I haven’t done any armor creation or blacksmithing in a long time. That said, I still have the anvil and other tools for it. I have the anvil strapped to a piece of 2×12 that usually gets put either on the ground, or screwed to a bench for temporary use. It comes in handy for trying to tap something back together, or for banging out something. I felt after all these years it needed a proper stand at the right height.
I measured the distance from the ground to my hand while wearing my shop boots and designed a basic box structure to hold the anvil. I made the base the width and depth of the already existing wood it was attached to. No reason to re-do that, it has been very successful.
I added a foot to the base. It sticks out the front so that if I am hammering away on the front of the horn, the whole thing won’t want to tip forward. Weight and stability are what we are after. I attached it with screws and construction adhesive to make sure no sand leaks out.
When the glue from the sides and the base all dried up I filled the center cavity with sand. It is cheap, adds weight, and helps deaden vibrations. I put in a whole 50lb bag, plus some extra.
I estimate it is about 30 pounds of wood, 60+ pounds of sand, and the anvil is 55 pounds. At roughly 150 pounds, this thing ought to stay put when you smack on it. I attached the top and had a usable anvil stand.
Last but not least I added my favorite shop finish, boiled linseed oil. Cheap, effective, and pine looks great after a few years of aging with it on. This thing will look really aged by the time Ira is old enough to ask about it. Maybe I will make up some story about it being rescued from some ancient site. That should work till he notices the epoxy coated torx head screws I used to assemble it.
I haven’t done a print grab bag in ages and realized I had a pile of fun and useful prints bouncing around. Let a montage of 3D printed goodness begin!
Not super original, you can find a zillion of these online, but I wanted my own. First up, they are nice and big for me to read, and secondly, there is always something you have that isn’t in the list given online. The first set were just white with black paint marker coloring. I later started doing batches and swapping to black on the right Z layer to make the lettering pop.
I always keep a big exacto blade and a few deburring tools around in my shop. They tended to float on my messy table top and get lost (part of the reason I have two deburring tools). In an effort to keep that area clean I made a tool holder that screws to the underside of the shelf. Previously unused space now keeps me better organized. It tilts back 10 degrees to keep them from vibrating out when I slam the door on that wall. No unexpected falling knives please!
Sticking with the shop theme, I have a supply of semi-disposable items I always keep around. Popsicle sticks of various sizes and acid brushes are really useful for mixing, spreading or applying different substances. I used to keep them in loose piles or cups, but now I have a custom dispenser for each.
The basic design is the same in all, but with some modification to dimensions depending on what was being dispensed. The front wall slides in and has custom text for each one. A lid keeps the dust out and allows stacking. I printed them with 5% gyroidal infill and a hole in the bottom. That let me use sand to add weight, capping with epoxy. I have been using this trick a lot lately and love doing it. I used hot glue on the bottoms of each, then smashed it down on a silicone mat to make quick non-skid bottoms. The weight from the sand and the non-skid bottoms keep them from moving around easily. You wouldn’t want them to fall off the high shelf they are on.
Shark Bite Remover
Shark bite fittings are a great plumbing invention. They fit over the 1/2″ cpvc plumbing in my house and mean the fittings can be replaced without cutting the pipe. I had a supply valve go bad in one location, and wanted to switch orientations in another location. No cutting required! The trick is, getting them off is a beast. You have to push in on the release sleeve, twist and pull. All while being gentle and not stressing the pipes too much. They sell little C clips to make it easier, but I lose them and they aren’t comfortable on your fingers. Enter some printed ones.
I printed LOTS of these and sprinkled them throughout my plumbing supplies. They have more finger surface than the store bought ones, so you can get a better grip. Plus they are thinner. I found myself having to replace a fitting that didn’t have much pipe sticking out. These thin ones got in there, the store bought wouldn’t fit.
Moving from the shop into the house, my wife has been playing chess a lot recently. She wanted a chess set so I made one out of sparkly galaxy black filament and marble filament. I printed each one hollow, filled with sand, and capped with epoxy. The board is a set of 4 tiles printed with a color change from black to white. I put it all on a piece of MDF. That part wasn’t brilliant. I started with black polyurethane then tried to move on to spray paint. I still don’t have a good MDF painting technique apparently. The edges endlessly suck up what ever you put down. That part will probably get remade at a later date.
To hold all the chess pieces I made a box with sliding lid. The fit is good enough that it kind of blends in when fully assembled. Embossed along the sides are a symbol of each chess piece type.
This moon lamp design comes in many flavors online. Thingiverse My implementation isn’t that unique. I did copy the spline shape used to attach the moon, and made my own base to hold the bulb. The base was once again filled with sand and capped. Now the lamp is quite hefty. The main challenge of this job was that the moon print took about 3 days. I accidentally interrupted one attempt when it was 90% complete… oops. The base is 6.5″ in diameter and the moon a little over 8″.
