Makerspace Projects

Metal 3D Printing & Metal Machining

I recently attended a seminar on on 3D printing using a metal filament. The filament is a Product from BASF called Ultrafuse 17-4. It is a filament that contains actual stainless steel metal as well as a plastic used as a binder.

The filament will run on our Ultimaker S5 printer. Once the parts are printed they get shipped to New York to be processed by a method called sintering. This removes all of the binder and all that is left is the stainless steel.

I wanted to come up with a project that was worthy of the process involved. I designed a base that contains two helical gears, with a handle to rotate them and a pin system to hold everything in place. Helical gears cannot be machined on our Tormach, and usually requires a 5 axis CBC mill.

The Parts & Process:

  • Base – Aluminum T6060 – Machined both sides on the Tormach CNC 
  • Pins – Aluminum T6060 – Machined on the Tormach CNC
  • Pin Caps – Nylon – 3D Printed on the S5
  • Handle – Nylon – 3D Printed on the S5
  • Helical Gears – *Ultrafuse 17-4 – 3D Printed on the S5

*We are still waiting on the Ultrafuse to be completed, post will be updated when ready. Images show helical gears printed in black nylon.

BASF Helical Gears Project

Door Sign For Facilities Department

Ruby from the Facilities Department required a one off sign in the same format as an existing sign. The sign had 3d letters glued to a piece of plexiglass.

I first matched the font in Adobe illustrator, and then made a file with the numbers Ruby required. I then took the file to our Trotec laser and using a plastic sign material the letters were cut out.

I kept the negative part of the cut to use to line up the letters/numbers. Using Methyl Chloride and a syringe, the letters were then glued to the plexiglass.

Door Sign For Facilities Department

Tree Corer Caps Project
Scaling To Correct Sizes On 3D Prints

Andrew Egan from Geography and Geology department had a few instruments that had lost their end caps. The caps were machined aluminum and were necessary to stop a rod from falling out. Andrew ask if we could make something to replace them on the 3D printers. 

I suggested a nylon print on our Ultimaker S5 printer. I first had to find out the thread size, using my tap & die set I found out it was a pipe thread. I built the cap in Fusion 360 and gave it the correct threads. I first did a few test prints on our Tinkerine Ditto Pro printers using PLA. The thread size was coming out to large to fit the threaded rod.

I then went top the S5 to test using a sold infill and Nylon print. Same results the cap was to large for the threaded rod.

I recently have been working with a BASF metal filament, which has to be enlarged 20% in the X & Y, and 26% in the Z. This gave me an idea, maybe I could shrink the threads down in the X & Y. After a few tests I arrived at a 95% X & Y scale that produced the perfect fitting end cap.

Tree Corer Caps Project

Bernina Thread Holder Project

Our Bernina sewing machine does not have a holder for oversized spools of thread. We only have over sized spools of thread and they all have different size base shapes and openings. 

The thread also has to be fed to the Bernina machine above or parallel to the top of the machine.

The solution was a combination of laser cut plywood parts and 3d printed parts:

  • 3D printed cones for wider base spools (x2 )
  • 3D printed cylinders for narrow base spools (x2 )
  • a 3D printed spare cone/cylinder holder (clips onto top of wood assembly)
  • 3D printed bases to hold each type of spool holder (narrow or cone)(x2 )
  • Laser cut .25″ plywood T top cross bar for thread to feed through
  • Laser cut .25″ plywood upright shaft
  • Laser cut .5″ base


Thread Spool Holder

Software & Equipment 
Pen & Paper,  Adobe Illustrator, Autodesk Fusion 360, Ultimaker Cura.
Ultimaker S5 3d printer, Trotec Speedy 300 laser.

Real World Lamp Project

I decided to design a lamp to demonstrate how 3D printers can and are being used in the real world now. I am referring to actual;  products, jigs and molds being created by manufacturers to use in real products for the the market place. 

Unfortunately there is a world wide use of 3d printers to produce more and more junk. I wanted to create a project that would show how 3D printed parts can actually be used as components in real & useful products.

Quite often students make most of the parts on a 3D printer. While this is fine for prototyping, but it is rarely practical for a real world object or product. The lamp uses 3d printed components and laser cut materials to produce the final LED table/dresser lamp. Insert nuts are heat inserted into the ABS 3D printed components to allow fastening. As well wood insert nuts are used for the wood parts.

