Tool holders

Since I first got my 3D printer back in 2014, I’ve been designing and 3D printing various tool holders for the pegboards in my workshop. I’ve uploaded the 3D models for free so that people can print their own, and so far they’ve been downloaded more than 1500 times. It’s nice to know that things you originally designed just for your own use can be of help for other people as well.

A selection:

Bit holder, shown here with chamfer, deburring, phillips, pozidriv, slot, hex and torx bits. This is used very often.

Screwdriver holder. This was the first pegboard tool holder I designed, and is the one I use the most. That funnel shape is really helpful when you’re in a hurry.

Tool hangers, in a variety of shapes and sizes. Good for placing tools where there is a free spot.

Scalpel holder. I use scalpels all the time when cleaning up 3D prints. With this I always have them at the ready, and I never have to worry about where I put those sharp, pointy things. If they are not in my hands, they are in the holders.

Multimeter holder. Was frequently used before I upgraded to a larger multimeter.

Power strip holder. I made this recently, and it really helped clean up the cable situation in the workshop.

Though originally made for pegboards, all of these holders can of course be mounted directly on a wall, a plywood board or anywhere else you can fasten screws on.

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Nu.

I got a new tattoo last summer. Nu means Now in Swedish.

Four reasons why I did this:

  1. To not live in the past; I can’t change things that happened half a lifetime ago.
  2. To not postpone things that I can do right now.
  3. To remember that it’s the only time I’m actually alive.
  4. To always have an answer when people ask what time it is.

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The Yarn Bowl

Last year I was asked to make a bowl for holding yarn while knitting. Something to hold the thread in place would also be good. I designed a bowl with a rim that ended in two curly horns that one could easily pull a thread through, simply by pulling it to the side and up


To give the bowl some weight I glued a stack of hard drive platters to the bottom, making it the exact same diameter to match.

I also added the nickname of the recipient to the outside of the bowl in raised letters, made as in one continuous thread (except the dot over the i).


If you want to 3D print one yourself, I’ve made the model (without the name) available for free here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1312595

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The China Boxes

For Christmas 2016, I decided to go big and invite my parents to join me and my wife on a trip to Xi’an, China – flight and hotel included. Such a gift can of course not be delivered in a plain envelope, so I started to design and make two custom boxes that would hold the invitation letters.

I based the design on a jewelry box I had previously designed, but almost every detail was refined and improved. I also incorporated metal feet and corners into the design, adding spacers to ensure that no nails would protruded through the lid and reinforcing the bottom to support the feet fasteners.

I 3D printed the boxes using a material that looks and feels like somewhere between wood and clay. Due to under-extrusion when printing, the intricate patterns I designed on the inside of the boxes got a distinct texture in what I would call a happy accident.
On the inside of the lids, I also added my parent’s names, painting them black in an attempt to resemble Chinese calligraphy.

The nails for the feet and top corners were not hammered in, but melted in place using a wood burning iron, pliers and a good deal of patience.

The cores of the hinges were made using a clear PETG filament, slightly heated and flattened at the ends.

To top it off, I printed two miniature terracotta warriors that I found online here and here, in preparation for the full-size versions we will see when we get to the 8000 man large terracotta army in Xi’an.

Time to design, print, clean up and assemble: Just over 100 hours.

 

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Signs

The last few months, I’ve been designing, 3D printing and giving away door signs to friends and family. I’d like to share some of them.

It started when I made one for myself and my wife:

This was made using a plastic filament containing 35% real powdered wood. There are some really cool things you can do with this; sanding, drilling and staining will work with about the same properties as real wood. Since wood will change color when getting closer to burning temperature, I was able to develop a method for simulating natural wood grain – by randomly changing the temperature between the individual print layers, spanning a total range of about 30 degrees (C). This had to be done in waves, so that there would not be more than a 3 degree difference between two intermediate layers; If the printer is not able to get close to the target temperature within a certain time, a security feature in the printer firmware can abort the print and shut down the printer. This is because a large temperature difference between the measured and target temperatures could indicate that either the heater element or the thermistor have come loose; the automatic shutdown kicks in to prevent potential fire hazards.

The printout took about 40 hours, but in hindsight I wish that I would printed it even slower. Printing too fast often causes ghost effects around details, called “ringing”. This happens when the print head makes a sudden direction change and the inertia of the head causes vibrations that show up in the print. Unfortunately, I was not able to get rid of these effects even with sanding from 120 up to 800 grit sand paper. Aside from sanding, I enhanced the letter details with scalpel, dentist’s tools and small diamond files. But I wanted to accentuate the letters even more, and went with a few layers of dark mahogany wood stain. After drying, I sanded the entire sign again to remove the staining on everything but the debossed letters. Lastly, I finished the sign off with two layers of polyurethane to give it some surface protection and a glossy finish. I was worried that this would take away from the wood look, but it turned out pretty good. Perhaps a bit to much yellow, but good enough for an apartment door.


Next was a door sign for our friends who just got engaged. This was still being printed while they were visiting, so I didn’t have time to do a photo shoot before they brought it home – hence the CAD rendering. The outermost frame was based on a free vector graphic that I found here, but I had to remake it quite a bit to make it work.

After that, I designed a couple of things for my brother. He collects and restores vintage drums, so I made a sign for his workshop along with a personalized, fully functioning drum tuning key. I tried to make the font as close as possible to the one in his favorite drum brand, DW Drums.


I also made him a small wooden sign using a literal translation of his name, with integrated magnets to put on a steel door or locker.

Finally, a door sign for the his family. The metal corners were fastened them by pushing the nails in using a wood burning iron. The iron heated up the nails, the nails melted the surrounding plastic, and when cooled the plastic solidified around the nails. I opted on only using nails on the short side of the metal brackets to avoid having to cut them down from the back side.


I used the same type of corners on a door sign to my sister-in-law, who also got engaged recently. This time I went larger, and played around with putting part of the text outside of the rectangular base shape. I also made the sign thicker and integrated four magnets directly into the backside of the sign, so that it can be easily fastened on their (steel) apartment door. Or the fridge, if they prefer. I used the same method to fasten the corners as before, but this time cut the nails in half and inserted them from the front of the sign.

I’ve done a number of other signs as well, but those have mostly been variants of the ones shown in this post. These are the essentials from the last

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