PCB Pen Holder Is Over The Top

Like most of us, [Arnov] used a spare coffee mug to hold pens on his desk. But there has to be a better way, right? Surely if you build a better mouse trap… or, in this case, a pen holder. He’d be the first to admit that he might have gotten a little carried away, but the result is an attractive pen holder made from PCB material, one of which is actually an active circuit board.

The pen holder has some power management, as there’s a rechargeable battery that allows it to charge devices such as a smartphone or an embedded board. The power is also available for LEDs in the pen holder. The PCBs are bound together with 3D printed brackets.

The non-functioning PCBs still have patterns etched to make them more interesting looking. This is one of those things that isn’t technically a big deal, but we really liked the look of it, which was quite professional. We’ve seen PCBs used as enclosures before, but making the pattern and improving light transmission by removing the solder mask were nice touches.

If you don’t like the idea of making enclosures from PCB material, don’t forget they can form other components, as well. Clever arrangements can build resistors, capacitors, and inductors not to mention exotic transmission line elements.

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Whiteboard Plotter Rocks Three Colors And An Eraser

AutoWhiteboardBot’s business end, with three markers.

[td0g]’s AutoWhiteboardBot is not just any 3D printed whiteboard plotter, because it also sports a triple-marker carrier and on-board eraser! The device itself hangs from stepper motors, which take care of moving the plotter across the whiteboard, and the trick to making the three colors work was to incorporate retractable dry-erase markers. A spherical Geneva drive-based assembly on the plotter rotates the pen cartridge, and a plunger activates the chosen color. Erasing, arguably the easiest thing to do on a whiteboard, is done by a piece of felt. 3D printed parts are on Thingiverse and [td0g] says software is coming soon. It’s a clever device, especially the method of accommodating multiple colors with retractable markers.

AutoWhiteboardBot hangs from motors which pull it around, but we’ve also seen a SCARA-type robot writing away on a whiteboard. Watch the video embedded below, which begins with sped-up footage of AutoWhiteboardBot drawing in different colors as it slides across the board surface.

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Give Workshop Pencils A Flush-Mounted Home

Pencils and pens are apt to go wandering in a busy workshop if they don’t have a handy storage spot. For most of us a soup can or an old coffee mug does the trick, but for a prettier and more useful holder [Stuff I Made] has a short video demonstrating a storage unit made from an elbow fitting and a scrap piece of plywood. He cuts a plywood disk that is friction-fit into one end of the elbow, then it gets screwed into a wall making an attractively flush-mounted holder in a convenient spot.

With the right joint the bottom of the holder remains accessible, as a 90 degree bend would be no good. With a shallower joint angle, a regular screwdriver can still reach the mounting screw and it’s possible to access the bottom of the holder just in case it needs cleaning or something small falls inside. You can see the process and results in the video embedded below. Not bad for one screw, a spare joint, and a scrap piece of plywood.

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