A little carpentry never hurt anyone.

The wife wanted a shelf on the counter top for spices and such. And while I was at it could I remove the Lousy Susans and put a shelf there too?

Sure! Why not. Doesn’t have to be fancy and doesn’t have to impress anybody. I can do that.

DSC03287 Problem number 1 (Lot’s more where they came from)

DSC03288 Problem number 2 (stuff always falling off and jamming the carousels)


DSC03290 DSC03289 Always good to have a plan. Grid Paper
Not that I’ll use it much.

I’ve got my dimensions and have a solution. Time to get wood and go to PaxSpace!


DSC03291 I purchase some cheap pine at Lowe’s. Could have bought red oak, which would match the cabinets, but at $50+ per board? No thanks. Could have sawn some red oak in the back 40, but would have to wait 6 months or more for it to dry. Wife won’t wait that long. So, cheap pine it is.

DSC03292 I got my first pieces cut. Jim Shelton (former President of PaxSpace) walked over and asked perplexed “You cut that with a hand saw?” (notice the table saw in the background?)

Yes, Jim I did. Why? Because I can! It helps to keep rust from building up on my trusty Craftsman handsaw.


DSC03293 So I don’t forget. It helps to know this.


I made my marks for my dado to give a little more strength to the shelf.



DSC03295 I was going to hand saw and chisel the dado, but I forgot my chisel. I’m on a tight time frame here! (not really) So, adjust the table saw to correct depth. 1/4″ looks about right.


DSC03296 A bunch of passes over the saw blade yielded this.

DSC03297 And then this.


DSC03298 DSC03299 My first shelf built.


DSC03300 So the next shelf needed two short legs.
I cheated and used the 12″ band saw to cut the legs (because I can)
and I’ll hand saw for the final big length cut.


DSC03301  I have a set of drill/countersink bits for several size wood screws. Of course when I want to countersink the holes to do this project I couldn’t find the right one . While I was at Lowe’s I was going to buy another bit or even a kit like last time. I have at least 5 of everything (no, really), but am lucky to find one when I need it. Lo and behold Lowe’s didn’t have any! BUT, they did have a nice HSS(High Speed Steel) counter sink set !

DSC03307 These are designed for counter sinking into metal.
I have a lathe. I have a mill.
I could put these to good use down the road. And I can use them for wood too!


DSC03302 Second shelf done.

From the time the wife said “I want” to the time I took them home from PaxSpace: less than 3 hours.


DSC03303 DSC03304 Wife cleaned out the cabinet and I removed the Lousy Susans and it’s ready for the shelf.


First shelf set on the counter. Wife likes it, but could I recess it back further? Forgot about the granite back splash.


DSC03305 Back to PaxSpace (because I can). Mark once.

DSC03306 I cut once. Let’s hope it’s right.


DSC03308 Don’t forget to clean up! Housekeeping. It’s not just for maids any more.


Back to the house I go and…


DSC03334 That looks better.

   DSC03335  And that makes her happy as well. Then we can all be happy!

Now about those bird houses the kids wanted to make…

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A NEWBie perspective to building a 3D Printer

I’m a noob to several things. I just joined the PaxSpace in mid-August. Never even heard of a Makerspace until a few days earlier when my wife mentioned PaxSpace. I know she just wanted me out of the house. I’m OK with that.

Then I became a noob to Arduino, Raspberry PI, and 3D printers! KEWL! Don’t know what they are? Then you are a candidate for joining PaxSpace!

This will be a drawn out rambling of what it takes and what it’s like to build a 3D printer kit from MakerFarm.

Prusa 10" i3v Kit (V-Slot Extrusion)

I spent countless hours looking into 3D printers and why it would be nice to work with one. I was very impressed with the Printrbot Simple workhorse that PaxSpace was using daily to print PLA parts and looked at the 6″ metal version as I thought I’d like to print ABS, Nylon, and other higher temp filaments in addition to PLA. When all was said and done it was decided that the larger 10″ Prusa i3v would be a good fit with the other printers in the Space.

A Prusa i3v showed up around mid-November very neatly packaged and professional looking. I opened everything up and found that none of the guide wheels were in the box! Bummer. I immediately contacted Colin at MakerFarm and was told the parts were on their way! There are 2 versions of the kits shipping: a dual guide V wheel (similar to what is on the CNC Router at the Space) and a new improved solid wheel. I believe the new version will be in all future shipments, but the instructions show the older style.

So, while we are waiting for the wheels I’ll bring you up to speed about my qualifications to build this beast. I am a Jack of All Trades and actually am a master at some. I have a fairly extensive woodworking, metalworking, welding, and fabricating shop at home. Why would I want to be at PaxSpace? Meet new people (I’m told I’m a recluse) and it’s cleaner than my shop! Also, I like that there are more electronics/computer based spaces available as my shop is a dirtier environment and not great for electronics. I’m handy with soldering and meticulous about doing things right, so even though I’m a noob to the field I feel I can tackle it. That said I think anyone with basic hand tool skills and minimal soldering could build their own printer as well.

Hey! The new improved guide wheels showed up about 4 days later.

While waiting I built every sub-assembly I could. MakerFarm has a very good tutorial with videos to help in building every sub-assembly all the way to completion as well as setting up the printer.


