Archive for November, 2010

Quick Projects – Building Stock Storage Shelving

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

I don't often document the myriad of little projects I do, mainly because I don't see them as anything special.  These quick projects are generally me throwing something together because I need something immediately and I generally don't put a ton of thought into them, I just sit down and do them.  I figure I should probably get in the habit of documenting things so I'm starting to go back and take the time to post some of the smaller projects that I've done or am working on.  One such example is my stock storage shelves, which I'm covering in this post.

When I got a laser cutter I needed something to store all my laserable materials in so I hurriedly built some simple stock storage shelves.  They're cheap, easy to build and modify, and each can be constructed from a single 4'x8' sheet of material.  Thickness shouldn't be too important unless you plan on stacking them more than 2 units high, but I wouldn't plan on using anything less than 1/2" with the construction method I used on these.  For reference unit on top in the above  pictured is constructed from a sheet of 1/2" thick MDF and the one below it is constructed from a sheet of 5/8" MDF.

Here's a list of what you'll need to build one:

  • A single 4'x8' sheet of MDF at least 1/2" thick
  • 48-60 1-1/2" #8 wood screws (like these)
  • An electric drill/screwdriver
  • A small diameter drill bit and counter-sink (I used a combo bit and sink)
  • Some 90-degree corner clamps (like these)
  • Something to cut the MDF sheet (optional if you can get the place you get the MDF at to cut it down for you)
  • Optional - Something to back the shelf (I used a sheet of 1/4" MFD cut to fit the back)
  • Optional - Additional structural reinforcement (I didn't add any but you may want to add flat brackets or L-Brackets for you specific application)

Here's a quick sketch of the cuts you'll need to make (units are inches):

All the dividers are 18"x24" (6 total) and the top/bottom are 39"x24".  Why 39" wide?  3.25 feet is close to the maximum width I could make them and still fit the pre-cut parts into my trunk easily.  Construction is pretty simple, just box things up using the corner clamps to hold everything in place and join each edge with 4-5 countersunk screws.  You can space the dividers out any way you want for your particular application.   You can do a number of things to make this sturdier overall as well, including adding bracketing or a thick backing, either by using pieces of one of the dividers at the corners or by cutting an additional piece of MDF to fit across the back.  I added a sheet of 1/4" MDF to the back of both of my shelves to prevent stuff from falling out the back and to make them look a bit nicer.

I'll probably need to build another one in the coming months and I'll try to take pictures of the construction this time!

PE00001 Back Online!

Monday, November 15th, 2010

While demoing my Cupcake CNC bot a while back, the extruder succumbed to plastic build up at the interface of the PTFE and the heater barrel.  Not soon after I tore the extruder hot end apart Makerbot Industries released the second version of the heated build platform, and later teh MK5 hot end.   I snatched up both upgrades but haven't had time to retrofit my bot until last weekend.  After some rewiring, soldering, moving and remounting of various electronics, and some assembly of various mechanical bits, I had a working Makerbot once again!

I was surprised that the first print actually finished up fine.  OK, I did help it along a bit by raising the Z axis a bit while building because it was putting out way too much plastic, but it did finish a 1 hour print successfully on the first attempt.  I've been using a Paxtruder design for a while, so I've got a good idea of how to tune the filament pressure, which probably helped a bit as well.  I'm loving the new hot end so far.  I've been able to speed up my feed rate by %30 without running into any issues, and I've had good luck going raftless for the most part.  These two things combined have halved the print times of some of my prints, which is awesome.  I'm still tuning things but my initial impressions are very favorable, and it looks like the new setup will be considerably more reliable.

On a side note, one tool I found useful for dealing with the heated build platform is my Cricut spatula.  It's inexpensive, small and easy to use, good for scraping objects off the platform without getting me burned, and you can use it to smash down traces of plastic that lift of the build platform in the early stages of the print.  I'm hoping that after some tuning I won't be using it to be saving prints as much in the future.