Toilet paper has become a hot button issue over the last month or so, and the pandemic prompted panic buying, and consequent shortages. Now there are adequate supplies, at least where this is being written, but sometimes one’s rolls aren’t the domestic items we’re all used to. This happened to [Ebenezer], who had some of the large size rolls suitable for toilet roll dispensers rather than a domestic bathroom. To solve this problem he made a makeshift toilet roll winder.
The adventures of small dogs aside, we all know that toilet rolls unroll themselves very easily indeed but are a significant pain to get back on the roll once they have done so. Rolling toilet paper must therefore be an exact science of velocity and tension, which he approached with a 3D printed shaft that mounts a toilet roll tube in a Ryobi drill. Getting the tension right was a bit tricky, but we’re extremely impressed with the result. Like him we’d have expected some side-to-side movement, but there was very little and a near perfect toilet roll was the result.
This is a simple hack, but one extremely well executed, and that it does something we might normally consider near-impossible is a bonus. Of course, should you wish to ration your toilet paper, you can always print it.
You’d think that being quarantined in your home would be perfect for hackers and makers like us, as we all have a project or two that’s been sitting on the back burner because we didn’t have the time to tackle it. Unfortunately, some are finding that the problem now is actually getting the parts and tools needed to do the job. When there’s a bouncer and a line outside the Home Depot like it’s a nightclub on Saturday night, even the simplest of things can be difficult to source when making in the time of COVID.
Which is exactly the situation I found myself in recently when I needed to drill a bunch of holes to the same depth. The piece was too big to put in the drill press, and while I contemplated just wrapping the bit in some tape to serve as a makeshift stop, I wasn’t convinced it would be accurate or repeatable enough. It occurred to me that a set of drill stop collars would be easy enough to design and 3D print, but before I fired up OpenSCAD, I decided to see what was already available online.
Which is how I found the “Collet Drill Stop” from Adam Harrison. Rather than the traditional ring and setscrew arrangement, his design uses a printable collet that will clamp down on the bit at an arbitrary position without tools. So not only could I avoid a trip to the store by printing this design out, it looked like it would potentially be an upgrade over what I would have bought.
Of course, it’s wise not to take anything for granted when dealing with 3D printing. The only way I could be sure that Adam’s design would work for me was to commit it to plastic and try it out.
Continue reading “Printed It: Collet Drill Stop”
Inline skates can be fun, but like most wheeled contraptions, they’re even better when motorized. With just such a goal in mind, [The Real Life Guys] decided to whip up a set of powered skates, running on Makita power!
To get power to the ground, the third wheel on each skate is modified to have a sprocket attached. A Makita drill is then fitted to the skate, transferring power to the wheel through a 90-degree gearbox and a chain drive. The drill is controlled by removing the trigger from the shell and hooking it up with an extended cable.
It’s a lairy setup that probably takes serious practice to use effectively, but does allow for fancy tricks like differential steering if you really want to show off. It’s a great example of using a powerdrill as an all-inclusive motion setup, with the battery, motor and drivetrain already integrated in a neat, tidy package. It’s not the first time we’ve seen a powered set of ‘skates, either! Video after the break.
Continue reading “Motorized Inline Skates Run On Makita Power”
If you design printed circuit boards, then you will have also redesigned printed circuit boards. Nobody gets it right the first time, every time. Sometimes you can solder a scrap of 30gauge wire, flip a component 180°, or make a TO-92 transistor do that little pirouette thing where the legs go every-which-way. If you angered the PCB deities, you may have to access a component pad far from an edge. [Nathan Seidle], the founder of Sparkfun, finds himself in this situation, but all hope is not lost.
Our first thought is to desolder everything, then take a hot iron and tiny wires to each pad. Of course, this opens up a lot of potential for damage to the chip, cold joints, and radio interference. Accessing the pin in vivo has risks, but they are calculated. The idea is to locate the pin, then systematically drill from the backside and expose the copper. [Nate] also discovers that alcohol will make the PCB transparent so you can peer at the underside to confirm you have found your mark.
