Building a Simple Cabinet

The corner of my basement is where I store all of my networking hardware, which manages the Internet coming into my home. But that area is disorganized and wastes space that could be used for storage. So I built a cabinet of shelves out of plywood to fix those problems.

Watch the video to learn how I built the cabinet using only a circular saw, drill, impact driver, and a hammer!

Light-Up Printed Decoration with LEDs and Acrylic

I know it’s been a while since I’ve put up a new video, but life was hectic for a few weeks. But I have been working on a new project! For part of that project, I will use 3D printing, acrylic, and LEDs, so I wanted to experiment with using those materials in a smaller project. So I made a small light-up decoration using my 3D printer, acrylic, and LEDs.

Continue reading “Light-Up Printed Decoration with LEDs and Acrylic”

Making a Picture Frame Using a Router

After building an inexpensive router table and recently upgrading the base to a cabinet, I decided to use my router table to make a picture frame. In my latest video, I show you how I made a picture frame for a 5×7 picture of Chicago I took a few years ago.

I bought some nice 1×2 pine boards and thin acrylic from Home Depot as the material for the frames. I used my circular saw to cut the pieces of the wood to the correct size with a 45 degree angle. The outside edges of the frame will measure 9.5″ by 7.5″.

I shaped the pieces using my router and some decorative router bits I bought as a set.  I also used a 3/8″ rabbeting bit to add a rabbet to the back for the acrylic, picture, and backing to sit.

I glued together the routed pieces and then painted the frame black. After putting it all together with the picture, acrylic, foam core backing, and glazing points, my picture frame was ready to hang on the wall!

This was a fun, easy project that helped me get more comfortable using my router table. I learned that I should have routed the wood before I cut the pieces, because it would have made the routing easier and more accurate. But the frame still turned out very nicely, so I am happy with the result.

For more information about how I built the picture frame, watch the video above and let me know what you think in the comments here or on YouTube!

Building a Router Table Cabinet

A few months ago, I showed you how I built a cheap, inexpensive router table using plywood, 2×4 lumber, and acrylic. In my latest project, I replaced the simple 2×4 base of my router table with a plywood cabinet, without using a table saw!

Nearly the entire cabinet is made from 1/2-inch plywood, and most of the plywood is cabinet-grade red oak. The exception is the bottom, which is a lower grade 1/2-inch plywood (the same plywood I used to make the shelves of my workbench).  And I also used some pieces of solid red oak for the lips of the shelves and as supports for the shelves inside the cabinet.

Since I don’t own a table saw, I used my circular saw to cut all of the plywood. To get straight, accurate cuts, I ran the saw against a straight-edge for all cuts. I carefully measured the position of the straight-edge and used clamps to make sure the straight-edge stayed in place.

There are still a few more features I eventually want to add to the router table. First, I want to add drawers to the empty space at the bottom of the cabinet. Second, I want to add a dust port to the back of the cabinet, so I can connect my shop-vac to the cabinet while I’m using it as a router. And third, I want to add cabinet doors to the shelf areas of the cabinet. It would have been nice to add all of those features during this project, but I spent more time than I expected just making the cabinet, so I am happy stopping for now without those extra features.

To learn more about how I built the cabinet, watch the YouTube video!

Homemade 3D Scanner Turntable

In my latest project, my goal was to build a motorized turntable that I could use with 3D scanning software to scan a small object into a 3D model. My initial plan was to use my Xbox 360 Kinect sensor and, but I eventually realized that the Kinect scanner is not designed for small objects. In the final design, I used my homemade motorized turntable, my camera, and Autodesk Remake to convert the still images into a 3D model.

Watch my YouTube video for the full details:

If you want to build your own, you will need the following materials: Continue reading “Homemade 3D Scanner Turntable”

Modeling and Printing a Brain Slug from Futurama

Now that I’m feeling more comfortable with my 3D printer and I even designed some of my own files to print using Autodesk Fusion 360, I decided to try something a little more challenging: modeling and printing something more organic looking.

Fortunately, my wife gave me a Wacom Intuos 3D tablet for Christmas, which comes with ZBrushCore. ZBrushCore provides some of the same functionality as the powerful ZBrush modeling program that lets you sculpt your object, in a manner similar to modeling clay in the real world. This kind of modeling is perfect if you’re making something that is supposed to look organic. Continue reading “Modeling and Printing a Brain Slug from Futurama”

3D Printing Malcolm Reynolds’ Pistol from Firefly

(Looking for the STL files? Jump to the bottom of the post for the direct download link.)

I have been enjoying my new 3D printer, but I grew bored of printing 3D models I downloaded from the Internet. So I decided to create my own!

3D printed prop of Malcolm Reynolds' pistol from Firefly (Moses Brother Self-Defense Engine). Click to view full-size image.
3D printed prop of Malcolm Reynolds’ pistol from Firefly (Moses Brother Self-Defense Engine). Click to view full-size image.

Luckily, Bill Doran from the YouTube channel “Punished Props” recently released a video that shows how to make Malcolm Reynolds’ pistol from the TV series Firefly. And he graciously gave away the 2D template files to his viewers and encouraged us to make our own version.

So I decided that this was an excellent opportunity to create my own 3D models and try out Fusion 360 for the first time. I installed Fusion 360 a few months ago, but I haven’t had a reason to use it yet. Watch the video below to see how I made it!

And if you want to print your own version, you can download my STL files. If you make your own version, post a comment here or on my YouTube video so I can see how it looks!


YouTube – 3 Tips for the Prusa i3 MK2

I decided to try something completely new recently: I created a YouTube channel! So far, I have a few videos showing my new foray into the maker movement. My latest video, which was just released, gives tips for anyone new to 3D printing or with a new Prusa i3 MK2.

I recently received my new Prusa 3D printer, which is the first 3D printer I have ever owned! With my history with 3D modeling, animation, and electronics, I thought this was a great next step. And it has been a lot of fun!

But the first few days with my new 3D printer were a bit troublesome, because I ran into some basic problems that were caused by a lack of knowledge. So I wanted to share some of what I learned, in the hopes that it saves other people time and frustration with their 3D printers.

Continue reading “YouTube – 3 Tips for the Prusa i3 MK2”