and the standoff one corner at a time, then re-testing my flatness.

I can’t drop my high spot, so I have to raise up the low spot to meet it. After adding shims one at a time to the low spots I got really confused. 1 washer added to the front left, made it go down. Also, the back looks flatter than before. I added a washer to the front right because I thought the scale was maybe reversed. It made the back worse!?! I am so confused.

I kept adding and removing washers and not understanding what was happening. I don’t know how it does these calculations and builds the maps, but I am completely confused. After an hour I found another plugin that is designed for the Mk3 nylock upgrade. I don’t have as many adjustment points, but it was still helpful.

According to this I was high on the right, ok in the center and front left, and low in the back left. I started adding shims to the whole setup based on this. Instead of slipping one in at a time I had to take the bed off to get to the center. I used super glue to hold the washers in place so they wouldn’t fall out during assembly.

This worked a lot better. My back right is still a little high, but I don’t have enough shims to continue. I might pick this up later and I can sand down the washers to be thinner if needed. For now though, this is pretty flat. I will avoid the far corner if possible. The other program shows it as being all high. I guess I don’t understand how it calculates 0. Maybe that was my main problem.

Did that do anything, or did I waste 2 hours of time? After all I have been printing for 4 years without it, and that is what a bed level sensor is for. I think it helped. Large prints come out flatter, and I can see that the z stages aren’t doing much compensation as they put down the first layer. For a little time and a modest cost in shims, this was an upgrade I wish I had done ages ago.

By the way, if you do this, 1ea 0.5mm washer was ok with the 8mm screw normally used. If you put in 2, you need a 10mm long screw. The fronts can be socket head cap screws, but the backs have to be button heads to clear the frame. Might want to pick some of those up if you plan on doing this job. I used brass washers for number 4 screws. Your mileage may vary.

Spray Paint Crate

I picked up a few extra cans of spray paint for different things I have in the works. Those added to my modest collection of paints meant I was way over capacity in my limited storage arrangement. I tossed out the old setup (which I forgot to take pictures of), and built myself a set of spray paint crates. This was a nice small project, but probably the biggest woodworking thing I have done since Ira came along. It is good to make sawdust again.

Every good shop project starts with some plywood. I had a lot of 1/2″ lying around from the toy and baby furniture days. The front, back and bottom are 1/2″ ply glued and nailed together with 1/4″ glued and nailed to the sides. It made for a pretty stout box without being too bulky or heavy. With 18 fullish cans, this thing was heavy enough.

For the front and back handles, I could have just drilled out the sides and used a jigsaw, but I wanted something repeatable and re-usable. I 3D printed a jig with a sized cutout for my hand and with a reasonable offset. There is a notch in the center so I can line it up with a mark. Not sure how often I will use this jig, but it was cheap to print, worked like a charm, and should last a long time.

With the handle cut out I rounded the corners with my corner radius template and then used my trim router to round everything over. Some quick sanding later and the handle area was smooth and comfortable.

The assembly was as mentioned before. Glue and brad nails. I eventually let that dry and put a coat of boiled linseed oil on these to make sure they stay together for a long time. They are just the right size for fitting in the bottom shelf of my paints cabinet. It need more cleanup and rearranging to get the second one in there. That calls for more shop organization!