In a real, “fight fire with fire” idea, you can rework with flex PCBs or push your PCB Fu to the next level and use PCBs as your enclosure.
Brushless motors and lithium batteries were a revolution for remote control aircraft. No longer would nitro engines rule the roost, as flying became far cheaper and more accessible almost overnight. The same technology has also found its way into power tools, leading to [Peter Sripol] deciding to build a powerdrill into a flying aircraft in this video, embedded below.
An unmodified DeWalt drill is the heart of the build, serving as the propulsion unit of the craft. A servo is used to actuate the drill’s trigger to serve as the throttle. As power drills are geared down significantly compared to a typical hobby brushless motor, it was necessary to use a much larger prop than would be usual. This was custom machined out of wood with the help of [William Osman], and despite some mishaps, came out (mostly) in one piece. The airframe consists of foam wings with poplar spars, and an aluminium extrusion serves as the tail boom. A few 3D printed parts then tie everything together.
Despite the weight of the drill, the hacked-together craft is able to fly quite easily. The large wings and propeller help to make up for the shortcomings of the powertrain. Unfortunately, there wasn’t quite enough surplus lift to carry a payload of smartphones to capture in-flight footage, but overall the project could be considered a resounding success.
We’ve seen [Peter]’s work before, too – sometimes even putting himself in the pilots seat! Video after the break.
Continue reading “Cordless Drill Sprouts Wings And Takes Flight”
Four times the holes, four times the trouble. With the fate of repetitive motion injury looming due to the need to drill 1,200 holes, [bitluni] took matters into his own hands and built this nifty DIY hole punch for light-gauge sheet metal.
A little backstory will probably help understand why [bitluni] needs so many holes. Back in May, he built a ping pong ball LED video wall for Maker Faire Berlin. That had 300 LEDs and came out great, but at the cost of manually drilling 300 holes in sheet steel with a hand drill. Looking to expand his wall of balls to four times the original size, [bitluni] chose to spend a few days building a punch to make the job more appealing. The business end, with solid bar stock nested inside pieces of tubing, is a great example of how much you can get done without a lathe. The tool is quite complex, with a spring-loaded pilot to help guide the punching operation. When that proved impractical, [bitluni] changed the tool design and added an internal LED to project crosshairs from inside the tool.
The tool itself is mounted into a sturdy welded steel frame that allows him to cover the whole aluminum sheet that will form the panel of his LED wall. It’s pretty impressive metalwork, especially considering this isn’t exactly in his wheelhouse. And best of all, it works – nice, clean holes with no deformation, and it’s fast, too. We’re looking forward to seeing the mega-LED wall when it’s done.
Continue reading “Punch Those Hole-Drilling Blues Away With A Homebrew Punching Tool”
Drilling holes is easy; humans have been doing it in one form or another for almost 40,000 years. Drilling really tiny holes in hard materials is more challenging, but still doable. Drilling deep, straight holes in hard materials is another thing altogether.
Luckily, these days we have electric discharge machining (EDM), a technique that opens up all kinds of possibilities. And just as luckily, [Ben Krasnow] got his hands on some EDM gear to try out, with fascinating results. As [Ben] explains, at its heart EDM is just the use of a small arc to ablate metal from a surface. The arc is precisely controlled, both its frequency via an arc controller, and its location using CNC motion control. The arc controller has always been the sticking point for home EDM, but the one [Ben] tried out, a BaxEDM BX17, is squarely aimed at the small shop market. The whole test platform that [Ben] built has a decidedly home-brew look to it, with a CNC gantry rigged up to a water tank, an EDM drill head spinning the drill rods slowly, and an airless paint gun providing high-pressure process fluid. The video below shows that it works remarkably well nonetheless.
While we’re certainly keen to see [Ben]’s promised videos on EDM milling and cutting, we doubt we’ll line up to shell out €2,950 for the arc controller he used. If you have more courage than money, this mains-powered EDM might be a better fit.
Continue reading “[Ben Krasnow] Drills Really Small Holes With Electricity”