Dimensional Print Studio


IMG 3536An excellent use / application of 3D plastic printing is creating replacements for small damaged OEM plastic components.

I have an expensive Kerr Ultra Waxer 2 machine that is an electrically heated hand-held wax carving pen tool. It is used to sculpt wax in model and jewelry making. This is the base unit and services two pens. The empty holes in the top are for storing various shaped tool tips. 

On each side are brackets for placing the hot pen when switching between pens. The brackets are held in place with a single screw and three plastic locating pins through the side of the case.

The machine fell off a small table where I had placed it as I was moving the table. The plastic bracket on the left side shattered from the two-foot fall to the floor.

It’s a small but rather complicated part. I made a sketch and took very careful measurements. I had a flat bottom, and this gave a good reference for locating the pins and holes.

I’ll admit I made two prints. The first one I missed a side pin placement my a few tenths of a millimeter. Easily corrected in Fusion 360 sketch and a new STL file was printed. About 80 minutes at 0.15mm layer and normal speed on my Cetus printer. Material is white PLA.

I gave some consideration to the hot pen storage and using the PLA plastic. I have a good STL file I could print again in ABS if needed. In use the bracket never gets warm. Should not be a problem.

This is evidence that I occasionally use 3D FDM (plastic) printing for practical applications. Not just Junque “stuff”. 


SONY DSCThree-dimensional printing can be far more than printing one-piece Junque trinkets and plastic dragon skulls. <grin>  Here, I go head-to-head with conventional CNC subtractive manufacturing.

I use a CAD/CNC program call Vectric Aspire. Wonderful application for 3D style 3 and 4 axis design and production using overhead routers and milling machines.  This project doesn’t use Vectric Aspire. Rather the user forum for this product generated a 3D print design idea.

A fellow in the “Vectric Design Lab” named Todd created this desk lamp. He uses “subtractive manufacturing” (CNC router) to create his design.  I took one look and decided it would make a good “additive manufacturing” project for 3D printing.

If you open the video from Todd, the first part his microphone is off. Don’t be alarmed about no sound. He figures it out… 

The video is rather long winded for non-Vectric users (and me) but skip towards the end and you can see the finished design. He says to modify and build it any way you want.  So, I did…

My first version is an exact copy of Todd’s design.  I had to dig deep in his Vectric carve files for dimensions. He uses 2D and 2.5D routing so there are no 3D parts. I redrew all parts from scratch in Autodesk Fusion360 (F360) to create 3D models of the components. 

I had to experiment a lot in F360 to get good 7/8-9 thread design to print properly. I made the (prototype) screw knobs round like the original in RED PLA.  Rather ugly.  I called it my clown lamp. I later did three more sets of “bolts” in white with my new original design and using the very nice working 7/8-9 thread I developed in F360. PLA required a 0.040 gap between 1A and 1B dimensions. Thread design in F360 is a whole other topic for another day.

My STL files have the correct threads.

The lamp uses a battery “puck” lamp so there is no line voltage wiring. If you are interested in this design, you can decide alternative electrics if you desire. The head opening is 60mm and uses the “AAA” battery puck lamps of that size. Source Amazon.com.

The lamp is larger than it first looked to me. All parts were printed on the Cetus build platform, so a large printer is not required. Longest part is 6 inches (152.4 mm) The original lamp head nearly maxed out the build height on the Cetus, but the new design should not be an issue for any printer capable of printing the base or arms.

I built the original “Todd” design in white PLA with the red bolt connections. The color combination did not “grow” on me. I was re-designing the lamp and decided the white Ver.1 lamp needed the new design “knobs” in white. I now call it Ver.1.1.

Lamp Ver.2.0 (in black) removes a lot of material from Ver.1.1. I think it is more suitable for 3D additive manufacturing. The open jointed arm is plenty strong for the application. Version one was intended to be a simple project routed from solid wood stock. Todd recommends builders modify his initial design. 

