Christmas Lights 2019

My large scrolling display has been re purposed into the Christmas lights for this year (as was always the plan). I spent a little bit of time programming some new light patterns and finally implementing the code that lets me import bitmaps into the display. The images are converted to byte array using one of the many conversion programs, I'd quite like to be able to read images directly off an SD card next.

Ender 2 Light Upgrade

I may be getting old or it might just be the combination of black PLA in a dark area but I found it really hard to see the prints as they were coming off the machine. As the printer is new and I haven't done a lot of prints before it's still a novelty that I want to see so I fixed up some LED lighting under the printer head to illuminate the print. I used two sections from a 12V warm white LED strip, I could have patched it directly into the 12V for the head fan but one of the future improvements would be an additional cooling fan to go onto the head, so I took the opportunity to run another 12V line through the conduit. This power supply is tapped straight from the PSU but I'll be looking to add an inline switch once I get the extra fans.

Ender 2 Screen Upgrade

The screen on the Ender 2 is flat in the electronics box, it's a bit hard to see what's on it when you're not close to it. The next upgrade I chose to implement is this replacement screen mount, again though it was an 11 hour print so another 30 mins drawing and 2 mins laser cutting and I had a nice wooden replacement instead. The unit is fixed to the existing box using the screen mounting holes, the whole screen has to be brought quite a bit further forwards to ensure that it doesn't clash with the X axis when it homes. (svg here

Ender 2 Tool Tray

One of the early upgrades I found for the Ender 2 was this little tool tray that sits in a gap between the controller and the y axis. I downloaded it and plugged it into Cura and after slicing it told me it was going to take 8 hours to 3D print. As with most of these things I redrew it in 2D, lasercut the parts from sheet materials and assembled it. The whole thing took 30 mins from start to finish, the laser cutting part was less than 1 minute. 8 hours vs 1 minute is a massive difference. (svg here

Creality Ender 2 3D Printer

Way back in March when my 2nd kickstarter was fully funded and I had a bank account full of money I was directed towards a 3D printer deal that was just too good to pass up. For £100 you could purchase the all metal Creality Ender 2 printer (still available for <£100 from aliexpress). Instead of being a kit this machine only needed minor assembly to make it all functional, I figured I would get it up and running once I had completed fulfilment. 

The Ender 2 has a few known issues, the cantilever style arm is prone to droop and the threaded rod for the Z axis is off vertical. The later leads to some issues with printing larger items and one of the first recommended prints is to create a bracket shim for the stepper motor to bring it all back to vertical. With my machine this angle was so pronounced that the thread jammed and the stepper wasn't able to move the Z axis. This left me unable to 3D print a new shim and the whole printer basically spent 6 months on the bench waiting …

Cinderella Carriage Cake

It's Panto season and like previous panto seasons it wouldn't feel right without at least one crazy rushed cake contraption. This year the Theatre Royal are putting on Cinderella so Dawn decided to make a fancy carriage cake for them. Once I have designed a frame strong enough to hold a massive chunk of cake it only felt right to fit bearings into the wheels and have the cake able to roll along the table.

Headphone hangers

We're a family of runners (which will always feel a bit weird to say). I've run 3 marathons, 50+ half marathons, 2 triathlons and a half iron man so far, 1000 miles last year but I still feel like a desk based geek. Recently the kids, Hazel 6 and Eli 9, stormed through the NHS couch to 5km program and are technically runners too. So now we have 4 sets of headphones dumped in a bowl in the hallway, whenever I want to get my headphones out I end up spending ages untangling them from the mess. I own a laser cutter so this should not be the case.
Four simple hooks, made from 6mm Poplar ply, it took 2 minutes to draw and a minute to cut. The whole thing is glued to the cabinet that was already above the pot. These items are some of my absolute favourites from all of my laser cuttings. Simple designs that make daily life so much nicer, I honestly don't know why it took me 3 months to think of this.