Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Small teeth box

My small girl lots her first tooth lately, so I needed a small box to keep it: what else could I do besides printing one!

Here it is, the lid matches perfectly with the bottom! I printed this in transparent ABS, but will probably redo it in glow-in-the-dark PLA. If you want to print it, you can find it here in the warehouse

Small box to store the fallen teeth
And closed

Prusa i3 improvements

As I've been posting here, I have a prusa i3 on loan for a couple of months.

A few weeks ago, I got a piece that had no plastic deposited on one specific area, and was fine on the rest. This was very odd, so I had it reprinted and stayed around to see what happened. Immediately I saw that the extruder stepper motor was not turning. I looked around to try to see the reason for this, and found the culprit: a damaged cable:

Extruder stepper broken cable

I tried fixing it, by taking out the small metal tab in the connector, but that didn't work for long.
I talked to the owner of the printer and he had a spare cable. According to him this had happened before, and was a common problem.
The issue here is that a lot of stress is put on that particular cable as it travels left and right along the X axis all the time, plus vertically, although that is a slow and much less often travel.

Since I don't like problems that reoccur, I thought of a solution: a cable holder that transfers the stress from the connector to the cable, which is a point much less prone to failure. So I designed a cable holder that holds not only the extruder stepper cable, but all the cable for heating the extruder and for the fans. Here it is, printed in glow-in-the-dark PLA:

Extruder stepper cable holder
Extruder stepper cable holder

This makes the whole cable behave much better, and I think will also prolong the life of the extruder heating connections. I also printed one for the X-axis stepper motor which travels up with the Z-axis:

X-axis cable holder

You can find these models in the warehouse here.

While discussing this problem, I also realized the cable proving the heated bed with power also keeps traveling back and forth along the y-axis and so it would also fail sooner or later, so I also designed a little holder for this. You can find it in the warehouse here:

Heated bed cable holder

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

3D Printed zipper fix

I have been very busy with the 3D printer, and have a lot of pictures and material to post here, so stay tuned!

Today it's about a little fix: a broken zipper on my daughters favourite backpack.

As you can see in the picture, the zipper handler was broken, but she was still using the backpack, however difficult it was to open it.

The broken handle

This hardly asked for a 3D printer to fix, but, since I was busy printing stuff, why not print a handle for the zipper? So that I did.

The handle, in glow-in-the-dark PLA

I then used a dremel to cut a groove on the printed PLA (glow-in-the-dark) part, and used epoxy to glue it on.

This is the final result, she is very proud of it, and of me having fixed it, and she loves that it's glow-in-the-dark!

The handle glued in place

Friday, December 2, 2016

3D printed Apple Airport Extreme Wall mount

I got a 3D printer on loan from a friend, it's a Prusa i3.

I have used it before by designing and taking the files to him for printing, but this allows me to quickly check and made adjustments.

So to start, I had a wall holder for an Apple Airport Extreme wifi router design that I made a few months ago, but never got to print, since I then made such a holder out of acrylic.

By accident, the acrylic holder broke a few days before I got the printer, so it was the perfect opportunity to try it. Here is a rendering of the holder:

I printed it using PLA, and got quite a nice result! Here are a few pictures.

I use Sketchup to design the models. If you want to have a go, you can find the sketchup model on the warehouse here.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Chimney Turbine fix

Another unconventional fix, this time the chimney turbine.

The Chimney Turbine
It's been there for a 4 or 5 years, rotating steadily and stealthily, until a couple of nights ago, it nearly drove me crazy as I searched for the origin of a faint noise as I used the computer in the attic. I thought it was from the hard disk, then the boiler, and finally, after a night or two I realized it was from the turbine. It didn't help that there wasn't much wind, so it only turned intermittently.

Come the weekend, and I jump on the roof to get it out, disassemble it, to find a rusty bearing at the very bottom. The hole where the axle is assembled is protected from water ingress, but I guess not protected enough, and over the years, some water accumulated, and got the bearing rusty.
The rusty bearing

A trip to the local hardware store later, and I ordered the bearings on eBay, from some German store. The local store closed at 12:00 on a saturday!
The rusty bearing opened and the new one about to be installed

They arrived today, so I prepared it all, ready for final assembly and replacing it on the roof!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Kids Robot

I recently promised my daughter we would make a robot together, one that could make drawings.

After searching for some inspiration, I found a really simple one, here, that could be easily built and that she could understand.

So here are my plans, most steps, if not all, can be make by the children with some assistance:

Materials: a battery holder, motor, switch, tie wraps, and a piece of wood; some basic tools are also needed. I have pre-drilled the wood with 6 small holes for the feet, and 4 larger holes for the motor mount, and pre-soldered long wires to all electric components, so that the child can connect them.

Kids: Cut 3 lengths of solid core wire, strip it, and bend it to fit the holes, see next picture:

Kids: Mount like this!

Kids: Mount the motor with the tie wraps. Mount a thin flexible tube on the motor. Here I used a bit of thermo retractable sleeve. On the tip of that you mount a tip of a pencil.

Kids: Also the battery holder.

Connect it all via the switch. I used a push button, but a regular ON-OFF is also fine! even better maybe would be a ON-OFF-ON to reverse the direction!

Here it is a better view!

It then got decorated with antennae and mouth :) The kids really enjoyed it!!!

The idea is that the vibration both draws and makes the robot move. Mine was a bit too heavy to move, but I'll work on that!

I'm already thinking of the next ones! slightly more complex!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

GoPro waterproof case power supply

Back quickly, and back to electronics! Or in this case, electrics!

The problem is well known: You have a GoPro camera and would like to power it beyond the battery life for e.g. some outdoor long time-lapse movie.

There are some external batteries available, and some projects that connect a USB cable through the case, but they either require a hole in the case to pass the cable, or involve some very thin conductors, which, do not damage the case, but do potentially compromise the water proofness of the case.

So here's what I've done:

Got a USB cable and stripped it to the connector, and trimmed the connector as to be able to put the camera with the cable back in the case:

Connected the 2 power wires to two of the buttons on the case, from the inside.

Since the buttons are metallic, all that is left is to connect the other end of the USB cable to the buttons on the outside! Lo and behold, you have power to the camera via the buttons, with no damage to either camera or case, and all it costs is the price of the USB cable, which you probably have lying around anyway!

Next step is to make a nice connector to put on the outside over the buttons, with all the wiring!