Monitor Picture Holder
Last but certainly not least, I got this cool frame for fathers day. I wanted to keep it close by, and for some reason the top of my monitor jumped out at me as the perfect location. A simple print later, and there was a perfect space for the frame to sit. The little guy is always on my mind, and now always on my monitor.
I have been working on this project slowly in the background since probably October. Early on, I was unable to finish printing the parts because of a mysterious heat creep issue. After a few months I had that sorted, and went on to figuring out how to smooth my prints. That went through a few iterations, then it was on to painting. Lots of trial and error, but with really good final results. Over this project I learned a lot about the hot end of my printer, came up with a new-to-me smoothing technique, and picked up an airbrush and taught myself to use it.
My first challenge was to smooth out the prints. The head came in 3 parts and I decided to smooth each one individually, then glue them together. Probably would have gone better the other way as we shall see. I spent a lot of time with sanding sponges, power tools and air erasers. Nothing worked well to bring down the surface roughness. My printer issues were really starting to bite me. I hit upon an idea with epoxy coating. They make special two part epoxies for over-coating FDM prints. I figured a slow two part I already had available was probably good enough. Below is one of my tests. Left side bare, right side coated.
Two part epoxy works well, but has a few draw backs. You tend to have to mix big batches, then really get working once they are cooking. It adheres well and is thick enough to hide most layer lines. Drips are an issue and once you have it in place, it can run and sag till the stuff starts to kick off. It was way better than endlessly sanding and priming, but still had some issues. Another test piece below.
I did some more research and found that printer resin is another possible option. I picked up a small bottle and a 405nm light and got to work. The results are great. It a good thickness as is, but can be thinned with IPA if desired. The trick is that you want to completely coat an area, then cure. Painting on more resin will make it hard to blend as the new stuff stays on top of the cured stuff. The resin has as much working time as you want, so you can take your time, go thin, then cure when you are ready. The part should be wiped down with a bit of IPA afterwards to clean up the sticky residue. The resin used below is black, but is transparent enough it is hard to see the effect.
With the major parts coated and smooth, I glued everything together. There was some bed warp, so I had major gaps to fill. I used bondo spot putty. It is hard to apply smoothly, and takes a bit of sanding to get flush. It sands much faster than the resin parts, so if you get too aggressive, you make valleys. Plus, resin doesn’t stick to it, so this part was pretty tricky. I need to find a better gap filling solution. UV resin won’t cure deep enough and is too thin.
I sanded and thought it all looked good, but the bondo still wasn’t smooth in spots.
You can’t hide anything once the primer goes down. That flat color shows all. After countless rounds of filling, sanding and re-priming I got it good enough. Next came the paint.
I am not much of an artist, and this is where I got out way over my skis. I had some basic craft paints, so I tried to make a bone color. The first was way too dark, and the second went on looking like streaky junk. My paint strokes were adding up and looking really awful.
Some peas for help on the internet got me the idea that I needed to try airbrushing. I had never done it before, but a basic cheap airbrush was about 40 bucks, and I already had the compressor. Plus, the cheap paints I was using had very little pigment. I went to slightly better craft paints that came in the color I wanted. The results were becoming much better.
Airbrush puts down a soft subtle amount of paint that you can easily add to. The acrylics were very matte, and that matched the bone look perfectly. After getting a base layer of everything down I went ahead and mixed a darker color for shadows.
After that I mixed white with a glossing agent and made the teeth whiter and shiner. It didn’t show as well as I had hoped, but the effect is still there a little in the end.
Lastly, I mixed up a really thin dirt color and started doing a weather/wash coat. I got a little carried away and the thing ended up being more dirty than I had originally set out to use. It was hard to stop though, it looked so cool. I spent extra time cleaning off the high spots and ridges so they looked a little polished, while the valleys were dirty.
I had the head and mouth parts complete, but needed a mounting plaque. I found a design on thingiverse someone made, but needed it a lot bigger. I cut the print into multiple parts. Instead of trying to glue them together and hide the seams, I taped them down to MDF, and used the print as a router template.
I used the slicer to cut off those raised bits, with a few alterations, and printed them separately to glue on later. They need to be smoothed, but I already had a plan for that. To keep them from getting to saggy or organic looking I used my airbrush to spray on the resin. It could be very thin and juuuuuust fill in the lines without breaking up any crisp edges. You have to make sure the fill job is good, once the primer goes on, resin won’t stick, so you have to fill and sand the rest of the way.
The MDF took paint like a thirsty beast. I eventually had to use bondo filler on the edges to seal them up.
Finally it got some silver spray paint with a few black brushes and accents. I am getting better at this whole painting thing! The head was glued down and hanging hardware added.