Garage Wooden Wall

The wall in our garage next to the house entrance has some issues. Multiple things had been attached and removed, and there was once a dart board. The result is a serious amount of holes. There are a lot of things I want to attach to this wall. They are often too small to use french cleats and I don’t want a million wall anchors. Why not use wood?

I picked up a pile of tongue and groove pine and covered the outward face in boiled linseed oil (BLO) to offer a little color and basic protection.

Everything got pulled away from the wall and I put in the first slat. I made really sure the first one was tight up against the wall and level. After that, things went pretty smoothly. I worked my way up the wall and got to some outlets that were disused. The house had a number of intercoms that were removed, phone jacks, and some switches I don’t need any more. I went through and measured everything’s position and saved it so I can reopen those boxes again if I want them in the future.

I put a corner mold on the outside edge and used a little scribe piece of pine to help smooth the transition between the door mold and the wood wall.

With everything up I could accessorize a bit. I bought wooden switch plates so the light switches and outlet would look nicer and blend in better.


3D Printed Enhancements

As I stated earlier, part of the reason for doing this is to support mounting options. I have a remote for my new AC system, an indoor/outdoor thermometer and a remote for the ceiling dust filter. The AC remote already had a mounting bracket, the others had to be designed and printed

While taking the garage door wall controls off the wall, the plastic started coming apart. The clips were breaking off and screw holes splitting. I printed a cradle that the housing would fit in and offer new mounting screw holes. The bodies were bonded into the cradle and allowed to cure overnight. The only place I had access to screw holes was under the main button. The base is thick enough to keep it from flapping under use.


I continued to add the signs and other accessories to my wall as I put the desk back and cleaned up. I was able to mount my shiny red metal first aid kit down low in easy reach. I also screwed a sealed CAT tourniquet to the wall. Hopefully that never comes in handy. Having the wall here has been nice. The space feels a lot warmer, and I have already added more items since taking this picture. I might pick continue this theme elsewhere in the shop, but not any time soon.

Under Desk Mess Wire Shelf

I will be honest, underneath my office desk is a hot mess. Wires everywhere and power strips piled up. I tried to push everything off to the sides, but it always migrates back to the center. I kick the stuff around and have switched off the power by accident before. Time to fix this pile.

I had an idea that trimming a set of wire shelves narrow would give me a good platform to hold up all the power strips and lots of spots to strap things down. This 4 foot shelf was only 10 dollars at lowes. It gives me a really great jumping off point. I started by taking off the longer rung section. This left me with a 6.5″ wide shelf.

From there I designed some brackets to go under my desk. They would strap down the shelf with zip ties, align with a shoulder to the desk’s back edge, and screw into the sides of the desk.

The shelf fit check went well and I pulled my desk out to install the brackets. That is where things went a little south. I had measured, but not realized just how far away from the wall I would have to pull my desk to accommodate the shelf. The gap behind the table top was big enough to allow a lot of stuff to get tipped over and fall behind.


I regrouped and cut off the next row from the wire shelving. That shortened it to a little over 4 inches which was a lot more manageable. I shortened up and reprinted the brackets. This let me retest the distance between the desktop and the wall. This size is going to work out.

With the bracket on I was able to slip the shelf into place and start wrangling wires. It took disconnecting everything and a lot of velcro, but I got it all organized and away from my feet. I don’t know how many places this kind of organization is useful. Certainly entertainment centers and computer stations, but beyond that I am not certain. I will have to keep this trick in my back pocket if I find myself with another big interconnected wire mess to straighten up. Brackets added to thingiverse by request. I only modeled one side, mirror in your slicer software to get the other side.

Garage Door Insulation and Repair

"No pleasure, no rapture, no exquisite sin greater... than central air."
-AZRAEL, in Kevin Smith's Dogma

I got a mini-spit air conditioner installed in the garage this past week! The indoor unit sits up high near the ceiling, and supply lines are run out to a small outdoor heat exchanger and power source. It uses no indoor floor space and all gets controlled from a single remote.

