Make a Filament Dry Box - 3D Printer

Not many people know this but many 3D printing filaments have a "shelf life". Sort of like food, it is important to keep filaments dry.
3d printer filament dry box, how to build, make

Filament Dry Box - 3D Printer


For certain filaments like nylon it is absolutely crucial that it is kept dry. Otherwise the filament will absorb water in the air and begin popping when printing. It is good practice to keep all your filament dry, which will help to extend its shelf life. For other filaments like PLA, PET, and ABS it isn't super critical that it be kept dry but it does prolong its life. There's a reason why they ship you filament in a vacuum sealed bag with desiccant in it.
different 3d printer filament, nylon, dry, moisture

Plus keeping everything in one place is nice for organization. Once you get more that 2 or 3 rolls of filament, it's nice to have it all in one place, rather than one roll on the floor and one in the closet...

I have about 8 rolls of filament, not a ton, but i needed something like a plastic tote to fit them all. So that's where i started. You need to use a tote with a lockable lid and one that has rounded over edges to provide a large surface to be sealed. Also it's nice if the tote is clear, that way you can see what you have in there. Those totes with the double hinged lid's won't work because they cannot be locked air tight.
how to dry nylon filament, moisture, absorbe

The good thing about this is that it doesn't cost anything, as long as you have an extra tote lying around.
desiccant, dry box, 3d print, filament

To make the tote air tight i sealed up the drain holes under the handles and the rim with silicone caulk.
cheap desiccant for 3d printing filament

You can't use the super cheap caulk that is only like 10% silicone because it will harden.

You want to make a pliable "gasket" that will move and deform to fit tightly on the lid.
how to seal watertight tote, plastic, airtight

There's a $6 tube of caulk that's 100% silicone, but i use the cheaper stuff. It goes on white but drys clear.
silicone seal, plastic tote, watertight, airtight

I put all the little desiccant bags in the bottom of the tote. And it's also a good idea to keep the rolls in their plastic bags for another layer of protection.

There's not much too it, but it's nice to know you can store your filament for a longer time this way, and even better knowing it's all in one place.

I also made a dry box for when the filament is connected to the printer. This can hold multiple rolls on a PVC pipe, but i typically only put 1 roll in there. More info about this and the enclosure in another blog post.

filament dry box on 3d printer enclosure


PVC Pipe Shelf - Paint Can, Glue Organize Wall Rack

For years i wanted to make a wall shelf that would hold all my cans of spray paint, glue, caulk, etc.  I always had the idea of making it out of PVC pipe.  A few months ago i finally decided to make it.

PVC Pipe Shelf - Organize Basement Storage 


My basement workshop is constantly changing while i try to make it more organized and easier to work in.  For years i kept all my tubes of glue, caulk and spray paint cans in milk crates.

That worked well for saving space, but not great for finding what you need.  I would have to go to the shelf, pull out the milk crate and then search for the thing i needed.

I thought that building a wall shelf would be a great way to save space and also make finding what i need easier.  The cans and tubes could stick out, being partially visible and easy to see.  Originally i was thinking i would build the shelf out of wood.  But then i thought how much work it would be to build over 50 square compartments.  So i decided to use 3 different sizes of PVC pipe and cut them into segments and use that for the "shelves".

So i drew up the plans.
pvc wall mount shelf, paint cans, caulk, 2", 3", 1"

My thought was to have a 2x4 at the top which would attach to the ceiling joists.  Then there would be 4 boards which hang down in vertical rows that the PVC pipes would attach to in the center.  At this point i wasn't exactly sure how i would attach the PVC to the boards.

The main things i had in the milk crates were cans of spray paint and tubes of caulk.  So that's what i measured up.
size, diameter, paint can, caulk, pvc, inner diameter, outer diameter

I also had some random sized stuff.  But since i already had several sized of PVC i figured that the random stuff would just fit in where it could.

