Woodworker Goes from 3D-Printing Skeptic to Believer

If there’s one place where the old ways of doing things live a longer life than you’d otherwise expect, it’s the woodshop. Woodworkers have a way of stubbornly sticking to tradition, and that usually works out fine. But what does it take to change a woodworker’s mind about a tool that seems to have little role in the woodshop: the 3D-printer?

That’s the question [Marius Hornberger] asked himself, and at least for him, there are a lot of woodworking gadgets that can be 3D-printed. [Marius] began his journey into additive manufacturing three years ago as a skeptic, not seeing how [Benchy] and friends could be of any value to his endeavors. But as is often the case with a tool that can build almost anything, all it takes is a little ingenuity to get started. His first tool was a pair of soft jaws for his bench vise. This was followed by a flood of useful doodads, including a clever center finder for round and square stock, custom panels for electrical switches, and light-duty pulleys for some of the machines he likes to build. But [Marius] obviously has an issue with dust, because most of his accessories have to do with helping control it in the shop. The real gem of this group is the hose clamp for spiral-reinforced vacuum hose; standard band clamps don’t fit well on those, but his clamps have an offset that straddles the wire for a neat fit. Genius!

[Marius] has kindly made all his models available on Thingiverse, so feel free to dig in and start kitting out your shop. Once you do maybe you can start building cool things like his all-wood scissors lift.

Thanks to [baldpower] for the tip.

28 thoughts on “Woodworker Goes from 3D-Printing Skeptic to Believer

  1. Given my age, and general health it’s unlikely there will be a 3D printer in my shop. In the event a builder or maker space in born in a reasonable distance from me, I would contribute to the purchase of a 3D printer, if the space is otherwise well equipped. My continuing contribution would depend how well it’s presence benefited me, as well how those who use it most contribute to the cost of maintaining it.

        1. Hogwash. We saw red flags about cell phones causing cancer too, it was one absolutely unscientific experiment that didn’t bother to show any real data about particulates and spread through the fear factory known as clickbait journalism, with not enough data to replicate either (multiple failures in the Scientific Method), and additionally studied the existence of particulates, not the operator exposure nor health effects thereof. Don’t trust journalists with health studies any more than you should trust me with a prescription pad, really.

          (I need to note, one takeaway from the “study” was that 3D printing as a whole was dangerous because ABS is toxic — something we’ve literally known since Mendel? Common knowledge is you need an enclosure and an exhaust, it’s not only a non-issue, but many non-enclosed machines limit to PLA and PETG due to non-heated beds, which are not nearly as harmful).

          I will more than agree with the time investment. My mother-in-law uses a flip phone. She gets a lot of flak for it. It’s worked since they came out and there’s no reason to learn this internet thing when we can do it for her. And to Doug’s credit also, he did make it clear he would absolutely work with a makerspace nearby. I don’t know how the hell to build skyscrapers. But if they need help printing off a scale model, absolutely I’m game. Similarly, if I need some parts CNC’d, I can absolutely reach out to a guy with a CNC and collaborate on it. Oldest business model in the book, no need to learn all this stuff now when you’re already thinking of retiring anyhow.

          1. Not only tropical woods… even something as simple as walnut can be quite dangerous. I’ve read that wood dust is as much of a risk for lung cancer as smoking is. That is why I have purchased a good quality cartridge-style dust mask, and use that whenever I am in the shop… I love woodworking, but you gotta be safe.

      1. Simply about low income, and that my health may not allow me to live long enough to have the funds no purchase such a tool. Even though I’m not particularly excited by the prospect of 3D printing, as I said I would contribute what I can to a community effort.

    1. I am 58 and have 4 3D printers. 2 Lulzbots, 1 homebuilt/assembled Cobblebot, and 1 liquid polymer 3D printer. and 2 homemade CNC machines. The fun of building is not the time taken, but time invested and what I learn from it and ultimately make. Any bozo can buy something from the hardware store. But making it and customizing it to meet your needs…well isn’t that what this web page is about?.

  2. Great presentation!!! You didn’t mention printing with “wood” filament things like drawer handles and door knobs. Everyday I find something new to do with my 3D printer. Seems imagination is the limit to what can be printed everything from cement houses to chocolate treats.

    1. Probably because it is far more complex to do so. It’s not as simple as swapping filament, the nozzle needs to be not-brass (for wood, stainless is fine), the print speed needs to go way down, adhesion is a huge bitch to deal with, and you also have the side effect that with reduced speeds, the wood *literally* burns faster — you cannot preheat it. The burning discolors and also doesn’t like to adhere either. I just cannot recommend wood filaments for an entry-level thing like this. Stick with your comfort zone, expand slowly. (Repairs can be expensive too, depending on the machine, which was not stated.)

      I am currently making a few things for my desk, it’s stained oak, and I’ve already decided that either an “accent” color or simply trying to blend in with e.g. light brown will do the trick well enough. woodFill just adds an entirely unnecessary level of expertise that, especially for a woodworker, is entirely unnecessary.

      1. For me printing in Woodfill was just as easy as PLA. I just picked the woodfill from the Slic3r profile, and that was it. No adhesion issues, didn’t change the nozzle from brass (some say you do some say you don’t). Smelled great as it was printing. Then I sanded and stained it. I don’t do it often and it really was just a test with a small sample but it seemed great. I agree if I did it often I should change the nozzle but having a variety of nozzles is probably a good thing to have anyway.

  3. A holesaw bushing was the second thing I printed (ar-15 barrel wrench was first, still cant believe that worked) to support a holesaw in a situation where I couldn’t use a pilot bit. Worked a treat and after 2 hours of setup and horribly inefficient 3d modeling I had my part. That went a long way toward motivating me to learn more and continue with it.

  4. This is a perfect example of the kinds of one-off, random things that having a 3D printer around entice you to make. I have adapters from every tool to my vacuum, for instance (and a much less nice system than the OP!). Caps for odd devices, fittings for random doodads, a ping-pong ball cup for the ball that HomoFaciens engraved for me… Just random stuff.

    1. Woodworkers are known for building (lots of) “jigs”, devices that will not be used in the end product, but facilitate repetitive processes needed to build the end product. So, a 3D printer could be quite useful for a woodworker.

        1. No, it’s just adding two more hobbies: 3d solid modelling and CNC.

          It is often times less work to make jigs by hand then throw them out than it is to work up a good one by hand or model one in 3d.

          If tinkering is the point of hobbies, using a 3d printer to do so is adding twice as much to putter around with.

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