A few months ago I showed off some of the things I’d made with our Ender 3. Going by the response we got that was quite popular, so I thought it was time to show off some more things I’ve 3D printed. A couple are simple; a couple of others were quite a challenge to make. I learned a few things along the way, and I had some useful new stuff at the end of the process!
I don’t have the biggest office in the world, and flat surfaces are at a premium. Unfortunately I need to have a flatbed scanner, and they take up a fair chunk of desk space. I considered replacing my perfectly functional scanner with a new one that costs £70 but comes with a stand so you can mount it vertically, but then decided to see if my 3D printer could solve the problem more cheaply.
I also have a laser printer in my office, but obviously the scanner couldn’t go on top of that because how would print jobs come out? However, what if I could raise the scanner far enough that the printer could work normally? I designed and printed a couple of end frames, which each have two sockets inside. I could have connected them with dowel or bits of scrap tube, but I decided to try printing a pair of connecting struts too. Then I just used the struts to join the frames together – I only used two struts so I could keep the printer’s paper path clear – and mounted the whole thing on the printer with a couple of bits of Gorilla tape. Some more tape on top holds the scanner in place, easily accessible and not cluttering up my desk.
My living room curtains hang from an Ikea curtain rod, which is fine – it’s just a metal pole, after all – but the brackets that came with it are just bent steel strips. They’re flimsy, bend constantly, hold the curtains too far from the wall so a draught gets round the edges, and look a bit naff. So I decided to replace them with something more practical.
After a bit of measuring I came up with a design that uses the same holes as the original brackets (so no drilling required), keeps the curtains closer to the wall, and is perfectly sized so the curtain rod snaps securely into the top. I printed off three, then ten minutes with a screwdriver had them in place.
I vape, so I always carry some spare 18650 batteries with me. Carrying these loose in your pocket is a really bad idea, though; if keys or loose change short them they tend to catch fire quite spectacularly, which is not good when it happens three inches from your naughty bits. So I downloaded a box from Thingiverse and printed a couple. It holds four batteries securely, and has a sliding top. I did find the batteries rattled slightly, but I just cut four small pieces of foam and glued them to the bottom of the battery holes.
I recently decided that seeing as I live in the Yorkshire Dales it was probably time I started hillwalking again, so I’ve been collecting the necessary gear. It turns out that unlike my last trips up the hills in the 1990s I can’t get away with just carrying a Mini Maglite and one spare AA battery; various other things need AA batteries too, for example my GPS. So, back to Thingiverse for another box:
The lid on this is a very tight fit – so tight I have to lever it off with a knife. On the other hand it’s also so tight it has a waterproof seal, so that works out.
One of the bits of camping gear I picked up is a portable water filter. This is quite a clever little thing; you can use it as a filter straw, or you can plug it into a hose connected to a bag of water and hang it up. The mouthpiece at the end of the filter can be unscrewed, leaving you with an opening which, cleverly, is threaded to take a standard plastic soft drink bottle. So you can just screw in a bottle and leave it to fill up while you do other things. Unfortunately, I don’t carry my water in standard plastic soft drink bottles; I have a couple of spiffy aluminium bottles that use completely different caps.
Yet again, though, 3D printing came to the rescue. This project was a real challenge, but eventually I found a printable model of the top end of a standard plastic bottle – if you’re interested, which you probably aren’t, the specification is PCO-1881. I imported that into FreeCAD and added an extension to the bottom which is just very slightly larger than the internal diameter of my water bottles’ openings – close enough that when I screwed it in the bottle cut its own threads in the PLA. Finally I added a knurled ring, also from Thingiverse, to make it easier to unscrew with cold, wet hands. Now all I have to do is screw the adapter into the neck of a water bottle, and then into the end of the filter.
Although it’s small, this is probably the thing I’ve had most trouble designing so far. It’s the first time I’ve mixed finished STL files with my own parts in FreeCAD, so there were a couple of little hiccups, but I got there in the end!
I’ve made quite a few other things too, but most of them are variations on stuff I talked about last time – a mount for a second lamp, for example, which is just the first lamp mount I made except designed to fit over the edge of my desk rather than being screwed to a post. I’ve made a new webcam bracket that fits on my new monitors, and a few other tweaks and upgrades. I’ve tried to share the projects I found most interesting; let us know what you think!