I kind of knew where i wanted the shelf to go.  There wasn't a lot of open wall space in my basement, but i had a clear space about 2' wide.  So i cut the 2x4 to the approximate length.  Then i ripped some OSB 3" wide and about 4' long.  I cut a couple of the big 3" PVC pipes to 3" length and thought about how the rows would go.

My first idea was to put all of the big 3" PVC at the top and smaller PVC below.
pvc wall shelf, workshop, woodshop

Close-up of the holes to be drilled for the wire.
how to mount attach pvc pipe to wood, wire wrap, glue

But then i realized that it would take up too much space and there would be gaps at the bottom.  So i cut some of the smaller 2" and 1" PVC that i had lying around and rearranged the rows.  Now it was 3" to 2" to 1".
simple pvc shelf, pipe, cheap, diy, make, craft

This was better and took up less space.  Also no gaps.

And that's the sizes of PVC pipe that i used: 3", 2", 1".

Once i had the arrangement set i could decide on how i would attach the OSB to the 2x4.  I figured that notching out the 2x4 was a good idea.
mount for joists, rafters, hang, wood, shelf

Test fitting the OSB boards that would hang down.
wood and pvc shelf for basement paint cans, spray paint, caulk tubes

Then i could just glue the OSB in place.  I figured that glue would be strong enough.

So now it was time to start cutting all the PVC pipe.  It took a lot longer than i thought.  To cut the PVC i used my big 12" DeWalt miter saw.  It worked well but i had to be careful, if the teeth grabbed it or got snagged it would send the piece flying.  I did end up using a lot more PVC pipe than i thought i would.  But i used a stop block set at 3" and that sped things up.  And finally it was all cut to length.
testing all paint cans, pvc, easy, attach

Testing them in their rows.
how to store paint cans, how to keep caulk tubes

Now i had to decide on how i would attach the PVC to the OSB.  I thought first about using screws or bolts, but i decided to use wire.  The good thing about wire was that it's cheap, strong, and flexible.  Screws or bolts would have been a pain and expensive.  With the wire i could bend and move it around to get it to fit.
use wire to attach pvc to wood, how to connect pvc, glue, adhesive

So i started measuring and drilling and did the first test attachment.
easy pvc pipe, wire, pipe

The first few times i twisted the wire together weren't pretty, but after the 200th time i got pretty good.  I cut the wire to length, fed it through the 3 holes, bent it tight to the PVC, twisted it with pliers, cut it, then bent the ends tight to the wood.
how to attach pvc to wood, stone, rock, concrete, house

More rows complete.
particle board and pvc shelf, wood, organize

It took a long time of drilling the OSB, drilling the PVC, feeding and attaching the wire, but eventually it was all done.
cool pvc shelf ideas, organize, sorting, shop, craft

Another view of all the rows.  This took a long time.
pvc pipe rows, rows of shelves

I thought that maybe i should attach the PVC at a slight upward angle so that the cans wouldn't slide out, but i attached it flat and haven't had a problem.

I did add some extra support blocks to the back side of the 2x4, to give the OSB more surface to attach to.
wood shelf support blocks

Then to attach everything to the joists i ripped a 2x4 in half and used it vertically to connect the shelf to the joists.
hanging shelves from basement joists, rafters, boards, organize, shop

It was kind of heavy but not terrible.  It took some figuring on how i was going to hold it all up with one hand and screw it to the joists with the other, but i eventually got it attached.
cool pvc shelf

Head on view.  It's bigger than it looks.
organize tools

Yet another view.
cheap and easy shelf idea

Then i loaded it up with spray paint cans, caulk, glue, oil, WD-40, polish, etc.
shelf, caulk, paint, glue shelf

I really like how it turned out.  No more searching in milk crates for what i need, it's all out in the open, but not taking up that much space.
idea to organize shop, organize area,

In the end i could have used more of the big 3" PVC because i filled that up and had empty 2" and 1" pipes.
how to keep shop clean, clutter

Also it may have been less work than i thought to make it out of wood.  I thought that by using the PVC it would have been quick and easy, but all the drilling and wiring was a bit of a pain.
shop ideas, craft room ideas

But i'm happy with it.