I wanted to maximize the chances of this thing keeping the garage at a reasonable temperature when I got out there, so I am going to insulate the garage doors like I did at the last house. First though, I had some repair work to do.


My large garage door is very large. It is 18 feet wide, which is bigger than your typical double wide door. The extra size means more weight and stress. I had a garage door tune up done and they pointed out some damage. Replacing this would be crazy expensive, so I am going to try to patch it up and get a few more years out of it. The smaller door gets used quite frequently, but this one only gets cycled only a few times a week.

The first issue is that the main lifting arm brace broke the top central rib. Some of the panel is split as well.

I supported a series of rivets by placing a strip of aluminum across the top and drilling through it into a C channel in the bottom groove. The space was so small and awkward that I had to use a right angle drill. Maybe I should have pulled the door up to work on it. That should stop that panel split from advancing any further.

A number of the center ribs had de-bonded from the panels. They are just held on with some kind of adhesive. I guess decades of movement and thermal cycling got to them. I used a silicon adhesive between the two to try and stick them back together with a flexible bond. While that setup, I drilled and riveted through the outside panel into the inner rib.

My only worry is that this doesn’t hold well enough and the rivets end up ripping through the outer panel. If that happens I am probably going to have to get a new door. Time will tell.


With the door reinforced I could add some insulation (weight unfortunately). Being mindful of stress on the big door, I went with 1/2″ rigid foam. 6 panels are enough to do my small and large doors. They are silver foiled on one side and white with writing on the other. I had the text side facing inward at my last place. I wanted this to look a little nicer, so I painted all the text side with white paint.

In retrospect the paint might have actually lowered the R value vs the original foil surface. Oh well. One coat did a decent job, but you can still see the dark text. A second coat covered it up nicely.

With all the panels painted and dry I went about cutting them up on the table saw and slipping them into the panel cavities behind the ribs and hurricane bars. Liquid nails held everything in. That stuff doesn’t seem to cure well when the glob is too thick; I would use silicone next time. A few panels needed a re-glue, but overall it was a success. The paint looks very clean and helps reflect light inside. Now I just need to wait for the dead of summer to see how well the whole system works.

Late Summer 2019 Prints

Kind of a big span of time with a smattering of prints. I am always printing one little thing or another, but only occasionally remember to document them. Let the disjointed presentation begin.

Reciprocating Saw Spray Can Shaker

One of my weirder ideas that was spawned by being locked away waiting for a hurricane to come. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could use a saw to shake new spray paint cans for you? Turns out some folks weld something like this together and sell them on ebay. Not sure I want the full metal version, but a plastic one screwed down to a de-toothed saw blade would be ok. A large hose clamp keeps the can in place.

So far it has worked well the 2 or 3 times I have tried it. Probably one launched can away from it being my worst idea ever, but until then, it feels pretty clever.


Pole Scraper (Paint Handle Threads)

Also while waiting out the storm I had time to experiment with threads. Specifically I wanted to make threads that would go onto any standard mop/cleaning brush/paint roller/etc pole. I did some research and it is an ACME 3/4″ x 5tpi. Turns out Fusion 360 only had that diameter in a 6tpi version. I found a guide on their help area that tells you how to set up custom threads. (Link)

My first project was simple, but useful. I made a little scraper that would go on the end of some extension poles we had. I used it to go all around the house and scrap off the mud dobber nests that had built up all over the house. The printed plastic will not hurt anything on the house, and the extension pole lets me get to everything without leaving the ground. Now I can attach any kind of hook, grabber, poker, or whatever to an extendable pole.


Calking Plug

While working on the rock project I went through a lot of tubes of landscape adhesive. I bought it in the large 28oz tubes (instead of your typical 10oz) because it is way cheaper per ounce that way. My big calking gun had issues sometimes though. The diaphragm in the back of the tube would fail, and I would end up with the plunger pushing through the glue. It almost ruined my gun.