Xaxis_assembly1 This is part of the X axis assembly. There is a left and right side that are similar in shape. This one has the stepper motor attachment. The black donuts were part of what was missing. My replacement came pre-assembled.
Wasn’t that nice.


Concentric_nut This is a concentric nut and it is used to help align and tighten the X axis assembly to the guide rails.
It’s pretty important as we will find out later.
There is a quiz at the end. Be sure to be taking notes and studying.


Xaxis_carriage I’m not going to bore you with every detail, but as you can see here the parts are
laser cut and fit perfectly together. Easier than a jigsaw puzzle!


CompleteXaxis These are all the parts for the X axis ready to mount to the rails.

CompleteXaxis1 You can barely see the 2 guide wheels at the bottom of the pic on the middle assembly. You can also see one wheel on the left and right assembly. The picture is upside down to direction of travel, but the middle piece will have the extruder and move right to left to right and everything you see in the pic will ride on vertical rails on each side and move up-down-up on the Z axis.

So, everything went together relatively easy and all you need for most of the build is the supplied allen and open end wrenches. I did need one wrench not supplied to check the tightness of the extruder.

Bedassembly This is the bed assembly ready to mount to the guide rails. See the two guide wheels?
There are two on each side and two are fitted with those concentric nuts.
Remember them? Quiz coming.


Almostdone Almost done! So, the bed is under the hand. The extruder will fit on the U shaped plate under thumb. The stepper motor will control Y axis and will move the extruder left-right-left as you face the printer. There’s those guide wheels again. There are two in particular. The one you see right next to the stepper motor and there is one on the far right side which you can see. When you mount the assembly you turn the concentric nuts and they will tighten up to the rail so all the wheels are making contact and you won’t have any sloppiness in movement. Sloppy equals inaccurate prints. Don’t want that.

In the instructions and video tutorials it states you want to tighten the bolts, screws, wheels, etc. How tight? That is where trouble may come up. Snug I think would be a better word to use. I can tighten pretty tight. Too tight as it is later found out. The concentric are made to fit tightly in the pre-drilled hole of the wood and can be turned with the included wrench to adjust the alignment. IF you tighten them too much the nut will dig into the wood and with the proper amount of excessive fiddling will cause the guide to NOT be perpendicular to the wood any more. What’s that mean? It means I broke it, that’s what it means. Broke it in the sense that no amount of adjustment would align it properly.


No problem. Will cut two new pieces today.

removethispartThree days later I had my parts and had to tear all the horizontal rails and parts attached off and
apart to replace the offending guide wheel concentric nuts.

Once I got past that debacle everything smoothed out for a while. I have access to another 3D printer so I made some standoffs for the RAMPS circuit board. Designed and printed an 80mm fan mount to cool the RAMPS, just in case.

Everything was plugged in, hooked up, and ready to try.

Started by setting the limit switches so it didn’t try to ride off the rails. Check axis for max travel and Z axis had an issue. The right side was going higher and higher, but the left side only went about 2 inches and stopped cold. It was racked about an inch before I turned it off. What gives? Well, it seems that stepper motors that are designed to move with its assembly can’t move if someone fastens the wires underneath the base which of course doesn’t let the wires move that are attached to the stepper!!

DSC03196 The wires prefer not to be under the frame.

I said I was qualified. Didn’t say I was smart.

One more quick fix and all was good again. Time for a test print! The Prusa comes with a LCD controller and SD card slot. This allows you to print without being connected to the computer. Can be be a good thing and a bad thing. Depends on your current needs.

So turned it all on and was playing with the LCD and after about 10 minutes the screen goes all squirrelly. Can’t read a thing. Colin? Yeah, that happens sometimes. Not the answer I’m looking for. How do you change a setting if you can’t read it?


Colin gave me some ideas from other users and I did some searching. It seems swapping cables might help. Adding aluminum foil shielding might help.

I’m an electrician so grounding could help. I did all of those things,,,and it DID help! LCD has worked flawless in standalone mode. Now, when using the computer software, that’s another story. I believe it’s a communication problem, but fortunately for now I don’t need the LCD if using the computer and the LCD is fine when used by itself.

Get everything aligned and did my first Qbert staircase in PLA. Looked pretty good. Tried tweaking a few settings and printed another. Looked even better!

Was printing on blue tape as everyone at the space seems to use it for PLA and ABS. My PLA prints were sticking so well that I would rip the tape off the bed before the print would release. Taping the bed for each print gets old real quick. Started trying ABS on the bare glass with Elmers purple glue stick. Read it was better than hairspray. Prints stayed down with no curling and came off with moderate effort. Tried letting the bed cool completely down and the ABS almost pops off by itself now. Success!

DSC03192 Wiring management is a challenge.


Printing a tiny 5mm cube with a 2mm hole in it.


Started on an enclosure for the printer to keep dirt out and temperature steady for improved printing. At least that is what I believe.

The base.

The top.

I’ve been printing off and on for the last 2-3 weeks now and most of the prints have turned out very well. The only time I get a bad print is do to my need in trying to do something else while printing and it goofs the software up. Totally my bad.

I’ve tweaked a few settings here and there, but overall the Prusa i3v works great out of the box.
Figuratively speaking as it was a box of parts.

That’s about it for now. Hope you enjoyed the rambling.

Oh! The quiz. I’ll just give you the answer.

If it ain’t broke, you’re not trying hard enough.

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