JB Weld - Easy Fix Hole in Muffler and Exhaust

Well you're driving down the road and notice that your car is making a loud noise.  And that noise is coming from your muffler / exhaust pipe.  That means that you have a hole somewhere and have to fix it.

Exhaust / Muffler Leak - Quick and Easy Hole Fix

This happened to me a few weeks ago.  But mine wasn't exactly the most typical hole in the muffler.  If it had been a small hole in a flat part of the muffler it would have been easier to fix.  Unfortunately it was right at the seam/joint of the exhaust pipe.  

Here's the last time i had to fix the exhaust.  This was beyond fixing and needed replacing.
fix exhaust, repair muffler, rusted

Here's the new muffler i got years ago.
clamp exhaust, muffler, rusted, clamp

One option would have been to un-bolt the exhaust and mufflers from the car, grind everything down, then try to weld the pipe solid again.  But i thought that i would try an easier fix that wouldn't require removing anything from the car.  I decided to try JB Weld.  
jb weld, putty, epoxy, stick, water

jb weld, putty, epoxy, stick, water, 2 part, metal, weld

This is definitely the cheaper and easier fix.  

Now typically JB Weld is a 2 part epoxy that you have to mix together in equal parts.  You squeeze out the same amount from the red and black tubes, mix it together and apply it to the area you want fixed.  

The problem with this is that the liquid is a bit too runny for what i needed.  I wanted more of a putty that i could roll and mold.  Fortunately there is a JB Weld putty.  
jb weld steel stick, 2 part putty
It comes in a tube - still 2 parts, the putty in the center is surrounded by a second layer.  You just cut off the amount you need, mix together and you have a few minutes until it hardens.  It only cost around $5 and gets incredibly hard.

I do recommend using gloves because after mixing i had the putty stuck on my hands for a long time.  But the putty worked pretty well, i was able to wrap it around the entire joint to seal the hole.
fix muffler with jb weld, how to fix muffler hole easy

One problem though is that there's a lot of exhaust gas pressure when the car is running.  The JB Weld did help but didn't completely fix the problem.  I think it's because the gas pressure pushed the putty up in a few tiny places.  So even though it hardened, it didn't really get a good fusion with the metal pipe.  Again if it wasn't in such a high pressure area, or had more of a flat surface to adhere to, it would have been fine.

But using JB Weld as a first thing to try is a good way to go.  If it works, great.  If it doesn't work, you are only out $5 and 30 minutes of your time.


Fix Wobble on Disc Sander

Back in 2014 i build a 12" disc sander using an old furnace blower motor.  I used melamine for the 12" disc and built the frame out of 2x4's.  It wasn't perfect but it's worked fine for years.  The biggest issue was that the disc wasn't perfectly balanced and it wobbled.

Fix Disc Sander Wobble 


And here's the original video from when i built the sander.

Disc Sander - Make DIY Build


The problem occurred when i made the steel mounting flange between the motor and the disc.  I welded a large washer to a steel pulley.  Somehow during the welding it shifted and wasn't perfectly 90 degrees.  So when i say it wasn't balanced what i really mean is that it wasn't perpendicular to the motor and that caused the wobble.
weld pulley flange, 90 degrees, belt disc sander

It looked ok, but not balanced and at 90 degrees.
mount disc to sander, metal pulley, electric motor

Parts to attach flange to disc.
how to fix wobble in sander, disc, disk

Lots of people complained that it was dangerous...they were probably right.  They said that the unbalance would wear out the bearing and cause the disc to break apart.
diy disc sander, make, build

So 3 years later i decided to try and fix it.

