Novelty Shelving Unit

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The novelty of this shelving unit is that it was made without using any screws or glue. When it’s pushed, it wavers, but items do not fall off unless they were already unsteady. The video above shows me pushing the unit with glass milk bottles on the top shelf. The bottles did not fall off.

This shelving unit happened incidentally. My original intention was to make a dividing screen for the living area in my apartment. I was passing a billboard while riding a bus during the Fall and it gave me the idea to use a spiral shape for the feet. I don’t remember what I saw on the billboard, but I remember thinking, “Hey! Spirals can wobble without falling. That should work.”

Later, I modeled spiral feet to fit 1/4″ dowels and connectors to link sets together. I tested the feet, dowels, and connectors setup by placing different weights of fabric on top. I found that the setup was only stable with chiffon weight fabrics. Chiffon was too sheer for my purposes and I abandoned the idea of making a divider with the setup.3D printed Quarter Inch Dowel Caps

Bin project

Bin project

I needed a bin to store leftover wood pieces and thought the spiral feet, dowels, and connectors may work. I purchased a wood plaque from Micheal’s and drilled holes at the corners. Something was required to hold connectors at different heights. I felt I could not depend on small screws to bind connectors to the 1/4″ dowels and came up with the idea of tubes. I put a bin together with the tubes and it held just long enough to post a photograph on Instagram. Another failure. By the way, the wood plaque found a home as a small table, along with maple dowels, for holding my humidifier.

The leaning of the dowels in the bin project reminded me of the cabinet project. I used the same dowel size in that project and the cabinet swayed to one side. The shelf provided stability for the portion it connected and I realized cross sections were needed every 8 or 9 inches to prevent swaying. I was able to salvage a shorter cabinet from the taller cabinet and it has supported my printer/copier for months. I decided to apply this lesson to the feet, dowels, and connectors setup. The tubes were doing a good job of keeping the connectors in position. I figured they would do the same with wood shelves and they did.

Wood plaque table

Wood Plaque Table

One thing I realized was that the 3D printed tubes could be substituted with vinyl tubing or any sturdy material having an inner diameter of 1/4″. The green shelving unit was made with vinyl tubes. The tubes were difficult to put on until I was 90% finished and discovered I could warm the plastic a little with my hands. When warmed, the tube was easier to stretch and straighten.

I adore my shelving units! I use them to hold electronics, plastic bins, and knick knacks. Files for the 3D parts are available for free on Thingiverse. An Instructable shows how to make one.

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.

3D Print TV Stand/Cabinet Project

cabinet tv 1My October to November project is a TV stand/cabinet. I plan to make several similar cabinets to create a clean look in my small living room. I have modeled all of the 3D parts for printing. I may make adjustments to the design, such as adding dowels in the middle, but I won’t determine that until I print all of the bottom parts. I plan to print the bottom first and move up the sides.cabinet tv 3 2

The top of the cabinet will be 45” x 12” x ¾” Oak. There will be four 1” x 2” square wood dowels on the corners; 31 ¼ length. I will attach four steel furniture legs to the bottom. I checked the Sagulator and using the 45″ length is okay for my 22 lb. television.

Inspired by a short film I saw about Japanese furniture making, I have designed this project to use as little hardware as possible. There will be ¼” round wood dowels crossing throughout the PLA/PHA filament 3D printed parts. I have placed holes for short wood dowels to connect parts, depthwise. I found the lengthwise dowels served their purpose well in keeping parts aligned in the hamper stool. I wished I had used them more in that project.cabinet tv 2

PLA/PHA is not the same as wood typically used for fine Japanese furniture. I have mentally prepared myself to use wood glue or hardware to connect pieces if I find that my original plan fails.

I have a few more projects for which I have modeled parts. I will post about them in the coming days.