The first time I thought it was a fluke. The second time I got kind of mad. Once the diaphragm fails, you basically can’t do anything with the tube and have to toss it. I cleaned the gun up again, and noticed that the plunger is quite a bit smaller than the inner diameter of the glue tubes. By only pushing in the center of the glue plug, it could be causing them to have a blowout more easily. I printed a larger disk that fits around the existing plunger, and just fits inside the tubes. After that, the glue tubes behaved themselves.


Inside Transfer Calipers

Sometimes you need to measure the inside diameter of something, but the shape makes it difficult to get that measurement. Inside calipers can help, but if going into a flared hole or other situation, it is not easy to pull the tool back out without disturbing the caliper distance. This simple design will produce the same dimension on either end. Stick it in a tapered hole, and just measure the part sticking out to know what that size is. A very special usage case, but I have needed one in the past, and with a little print time, I have one.


Wind Chime Clacker

The house came with a few really nice sounding wind chimes. They are blocked by the trees and screen, so they don’t chime often, but the long tubes make a deep soft song. The wooden clacker on one has fallen apart a few times. I keep gluing it back together, but the wood is really shot. I thought about making another wooden one, but wanted to try a printed one instead. It matches the diameter and thickness. The two halves are the same print just turned around to key into each other. This way I don’t have to untie anything, just glue it into place. The keyed insides align both pieces to center and add additional glue surface area. I am curious to see how long black PLA will last.

Phenolic Miter Saw Zero Clearance Insert

My 3D printed zero clearance inserts for the miter saw have not held up well. They don’t react well to heat and I only get a few dozen cuts out of them before cut tears start to appear. The plate has to be 1/4″ thick which makes it difficult to design for. I have used plywood in the past, but that is tough to make work right. I finally broke down and picked up some phenolic sheet. Phenolic is paper impregnated with a hard resin. The result is really stiff and slick.

I started by copying the insert that came with the saw and expanding it a little so it fits tighter in the opening. I made a test piece and when everything turned out ok I wrote the instructions on the master. First cut a piece of phenolic to rough size, attach the master, and trim it down on the router.

Once the shape is cut right I peel the master off and stick down the original saw plate. I use it to transfer the hole locations with a 3/16″ transfer punch. Transfer punches come in handy for just this sort of thing. Next I do a counterbore to give the screw head some place to live, then finally drill through the rest of the way.

The new plate is screwed into place, then I just make the first cut and voila, the zero clearance insert is complete. My first one had seen dozens of cuts without any issues. Hard to say how long these will last, but as hard as the plastic seems, it should be quite a while.

Swiveling Dust Collection Fitting

My dust deputy cart is doing a reasonably good job of helping me keep clean. One place that falls short is the hose that attaches to the inlet of the dust cyclone. The inlet part is tapered and the plastic is quite slick. A picture from my original post shows that I originally held it in place with zip ties. I moved on to a hose clamp, but that didn’t work either. It always gets twisted up during use, and it falls off constantly. I need a connection that can swivel and stay attached.

My solution to this issue is to 3D print a tapered ring with threads (red below). A loose tube butts up against that (yellow), and is held down by a nut (green). I did a cross cut shot to show what it looks like when assembled (lower right). My CAD software introduced a few new colors to confuse the issue.

I had a lot of blue filament lying around so I made everything out of that. The tapered base goes on and screws into place to keep it from falling off. I then screwed on the big nut to capture the 2″ hose adapter. The nut threads interfere heavily, so it won’t move without a lot of effort.

I tightened the nut down enough to form a reasonable seal, but loose enough to let it swivel. To connect the hose to the swivel section I again used a hose clamp. This time I printed and glued on a little handle so you don’t need a tool to loosen or tighten the clamp. Ask me in 3 months if I like it or not.

Orlando Maker Faire 2019

I went back to the Orlando maker faire again this year. First off, prusa printers showed up with a booth, and I got to meet the maker man himself. Josef Prusa!

After that it was all gravy. I saw some cool demos, battle bots, belt sander racing, some kind of go-cart/powerwheels racing series and a bunch of other things. This year had a lot more art and somewhat fewer techy things. I guess that is probably better for a wider audience, but didn’t have my attention as much. I will need to take more pictures next year, these were the only ones worth passing along.