I started by spinning the disc by hand and marking the parts of the flange that high and low (1,2,3,4).  Then i loosened the 4 bolts that held the disc in place and shimmed the low area with some paper shims.
how to shim, shim disc, disk, sander, belt

I then shimmed it on the 2-3 side, with trial and error, until the wobble was virtually gone.
fix unbalanced disc, mower, blade, sander, shim, how to

It took a lot of trial and error to finally get it right, i ended up having to put several shims at different angles to get the balance correct.  But i finally got it so that it was almost perfectly perpendicular to the motor and the table.
build tool, disc sander, easy, cheap

Had i known it would have only taken a few minutes i would have done this years ago.
how to build a sander

The next thing that needs to be done is to add a guard/shroud over the disc.  That would block any debris that may get clogged and shoot up into the air.  Or if the disc breaks apart it would keep it from flying in every direction.
easy to build disc sander, shim 12" wheel

Definitely safer now than it was before.
fix an unbalanced disc sander


Glass Print Bed - For 3D Printer

3D printers can come with different types of build plates.  I decided to convert my Monoprice Select Mini to print on glass.

Glass Print Bed - For Under $1 - 3D Printer - MP Select Mini


The most common build plates are aluminum and glass.  The advantage of aluminum is that it's cheap, durable, and the heated bed cartridge can be attached directly to the underside.
aluminum build plate, mp select mini

To print on aluminum you need to have some type of covering like masking tape.

The advantages of a glass print bed is that it is perfectly flat (will not warp or bend), easy to clean, does not need any type of protecting tape, produces a super smooth shiny surface when printed on.

I have the Monoprice Select Mini and it comes with an aluminum build plate.
mp select mini, add glass build plate to 3d printer bed

Which is fine, i printed several parts onto blue masking tape.  It worked well and had fairly good adhesion.  But i decided to install a glass bed, for a few different reasons.  First i got sick of adding and removing the blue painters tape.  Second i liked the idea of printing directly onto glass and being able to clean it up by running it under water in the sink.  And third i was intrigued by the shiny surface when printed on.
3d printing onto glass

In the very early days of 3D printing, people tried all sorts of different build plates, but glass and aluminum kind of became the standard.

So what type of glass do you use.  When you read about 3D printer glass beds and hear what people write about in forums, the name Borosilicate Glass comes up.  Borosilicate glass is what's used to make test tubes and beakers for chemistry class (Pyrex).  The advantage of this glass is that it can withstand very high temperatures.  And since it is a 'Heated Bed', borosilicate glass is an obvious choice.

So i went on Amazon and looked for 3D printer glass beds that i could use.  It turns out that everyone is charging a minimum of $20 for a sheet of glass.
borosilicate glass, amazon, cost

Another option of boro glass.
borosilicate glass for 3d printer bed

I wasn't really happy with the idea of spending $20 for a sheet of glass.  So i continued to read about other people's experience and learned all about what people have used in the past.

Here's a list of some of the different materials people have tried, other than just buying the borosilicate 3D printer glass:
- Mirror glass
- Window glass
- Tempered glass
- Frosted glass
- Heat treated glass
- Floor tile
- Marble tile
- Granite tile
- Aluminum sheet (may oxidize)
- 9h Glass laminate sheet protector for tablet (gorilla glass)
borosilicate glass in laboratory

Here's another story i saw where someone said the 3D printed part stuck so well to the borosilicate glass that it took a chunk out when they tried to remove it.
glass print bed damaged

When i heard someone say that they just went to the dollar store, bought a picture frame, and was successfully using that glass for their print bed, i knew that's what i was going to do.  Before spending $20 i was going to try the cheapest glass i could find.  The fear is that when the bed heats up, the ordinary glass might crack, but for $1 it was worth a shot.

I actually ended up going to Lowe's and looked in their glass and lexan cutting section.  It turned out that i could buy a piece of 10"x12" glass for $3.
lowes, home depot, lexan, glass area, plexiglass cost

But then i went to the back of the store and saw that they sold a 6 pack of 12"x12" mirrored glass for $10.
mirror glass pack from lowes home depot

I figured that things weren't going to go perfectly and i should probably have some extras.  Whether i broke a few pieces while trying to cut it, or whether some cracked during printing.  So i bought the box.  And it turns out that i only needed the glass to be roughly 6"x6", so i could get 4 pieces out of each sheet, which means i could get 24 sheets from the box.  So i was getting 24 glass print beds for $10 ($0.42 per sheet) versus 1 print bed for $20, which is 48 times the price.

