Cabinet Project, Part 4

DSCN2746The 3D printed cabinet I designed almost 2 years ago is now a reality. When I struggled to finish printing parts on my RepRap Prusa I3 printer, a voice inside me said, “You are not going to be able to finish this.” I refused to listen to that voice. I struggled to find a way to print level, wide, flat parts. After months of trying, when nothing worked, I bought a different 3D printer, a Creality3D CR-10 Mini. I had a bit of a struggle with that one too in the beginning, but I was able to work things out and finish printing all the parts.

DSCN2738The cabinet measures 19″ in width, 11″ in depth, and 27 1/4″ in height (without casters). I used PLA/PHA natural and light green filaments by 3D Printlife, exclusively, to print the cabinet. My experience with table brackets and my hamper stool has shown me that PLA/PHA works well with wood. It has the strength and pliability to handle the contractions and expansion of pine wood under moist and dry conditions.

DSCN2741The cabinet was constructed in what I have termed wood channel style. Small diameter hardwood dowels align individual pieces by filling cavities. Wood channel style reduces the need for hardware, filament amounts, and printing time.

This is the first iteration of the cabinet. Hopefully, I will have completed a second iteration in a couple of months. A list of past cabinet posts follows as well as renders of how the cabinet would look in other PLA/PHA colors.

Previous Posts

Cabinet Project, Part 1
Cabinet Project, Part 2
Cabinet Project, Part 3

Renders of Cabinets in other PLA/PHA colors

Render of 3D printed cabinet in Rose Quartz

Rose Quartz

Render of 3D printed cabinet by Sandra James


Render of 3D printed cabinet by Sandra James

Sky Blue & Carbon

Hamper Stool, A Year Later

It has been over a year since I finished the hamper stool. The photograph above shows its current condition. The front has not changed much since I finished it. Only a couple of the spiral inserts have popped out on occasion. I cannot say the same for the inserts on the sides. I did not want to glue inserts into place in order to change colors whenever I change my shower curtain. I was tempted to glue them after months of trying different tapes to hold them in place. Instead, I came up with the idea of using wire to hold them in place. It is a haphazard solution, but they rarely fall out now.

DSCN2327The inserts were not falling out when I sat down, I could hear them falling when I was in another room. They would fall also, when I moved the stool, but not all the time. As I write this, I realize now what was causing them to fall; vibrations from trains. I live close to freight train tracks and the ground vibrates when trains travel by. I never connected the two events before now.

One other aspect about the stool was troublesome until I figured out a solution. I used plastic bumpers on the dowel tops under the lid. The two in the front were always coming off. I finally cut rings from small round cork pieces and attached them with wood glue. That has been working very well.

Would I make another one?

DSCN2330My answer to that is a resounding yes! I would be working on making one as a sewing stool this very minute if my 3d printer had not lost the ability to make prints wider than 3 inches. I would be finished with at least one cabinet too, if the printer was capable. Instead of trying to stress myself with replacing and configuring parts, I have decided to just get another printer next year. Plus, I would like one with a larger bed in order to make shoe soles.

Would I change anything?

Another resounding yes! I would reduce the number of screws, washers, and bolts by using wire to connect the casings and spiral inserts vertically.  Instead of regular nuts, I would use nylon nuts to prevent nuts from falling loose. I would make the length of the 2″ dowels 16″.

Overall, I love my hamper stool. It has been a useful asset and I still really like the spiral inserts.

Cabinet Project, Part 3

3D print cabinet renderThe bottom portion and a few side pieces of a cabinet smaller than the one shown in the render above has been printed. I decided to decrease the depth by removing the center parts for this first project. I was considering reducing the height as well, but I decided it was not worth making if I did not have the height I wanted.

Cabinet project partsThe photograph to the left shows just two of the 4 dowels needed to align the sides. The side dowels are missing as well. I need to decide if I will use regular dowels and clean out the holes or cut pieces from the long oak wood dowel pieces. One thing is certain. I will need to glue all the dowels. My confidence about excluding hardware has increased. I am pretty sure I will not need screws beyond those to attach the wheels.

Why has it taken so long since my last project post to get to this point? Well, if you are interested in learning about the trials and tribulations of owning a RepRap Prusa i3 printer, I can chronicle my experience in blog posts. I will make the effort if it will be useful. At this point, if someone asked me what is the best 3d printer to buy under $1,000, I could not give that person an answer. I have researched buying a different printer, but I always come back to tinkering with the one I have. Yet, I can not recommend buying one as a first printer. As I write this, I am thinking that creating my own pros and cons list might be helpful. I will give it some more thought.

I will post again when the project is finished.

Cabinet Project, Part 2

cabinet blue green cropAs I looked at the renders of the TV stand, I found that I did not want to have the square wood dowels showing when the door is opened.  After making the small table using regular PLA filament, I thought PLA/PHA filament should be able to handle 25 pounds per shelf and a total of 100 pounds altogether as a piece of furniture. I need to test this before I put my television on top. The rendered photograph at the top shows the altered design for a cabinet. I will concentrate on making a TV stand after I have printed a couple of cabinets.

DSCN1887(1)I have already printed the bottom front part corner of the cabinet. I printed one center part, but one of the corners did not adhere to the build plate well and the part did not print properly. A second attempt at printing the part failed too when filament became jammed in the throat of the printer.

Something else I did not consider initially is that I really need mobile pieces. The cabinet must have wheels. I attached wheels to the bottom of the print with the misshapen corners and removed them. The 30% fill I used for the print was sufficient to hold the 1/2″ wood screws I used.DSCN1892

After thinking about the wheels overnight, I realized that they need to be closer to the corner as the doors are likely to cause the cabinet to fall forward. Consequently, I must make the bottom of the print thicker as I will have more substantial wheels than the ones I used for testing to support the cabinet permanently.  This means too that I must reprint the bottom front corner again. That’s okay though because I wanted to reduce the printing time anyway. It required 18 hours to print and I do not like to have my printer running while I’m sleeping.

I will post again after I have printed the entire bottom portion and attached the wheels.

Hamper Stool Project Finished

The hamper stool project is finished! It is a piece of furniture that combines 3D printed polylactic acid (PLA) filament with wood. It started as a desire to capture the qualities of spiralising filament in a functional piece of furniture using a 8″ x 8″ x 7″ sized print bed. It ended with furniture reminiscent of ocean waves and capable of holding a decent amount of dirty laundry.
The Starfish in the photograph was 3D printed from a file created by CBiker and painted.