There can be many ongoing variations from my Version 2. The limitation question is: “How may battery lamps does one need?”  I am good at two and hope to give them to someone.  I can always print more if required. No need to build an inventory. 

This lamp is a durable product. Not a minimalist material, lightweight display piece. I don’t try to see how much material I can save when printing.

Printing Specifications

I print at 0.20 mm layer height with (minimum) 3 layers top and bottom. Four would be better. Sidewalls are 0.50 mm print width with a 0.40 mm nozzle. The threaded connector bolts and nuts are printed with five (5) shells (layers) 2.5 mm (total) thick sidewalls. This is to produce good solid threads.

All other parts are three (3) sidewall layers (1.5 mm, total) thick.

Infill on arm components is 50% - 60% for added strength.  Base and lamp head are printed 10% -15% fill. 

PLA plastic is more than adequate strength and prints nice and flat. Feel free to experiment. Exotic materials like carbon fiber are not required but could be a printing brag point… Ha!

Other Design and Application Ideas

The head with puck light design can be used with a smaller base with no arm links. Just the two short stubs. Could be a good accent light for seasonal decorations. The puck lights can be purchased with colored LEDs and will produce many colors and variations as well as remote control.

The pucks are also made in various diameters. The larger use AA batteries for longer life. There are also low voltage A/C wired puck lights for more permanent lighting use.  Variations on this theme are many.

Download STL files


Version 1, Exact copy of CNC version. Gaudy red knobs!  All the printed parts. Red knobs replaced next day.
IMG 3410 IMG 3407
 Original head maxes out Cetus print height.  Base maxes out Cetus build plate at 6 inches dia..
 Version 1.1 with improved joint knobs  Version 2.0 Nice improvement IMHO!


The new design (Ver 2.) looks less like assembled from 2x4 lunber. I am happy with both. Puck lights can have other uses. Some of them can randomly change color and would be great for holiday decorative lighting. A base and head (no arm) could be used for decorative up-lighting. Many ways to use the lights and 3D printing.

2020 Show and Tell

IMG 24743D Printed Table DecorationsThis is my latest design/build project. First for the new 2020 year and new decade. 

The CAD used is Fusion 360. Not bragging-up F360, but it got the job done. Since I am using a free “Startup” version, I can’t complain too much. It does have quite a few weaknesses and this project crashed several times while refining the lofting. I like the F360 workflow and the price (free). So, it’s not a perfect CAD, but (again) gets the job done.

Enough about the CAD. This is about the project.

My printer is a 2 color Geeetech A20M. Single nozzle color blender type extruder. This allows me to blend two filament colors while printing. A free software application called (Duh?) Colormixer is available from Geeetech. I can control the mix between 2 (or 3 if I had them) colors as the filaments flow through the single extruder. (Single nozzle extruders only!)

I used Simplify 3D for the slicing. The project STL is sliced as if using a single color, then the gcode file is passed through the Colormixer app where the color variations are added to the gcode. The end results are what is seen here.

I enjoy the color control and as shown, adds a lot of pizazz to a 3D printed item. The two colors are dark green and a dark (fire engine) red. Christmas colors. The blending moves from solid (100%) of green to solid (100%) of the red. The between color is a fabulous brown shade.

The small bowls (candle holders) are 50% reduction of the large (original size) bowl. Remember, a 50% 3D reduction decreases volume by eight (8).

The candles were designed (F360) to fit the small bowls and hold the tea lights. The white candles are printed on my “MamaCetus” Tiertime Cetus mini printer. The color candle on (of course) the A20M.

IMG 2462 IMG 2476
Two version of the small holder Muliti color candle version
IMG 2463  
Large base on A20M.  Starting at solid green.  


DSC09292I just finished building a working prototype laser hand gun (pistol) using 3D printing. The laser is one of those laser pointer sticks used for slide show and teasing cats. It IS a real laser and I built a pistol shaped holder with a trigger to energize the laser beam. The only damage it is likely to do is to someone’s vision if they looked into the emitter when it is turned on.

