Battery Charging Station

I am mildly obsessed with flashlights.  These flashlights take fancy 18650 lithium ion batteries that can be recharged.  I have a lot of light accessories, spare batteries from laptops, and other things that need storage and organization.  Similarly cameras tend to have their own specialized batteries that need storage and charging.  I built a flexible station to hold all my chargers in one place.  Later I added an extras organizer from a repurposed storage box.

I started with all the specialized chargers I could find.  Two for flashlight batteries and two for cameras.  I decided to go for the pedal board route.  Guitarists can have a lot of effects pedals for their instruments.  Instead of having them all splayed across the floor they tend to put them on a thin box using velcro.  The box has slits that allow cables to pass inside the box out of the way.

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I built it to fit a shelf in my office closet and made it wide enough to expand with new charger capacity if need be.  Nothing special, just some pine I had hanging out.  The chargers are held at about a 60 degree angle, and there is space in the back to strap down a power strip.

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I wanted it dark to help hide the dark cables and velcro.  I never have good luck staining pine, but mixed up a water based dye blend.  It turned out great!

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With velcro and power strip in place I could start attaching chargers.

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A 4×1 outlet extender lets you plug in chargers that are supposed to go directly into a wall outlet.  I added a device called a blackout buddy.  Eaton makes them and they are red cross branded.  It plugs in and charges itself.  When the power goes out it turn on the light so can see.  Now when our power goes out I can find my way to the flashlight stash in the dark.  It fit like a charm on the shelf in my closet.

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Next up I pulled an old drawer storage box thing out of the trash.  It used to have board games in it, but was destined for the dump.  I thought the all-wood construction it was worth saving.  After re-gluing a few bad joints it was in good shape.

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The bottom drawer houses all the extra batteries I had from laptop pulls and random purchases.  I printed a number of organizers to keep them from touching.  Every organizer positively holds the battery in place so they can’t come out and can’t touch each other.  Keeping them from touching is an important part of preventing battery damage and fires.  Plenty of room left to store more batteries.

The middle drawer has random flashlight stuff.  O-rings, manuals, cases, etc.  I printed some dividers to hot glue down to keep the drawer from being a mess every time you open and close the drawer.

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Lastly I threw some of my DSLR gear in the top drawer because I never really had a good place for it.  3D printing and woodworking come together to help organize and support my camera and flashlight fixations.  What a gorgeous synergy!

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Feb-Mar 2017 3D Prints

Between travel, other projects, and a wounded printer, I haven’t made a ton of prints recently.  Here are the ones that bubbled to the top.

Bluetooth Antenna

I use bluetooth ear buds in my shop at nearly all times.  They are comfortable and go nicely under a set of ear muffs.  The bluetooth in my shop laptop has a really limited range.  Sometimes the EMI from power tools causes enough problems to interrupt the music.  I bought an external bluetooth dongle.  It worked better, but I found that raising it up away from the laptop and monitor made it work the best.

I used a pin contour gauge to try to copy the shape of my monitor.  It is a pretty complex shape and I didn’t quite get it perfect.  Still, a little hot glue holds the bracket on well and zip ties keep the USB extension held high and proud.  I was hoping it would look like a star wars droid antenna, but fell short.  Other than the visuals, it works like a charm.  Long range tunes without interruption.

Magnetic Door Holder

The weather is getting warm, but it is still nice enough to keep the doors and windows open.  The wind often catches the door into my shop and slams it shut.  I printed this bracket assembly and glued in magnets to hold the door open.  A large machine screw holds the two pieces together and allows some pivoting between the door and bracket.  I screwed it down to a mobile work bench, so the angle between it and the door can vary a few degrees.

String Trimmer Winder

I use a black n decker string trimmer for yard edging.  They come with spools (AF-100) that auto-feed the right amount of string and can be exchanged quickly when one runs out.  The trick is they sell for 6 bucks a piece.  Not a horrible price, but considering you can reload them for pennies, I had to find an easy way to do so.

There is a base that the spool plugs into, and a winder that chucks into a drill (1/4 nut and bolt required).  The base keeps the spool stable and guides the string while the winder lets you power through a whole spool in no time.

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This one was complex enough to use that I made a short video explaining its use.  Thingiverse Link

Printer Rebirth

After months of being without a printer since the breakdown, I am back in business!

It lives again!