Also while i was at Lowe's i saw a piece of 12"x12" marble tile on the clearance rack for $2.

I decided to buy that too just for experimenting.  And i also remembered that i had some old 12"x12" granite tiles in the garage from a project we did on our house.  Both the marble and granite tiles had a super smooth shiny surface.
12" marble tiles on clearance

Leftover granite tile in the garage.
3d printing on marble, granite

This will be for an experiment later... if i ever get around to it.
how to print onto tile, marble, granite, 3d printer

One big advantage of the stone tiles would be their ability to retain the high temps.  With aluminum and glass the bed heater is constantly turning off and on to maintain the temp.  The stone tiles are almost 1/2" thick and would hold their heat a lot longer.  But installing a marble / granite tile print bed is another blog post.

So now i had these glass sheets and i had to cut them to size.  So here's the quick lesson on how to cut glass or a mirror.  This is from another post that i did earlier about cutting glass.

Some of below is from my blog post about How to Cut Glass

How to Cut Mirror Glass - QUICK


Here's the quick lesson on how to cut glass or a mirror.  I needed to cut some glass for my 3D printer.
cut glass for 3d printer

First, about  what you are cutting.  I used a mirror which was about 1/8" thick, which is pretty standard.

how to cut glass, how to cut a mirror, glass cutter, tool

I bought a 6 pack of 12"x12" mirrored glass at Lowe's for $10.  

where to buy mirror glass, lowes, home depot, 12 inch glass, mirror

where to buy mirror glass, scrap book

Or you could buy individual pieces of glass.  For example a 10"x12" piece of glass is under $3.

buy individual glass, mirror, lexan

Second, you need the right tools.  The main tool is obviously the glass cutter.
glass cutter, cheap glass cutter, diy glass cutter

I have a fairly cheap one, which you can buy on Amazon for $5.

glass cutter, amazon

The way that the glass cutter works is that there's a tiny wheel on the front which is made of carbide steel, which is able to "score" a line into the glass.

how a glass cutter works, how to cut glass

Other tools are safety glasses, gloves, straight edge, a metal file for rounding the edges, and a work surface with a towel.

tools to cut glass, tool to cut mirror, how do i cut a mirror

For some small cuts you may need a wrench to snap off the glass piece.


Another thing you need is some type of oil, i used 3-in-1 oil.  Because the cutter needs lubrication in order to sline smoothly.

oil, 3 in 1 oil

Once you know where you want to cut the glass, apply a thin line of oil over the line, hold the straight edge tightly to the glass, then in one smooth movement firmly score a line in the glass.  It should take a lot of force pushing down and you should hear a crackling sound.

need oil for cutting glass

Make sure the score line goes from one end to the other, if there's a gap you can go back and score the ends.

how to cut glass, corners, straight

Then use the ball end of the cutter to gently tap on the glass near the score line.  This will help promote the score line cracks all the way through the glass.

quick glass cutting

Next it's time to snap the glass on that score line.  Wearing your gloves, hold the score line on the edge of the table.  Then slowly apply pressure on the overhanging edge until it snaps (hopefully on the scored line).

The actual aluminum build plate size is 6 1/4" x 5 1/8", but there are adjustment screws in the corners that need to be accessed from above.  Some printers have thumb screws that can be adjusted from below, which are better.

So i had a few options.  First i could have cut the glass the exact size of the print bed, then when i needed to level the print bed i would have to move the glass back and forth to get access to the screws.  Second i could cut the glass smaller so that i would always be able to adjust the screws,  5 5/8" x 4 3/8".
binder clips to hold glass build plate

For a while this worked fine, but it became a paint to adjust the bed level, since the allen screws were covered by the glass.
prototype 3d print bed, glass, material

Originally i decided to go with the full size glass, but later i learned that i could actually cut the corners off.
glass print bed, version 2, 3d printer

This is great because i get the full bed size, but also can access the leveling screws.

