June 2015 73
REAL WORLD USES FOR THE ELECTRONICS EXPERIMENTER
fit tight, but others just wouldn’t go in. So, I
changed the design to add 0.005 to each hole.
The round slot for the rotary tool fit
reasonably well, but the bottom could
slide out the back. So, I added a
wall to the back of the slot to
hold the tool in place. I also
reduced the diameter a little
for a slightly better fit.
Another eight hours of
printing, and the design was
perfect. The form measured
out as expected and the holes
were now a perfect size. I had
used washable stick glue on the
heated bed to hold down the first
layer of plastic, so this had to be
washed off from the bottom. Getting that first layer to stick
is critical for any 3D print. Some people use blue painter’s
tape; some use hair spray; and some use Kapton tape, while
others just rely on the heated bed.
I printed my new tool rack in black ABS plastic, which
is the same plastic used to make LEGO blocks. The design
was printed at a 0.2 mm layer height and a 30% fill. This
is the density of the plastic inside. A 100% fill would be a
solid piece of plastic. I also had it printed with thick shells.
Shells are the outlines around any edge — such as the
holes and the outside walls. Thick shells on my Da Vinci
printer are three layers of solid plastic around every edge.
This gave it a strong structure around all the holes.
The base was plenty long
enough to balance the weight
of the rotary tool at the back.
Plus, when all the bits are
installed, it will have more
weight in the front.
The tray turned out great as
I could put a sharpening stone
inside for the drill bits and a few
round sanding disks. Overall, the
second print was perfect!
The last step was to install the bits and pieces.
This was actually more of a puzzle challenge than I
realized. Some of the bits had large diameter tops, while
others were just straight pieces. I arranged them as best I
could and placed them in a way that it was easy to grab
them. The stacking also allowed me to see everything right
in front of me without a big mess in my work area.
The tool now sits on my bench on the opposite side of
the soldering iron. I’ve used it to cut circuit board traces;
grind down sections of plastic on 3D prints; I’ve even used
it for plastic welding.
Having the rotary tool and all its bits easily accessible
and organized was a great addition to my workbench.
I doubt I could find anything designed perfectly for my
needs, even if I was willing to pay a lot for it. The amount
of plastic to build the unit cost about $5. So, between
the two versions I spent a total of $10. The first print was
actually still usable for other tools such as small screwdrivers
and drill bits, so that wasn’t a waste either.
Now, I have to pick the next tool to work on to help
clean up my bench. I think I’ll attack the soldering iron and
all its bits and pieces that seem to make a mess on that
side of my work area. NV
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n Figure2– SideView ofFinished Print.
Friction Welding with a Rotory Tool
I tried a technique where you put a small piece
of filament in the tool instead of a bit. The rotation
of the filament, when pressed against other plastic,
to melt the
you can use
plastic to weld