Entries in Category Engineering and Inventions

Yet Another Macro-Photography Light Tent

Regular followers of this blog or of my flickr account perhaps noticed an enormous improvment in the quality of my macro photos about a year ago; at the time I put together a primitive light tent using foamcore and tissue paper. Although the photographic results of this project were all I could hope for, the tent itself was extremely fragile, awkward to set up, and likely to collapse while shooting. So I took what I learned from my first effort and built an improved tent with a PVC-pipe frame and a bedsheet light diffuser.

More Building Blocks for 3D Printing

I've added two new types of components to my toolkit of 3D printed machine parts: a snap-fit pivot or hinge, and a dovetail suitable for joining two parts together at a right angle.

Printed Screw Demonstration Video

I've made a video of my 3D-printed bolt and nut combination, showing the action of threading it on and off.

Printing a Refrigerator Rail Clip Replacement

Although most of my novice experiments in 3D-printing have been just that, experiments intended to familiarize myself with the technology and its benefits and limitations, I have already had the opportunity to design and print something actually useful. Like most refrigerators, mine has storage areas on the door where items are secured by a removable or adjustable rail, keeping the mustard from flying when you yank the door open. These rails are hollow aluminum sections that accept plastic friction-fitted end caps, which in turn have hooks that engage slots on the door. One of the hooks broke off and naturally fell inside the door, so fixing it with glue was out of the question.

Original right-hand end cap with missing hook, next to intact left-hand end cap

3D-Printed Screw Threads

I've been playing with a 3d printer lately, specifically a Solidoodle machine that deposits ABS plastic filament. As part of a larger project I've been designing various mechanical parts, challenging myself to do without support structures and keeping manual finishing steps to a minimum. One of the things I've tried to make is an entirely printed, functional screw thread, for both male and female parts. The result is the nut and bolt combination documented here.

As for the larger project, I'll publish more about that here soon, so keep visiting!

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