A post shared by Chase (@kiltedcraftworks) on

dsc_0665I was 99% sure that all it really needed was a new hot end.  Not sure what happened to the last one, but it would jam up no matter what I did.  Monoprice of course doesn’t sell new ones, and I didn’t want some cheap knock-off.  I didn’t realize it when I first had this problem, but it turns out E3D makes a “lite6” version of their famed V6 for half the price.  It can only do PLA and ABS, but that is all I ever wanted anyways.  Step one, remove old hot end with extreme prejudice.

I was able to reuse the heating element from the old system, but the thermistor is new.  This setup doesn’t have any part cooling fans so I bet the overhang performance will suffer dramatically, but at least it should work.

Some things that aren’t working out for me are power.  The old fan was 5V and got modulated by the micro-controller to change speeds for variable part cooling.  The new one is 12V and needs to be on all the time.  After some frustrating work with non-standard connectors, I ended up cutting out their connectors and directly wiring the given 12V supply to the machine with a power tap off for the hot end fan.  The fan power runs up the back, and the old 5V fan power just hangs out front.  I might use it to add a part cooling fan someday.

I learned a lot about how hot ends are made, and ended up having to completely replace the tubing on mine to get a full range of motion.  It is one ugly critter now.

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Ugly, but working!  I made a few of these small 1/4″-20 nuts as test pieces, and they turned out all right.  This wounded beast should keep me going till I can get something better and more permanent.  No more trying to print 24/7 now, just the things that I really want… This might be harder than no printer at all!

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Orlando Maker Faire 2016

I haven’t been to the Orlando Maker Faire in years, and wow was I missing out.  I volunteered for Matrix Flare because a co-worker was running it and they were doing great things for kids.  We were giving away thousands of LED lantern kits and helping kids assemble them.  They are basically LED throwies, but stuck inside a little plastic cup instead of thrown with a magnet.  The assembly was super simple, but for young kids it was a great into to making.  This was our booth.

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I wanted to take a picture or two showing all the kids making little LED lanterns, but we were swamped nearly the entire time.  For 8 hours I sat and helped kids from 3 to 63 assemble lanterns.  It was cool to watch the younger ones figure it out and have their own glowing lamp to take home.  For the brave we had a challenge of modifying the original lamp design to make it switchable.  Anyone that could would get one of a variety of 3D printed prizes.  We saw a lot of different solutions.

I eventually got some time to break away and check out the local displays.  Many of them were neat enough to warrant a short video.  Here was my collection.

Speaking of 3D Printers SeeMeCNC had one capable of prints a few feet in diameter, and 10+ feet tall.  The pikachu has a Jacob for scale, the angel was taller than he is.

One group was looking to build ISO containers that could print various materials.  I didn’t hear what the print dimensions were, but probably 6x6x15 feet or so.  Sounds like a neat job site tool to have around.

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There was Star Wars a plenty.  Lots of storm troopers running around, a really good sand person, Lego symbols, and RC R2D2s.

Other movie props were represented with a few groups that did recreation and reinvision.  This guy had a time machine that could drive around.

I always liked steampunk and they had plenty of booths dedicated to showing off steampunk props, leatherwork, and the reinvisioning of super heroes.

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Last but not least, check out these sweet wooden models!

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Speaking of wood, Darryl from Dread Knot Woodshop was doing some turning demonstrations.  I should have taken pics or a video, but was practically running to see everything and get back to the booth for more lantern time.  Next year, take 2 days to volunteer and see everything slowly!

Ding Dong My Printer Is Dead

Yeah, it is sad.  We had a great relationship at first.  It was wonderful and vibrant.  I was learning a lot about printing and creating new designs left and right.  Then things changed.  I needed to do some maintenance and started stripping threads.  The cooling fan started to croak, and the hot-end died.  I spent a lot of time trying to fix it, but don’t want to throw any more money at it at this point.

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Trying to open it up and grease all the rails was the first mistake.  I stripped some threads putting it back together.  I could be blamed for this, but I assemble a lot of equipment, and stripped threads are not common for me.  Once back together it seemed to be noisier than it was before.

Next the fan died and I spent a few iterations trying to get a good fan on there.  Unfortunately they don’t sell replacement anything, nor do they have specs online.  I got a good fan installed, but my print quality never really recovered.

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Benchy on the left had blobs and a lot of strings, but at least he finished.  Benchy on the right looked worse and never finished because of a nozzle jam.