Next is when i learned more about how the printer actually works.  The Monoprice Select Mini actually has little switches for the X, Y, and Z axis that tells it when it's come to the end.
z axis switch, limit switch, monoprice select mini

Other more advanced printers have a little feeler arm near the nozzle which detects the height of the bed and automatically stops.

But with the MP mini you have to add a spacer.  The printer doesn't know you added a piece of glass and without a spacer it would continue to try to go down to where the aluminum plate is and probably crack the glass.

Luckily, i again learned from people who had done this before me.  There are some spacers that people have drawn in 3D, that you can snap onto your arm.  Here's the first spacer i used.
z axis spacer for glass print bed, mp select mini

Here it is on the printer.
z spacer for glass print bed

One shortcoming of this spacer is that you have to remove the back plate of the printer to install it.  That means that you have to take the bottom off and remove 6 screws.  It can be a bit of a pain if you are constantly doing adjusting.
disassembled 3d printer, monoprice

There's another spacer that someone drew that has little handles and you can snap it into place without removing the back plate.
different spacers for glass print bed

One thing to note is that the thickness of the spacer should equal the thickness of the glass.  I didn't really think about this and my glass was slightly thicker than the spacer and that meant that i had to crank down the adjuster screws all the way to the bottom.
adjustment screws size for 3d printer

So instead of redrawing the spacer, i just super-glued a piece of plastic to the bottom, it worked great.
shim spacer, 3d printer, how to modify

Another view of it on the bar/arm.
glass spacer

Later i used TinkerCad and modified the spacers thickness for glass and stone tile.
tinkercad to modify stl obj

Another view of the large spacer.
large spacer for granite and marble print bed

It was actually pretty easy to go in and add a square piece on the edge to match the thickness.
how to use tinkercad, autodesk

Another thing you have to consider is how you are going to attach / hold the glass to the aluminum bed.  There are 3D printed clips you can use, but i didn't have a lot of luck with them.  Also you have to use a smaller piece of glass.

Lots of people used simple metal binder clips.  The trick with those is that you need to use the smallest ones you can find.  The big ones work ok, but get in the way and hit the X-axis arm.  So you have to remove the metal clips from the black part every time.  Once i found the small ones it's been a lot easier.
binder clip size, 3d printer, glass print bed

Smallest binder clip that fit.
smallest binder clips for print bed

Another view of the sizes
binder clip sizes

After you add the glass and add the spacer, you will need to re-level the print bed.  Then you should be all ready to print on glass.

Some people just print directly on the glass, with the heat set to 50 or 60 deg C.  That does work and produces an amazingly smooth shiny surface.
how to 3d print directly onto glass

However it doesn't always stick throughout the entire print.  I've found some PLA where printing directly on glass is fine, but other PLA and especially PETG doesn't stick.

So for the majority of my prints i use a glue stick.
gluestick for 3d printer bed adhesion

I use just a regular Elmers white glue stick.  After the bed is heated i lightly wipe it on, the heat makes it slide like melted butter.

I can usually print this way about 5 times in a row before i need to remove the glass, run it under water in the sink and wipe off the glue residue.

Now i know that some people use Aquanet hairspray with great results.  I've tried this a few times but didn't get good enough adhesion.  They say to spray the hairspray on the glass, let it dry, and repeat with 3 or more coats.  It does give a slightly tacky surface, but in my experience the parts come loose while printing.  So i stick to just glass or most of the time, glue stick.

The convenience of printing on glass alone is reason for me to use it, with the amazingly shiny surface being a perk.  I would hate to have to go back to using masking tape.
adjust screws for glass print bed

Another view of the print bed.
how to attach glass print bed to 3d printer bed

And once i get around to cutting the marble and granite i will make another video and write a blog post about it.

Oh....and (knock on wood) i haven't had any of my glass break from the temperature.  But if it does i'm only out $0.42 versus $20.