The final product can be created as a high intensity colour LED “mood” light or a reading light. I want students to learn the techniques I used to build this and also to inspire students to create their own projects.

All of the files are available for students, staff & faculty to build their own lap at the Langara Makerspace.

A YouTube animation & video of exploded view of lamp and the final lamp lit up…. Video >

A video of all of the components of the lamp and how to assemble them… Video >

Lit Up . Gallery
Design & Build The Lamp . Gallery
Fusion 360 & Illustrator . Gallery
Finished Lamp . Gallery

3D Potter Nozzle Caps

Our new 3D Potter 3D clay printer has a number of different nozzle diameters it can use.
When the Nozzle is on the printer and the tube is loaded with clay, we needed to somehow seal the nozzle when not using the printer.
Something so simple proved to be complicated. How to get it to stay on and how to seal it.

I finally came up with a PLA 3D printed cap that had a bolt that could be tightened to the nozzle.
I then printed a elastic cone for the inside of the cap, using our Form 2 Resin printers.

Always satisfying to complete a design that works.

High Speed Bobbin Winder

Our high speed bobbin winder came without an actual thread feeder. It also did not come with anyway to hold the spool of thread. I had been using a piece of copper wire and a block for the three feeder, but that proved disastrous at high speed. I decided to design a proper thread feeder, that would take-up the thread over the spool ad then deliver it over the actual bobbin. Due to it’s height it had to be printed on our Ultimaker S5. The base I cut out of 1/2″ plywood on our laser, that includes an angle block to hold the spool of thread. The results, it works great and avoids having to use the sewing machine’s archaic bobbin winders.

The Ultimate Blade Sharpener

This one came from Thingiverse… ( link > ) the ultimate blade sharpener. Thank you to Tom Jones of Techtomics for sharing the model. The sharpening block is designed to use 50mm strips of wet/dry paper or sandpaper for utimate flexibility and cost effectiveness when sharpening blades of different purposes and grades.

Reverse Engineering for a GPS Case

This exploratory project examines the possibilities and process of reverse engineering an existing object to design and output custom componentry.  A GPS device was digitized on our high resolution 3D scanner with the resulting point cloud imported into Rhino 3D software. A bespoke removable protective case was then carefully modelled over the scanner data with the resulting model divided into two halves – for better printing – output on our Ditto 3D printers, then glued back together with methelene chloride.

FA Workshop Sander Tool Holder

Will the coordinator from the Fine Arts workshop needed a tool holder for a sander. The three wrenches kept going missing so I wanted something that would clearly identify and hold each tool. I created a holder in a 3D program and printed it on the Tinkerine Ditto Pro. Added a bit of foam rubber to lock in the tools (they would be under vibration), and problem solved.

Trac-ball Holder & Wrist Pad

I needed a trac-ball to relieve my repetitive strain on my wrist. I decided the trac-ball required a holder and wrist pad area. I laser cut 1/8″ & 1/2″ plywood and then covered the wrist area in a closed cell foam and also a soft foam. The final cover was in leather. Note: I have to stain or paint the wood still. Used:
– Fusion360 – to model
– Illustrator- for final cut sheets
– Trotec Laser – to cut wood

Bandsaw Replacement Handle.

The bandsaw in our CNC room, had a broken lever to adjust the plate tension. An easy solution, build one in 3D a print it out. So fun!

Tinkerine Filament Transfer Spooler

We have to transfer PLA filament for the 3D printers from large rolls to the smaller Tinkerine rolls. The Tinkerine rolls have 1 hole to lock into to spin the loading roll. The spooler consists of supports, giant bolts, a crank and a tensioner to keep the filament taunt. The tensioner, crank and bolts are printed on the 3D printers. The wood supports and base were laser cut.

USB, SD & Tools Holders

To organize and keep the USB, SD cards and accessories handy we created a number of holders. Also a USB, clip on handle and ID.

Laser Air Vent Shutoff

With our two lasers sharing the exhaust system, we need to shut the vent off to the small laser when not operating.

I came up with this manual shut off system using hardware store fittings and some 3D parts I designed and printed. 

Odds & Ends

Fixing Problems…Some odds and ends. A. We required a special over-sized bracket to secure the shelf for our 3D printers.
B. My closets particle board doors bottoms and tops had disintegrated, leaving the spring loaded pins useless. The solution was to laser cut and screw in these wood panels.
C. My older laser printers paper flap snapped. Because it is under tension, glue would not repair it. A quick drawing and a quick print, problem solved.