20161005_064024I did a few rounds of clearing the nozzle jam, reloading filament, and then having another print jam.  I took apart the hot end section a few times.  The threads were starting to get bad on the nozzle, and the parts are held in with a very cheap set screw.  The upper brass piece accepts the boden tube.  It is a threaded tube fitting that just has a set screw pushed against it.  Not a robust design.  The threads get all messed up, and it doesn’t hold well.  After my 3rd or 4th jam, it jammed again, and kicked the boden fitting off entirely.  I came home to this.

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Thankfully it only chewed up a few meters of material, but I am frustrated.  From my reading, I likely have damage in the PTFE lining of my heat break.  I tried drilling it out a little, and cleaned up the nozzle, but still got jams.  I don’t know what the issue is, I am using gcode that worked fine a few weeks ago.  It is time for a new hot end, but I am done throwing money at this hunk of junk.  At least it taught me what I need to know to make an informed decision on my next printer purchase.

 

 

September 2016 Printer Wrap-Up

I have had my printer for a little over a month now, and boy have I been busy.  Something has come off the assembly line almost every day.  I got octoprint up and running within about a week of getting the printer, and it keeps a log.  I clocked in 325 hours of print time and over 450m of extruded filament.  Considering there were 720 hours last month, that is a lot of printing!

There was so much cool printing going on, that all I can do is hit the highlights.


Water Bottle Clips

I tend to carry water bottles around a lot at work and while doing stuff outside.  These clips help me keep water close at hand at all time.  Pretty blue custom clips.  Thingiverse link.


Flashlight Tail Stand

I have lots of cool tactical flashlights for warding off the darkness when our power decides to go out for the 2nd or 3rd time this month.  They have flat backs, but often don’t stand well on their tails.  Tail standing a good flashlight can provide great lighting to a whole room.  This print keeps them from being easily knocked over.  I will have to get glow in the dark material for next time.  Thingiverse link

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I felt this needed to be in my shop somewhere.  While it isn’t my design, the painting was my idea.  I painted the raised surfaces with a foam brush and some acrylic paints.  Two coats made it look really snazzy.

 

 

 

 


Name Tag

I am going to be volunteering at the upcoming orlando maker fair for a co-worker.  She has a lot of great activities for younger kids, and I thought such an event warranted a custom name tag.  The letters were pressed in using my c-clamp method as demonstrated in a previous post.  Magnets keep it safely secured to my shirt.


RTIC/YETI Mug Handle

I got a RTIC mug for cheap on a daily deal, and have been using it a lot.  It keeps ice for ages, and doesn’t sweat a drop.  The handles are expensive, so why not print one.  I had to make a two part version because the others available didn’t fit on my little bed.  A single 1/4-20 bolt of 1″ length along with a nut is needed to combine the two parts.  Thingiverse link


Brackets

I was in the process of building an enclosure for my printer to add lighting and reduce the noise.  It was kind of a disaster for reasons I won’t get into.  A few things got designed specifically for that project.  I am not using them at the moment, but will find something for them later.  Thingiverse link to flat bracket and right angle bracket

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I did a stress test on the right angle brackets by printing some at 20 and 80% and loading until failure.  Turns out, it was 66% stronger with the greater infill percentage.


Badge Holder

Last but not least I printed a nice pretty blue badge holder for work.  I wanted everyone to know how crafty I am as soon as they see me.  Thingiverse link

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Everything Else

Honestly there are a ton of other things I printed.  Some designed by me, lots downloaded from others.  I can’t write up everything, so this is a pile of stuff I made this month that isn’t living elsewhere in the house, or hasn’t been given to someone yet.

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My name is Chase, and I have a serious printer problem.

Press Fitting 3D Prints

I have been expanding my 3D printer experience this past month and have done a number of press fit parts.  The general principle is to take a piece of hardware, measure it, and print a hole in that shape that ranges between that exact size, to less than 0.01″ smaller.  It depends on your printer performance.  Mine tends to undersize holes a touch, so printing the exact size of the hardware works well.

Once printed the hardware has to be pressed into place.  An arbor press would be perfect for this, but I don’t have one and am too cheap to buy one.  I used a C-clamp instead.  This video demonstrates a few uses of said clamp press.

Most of the parts were very specific to my needs and probably not worth uploading to thingiverse.  The only exception is the quick release plate for my tripod.  I didn’t see any online.  I need to come up with a version that captures a bolt while making it easy to use with your fingers.  That will take some thinking.