Also, the fact that it now looks like a gun could get the user killed if they pointed the device at armed law enforcement and energized the beam. It’s almost harmless and makes no gunshot noise, but if I was a cop and saw what looks like a pistol with a red targeting beam coming from it, I might shoot first and ask questions later.

SO, this LASER device is not a TOY and needs to be deployed in a disciplined matter. It could get someone holding it killed.

My plan is to use it to persuade some nesting doves to stay away from my porch. Every year they try roosting, drop their bird crap all over tables and furniture and everything else on the porch, as well as dropping hundreds of nest building sticks.

I think nesting season is over this year but will try the red laser if they try again. It’s a war between me and the two lovey dovies.

Back to the laser pistol. The first prototype worked as intended. It was ugly and square and very hard on the hands to hold because of the square corners and 90-degree edges. I was interested in getting the trigger to function and not the appearance of the case.

The laser pointer has a small push button in an awkward location towards the LED end of the case, so I built a basic version one prototype just to test and find a way a trigger action could be utilized to energize the laser beam. That problem was solved after testing several variations in the first prototype. Version two includes the final trigger design and rounding the sharp corners on the body, making it more comfortable to hold and use.

There is a slight and satisfying audible “click” when the laser is switched when squeezing the trigger pull. Accidental activation is not dangerous unless one has their eyeball peering directly into the end of the laser at very close range. (Again! This is NOT a child’s toy!)

LG2 v1That’s version two in the pictures.

The bands around the front and the handle are to hold the case together. There are no metal parts like metal screws used. All parts are 3D printed PLA plastic. The only metal is the laser pointer.

It’s not designed to be an X-ray non-detectable stealth gun. Someone is going to think about that with all the media negative hyper-propaganda about 3D printed plastic guns. The appearance is that of a 3D printed gun, so it is best treated as if it were lethal. Read again the second and third paragraphs above.

I am considering NOT putting the .stl files openly on the internet. There seems to me to be too much liability with shoot-first cops and child’s play even if it is a low powered device. I watched my pre-teen granddaughter “role-playing” with it. She was totally safe, and maturing from child-hood, but I could see where it might go with a similar group of peers of any age, showing off and passing it around without proper instruction and self-discipline.

LG2 v4Use is far from my control, but I am aware of the risk potential. My case design is safe, and I am not providing a source for the laser device.

WOW! So much concern over human stupidity and ignorance.

I enjoyed the project and working out the simple design. I loved using FUSION 360 for the CAD and printing the prototypes on the Anycubic Kossel (delta) printer.

All parts are 3-layer shells. The trigger and switch are 40% fill and the case halves are 20% fill. All layers are 0.20 MM. The material is PLA plus. ABS would work well if printed with NO warps. No supports are required.

The design and trigger configuration are 100% original. This project typifies the sense of accomplishment creating a product from initial idea to functional operation. Truly making something, starting from nothing, start to finish.

Lovin’ what I can do when I try.

The HandNot every three dimensional printed item has to be all plastic. A frighting idea! This project is called the Cancan.

The metal can in the picture was used just by itself for storing the variety of desk items shown. After looking at it (the side ribs are interesting) and using it for a few years, the idea came...  it needs to be a 3D printed item. The inspiration was to incorporate the metal can into the printed design. The idea was to "get out of the box" from thinking only in plastic. 

The can was measured and the design drawn in Fusion360. F-360 is not good for adding text on a cylinder so that was done with MS 3D Builder. The color is a bit ugly, a pinkish "flesh" color. I wanted to use it up, and this was a good project to do that. I saved some material by not making the bottom solid. Cutouts in the sides could have been an interesting feature too, showing the ribs on the can. 

Version two has been drawn and has some large raised "rivit heads" embossed around near the top to help grip the cancan, It's not likely to get printed as I don't realy need, or have space for, version two.

This is a "show and tell" about trying new ways to usee 3D printing.

DSC09205 DSC09206
DSC09207 DSC09208
DSC09209  cancan v2

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