3D Printing, Maker, Programming

Today’s Functional Print: Baby Gate Support

In today’s “No, don’t go up there” news, I’ve printed a custom baby gate support.

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Based on a design by Thingiverse user Printed_Solid, this support allows a pressure gate to be used against a post without attaching a wall cup, which would leave a permanent screw hole. I updated the original design to have longer and thicker corners to prevent strong children from pulling it off of the post, and the entire part is customizable to fit your specific post.

The SCAD script is available on GitHub, and the part can be customized and downloaded on Thingiverse.

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3D Printing, Games, Maker, OpenSCAD, Programming

Today’s Functional Print: Board Game Piece Bases

In today’s “do you think this is some sort of game?” news, I’ve designed and printed some boardgame piece bases.

These were printed specifically for my son’s “Thomas and Friends Tracks and Trestles” game, which was missing two of its bases, but the design is customizable to fit almost any size gamepiece.

The OpenSCAD script and STL file are available on GitHub, and you can customize your own gamepiece base on Thingiverse.

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3D Printing, Maker, OpenSCAD, Programming

Today’s Functional Print: Stove Knob

In today’s “customizable knob” news, I’ve designed and printed a customizable knob.

When we moved into our current house, the knob to control the stovetop fan was missing:

IMG_4271

After six months of procrastinating and one hour of OpenSCAD, it now looks like this:

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Now I don’t have to turn on the fan with a pliers!

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The OpenSCAD script and STL file are available on GitHub, and you can create your own customized knob in Thingiverse.

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3D Printing, Maker, OpenSCAD, Programming

Today’s Functional Print: Coat Rack Pegs

In today’s “I finally unpacked my 3D printer” news, I printed some pegs for a coat rack to replace the original pegs that we lost during a cross-country move.

IMG_4113

The base of each peg is flared to ensure a tight fit into the hole, but it also has a hole in the bottom to allow it to be attached with screws. (A screw could also be added to expand the base and tighten the fit, even if it’s not necessary to keep the peg attached.)

The OpenSCAD script is available at GitHub, or you can customize it on Thingiverse.

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3D Printing, Maker, OpenSCAD

LEGO Gender Equality

At the suggestion of Thingiverse user MrZaius, I’ve added support for female dual-sided bricks to my LEGO-compatible brick OpenSCAD library. The library already had support for male dual-sided bricks, so this is great progress towards eliminating the gender dual-sidedness gap.

A cross-section of a female dual-sided plate.

A cross-section of a female dual-sided plate.

Female dual-sided bricks are twice as tall as their equivalent single-sided brick in order to allow for enough space for the studs of other bricks to fit in on each side. You can try making your own customizable LEGO-compatible brick with the Thingiverse Customizer.

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3D Printing, Maker, OpenSCAD, Programming

Print your own LEGO-compatible bricks

Given that I have a 3D printer and a five-year-old son, it was inevitable that I would eventually print some LEGO-compatible bricks.1 I knew that bricks were a popular “look what I can print” demo, but after I tried out a few of the popular printable LEGO-compatible models [1] [2], I found that none of them were designed accurately enough to reliably interlock with genuine LEGO bricks, and none of the libraries included support for any shapes besides the basic rectangular brick.

To solve this problem, I’ve written a LEGO-compatible brick generator that is more feature-rich than any other. It has support for customizing the following brick aspects:

  • Length, width, and height
  • Shape: brick, tile (smooth-topped brick), wing, slope (brick with an angled face), curve (brick with a curved face), or baseplate.
  • Size: LEGO or DUPLO
  • Hollow or solid studs (the little bumps on top of the bricks)
  • Horizontal rod holes
  • Vertical axle holes
  • Notched sides on wings so that the wing can be attached to a plate.
  • Slope/curve length/angle
  • Curve style: convex or concave
  • Double-sided bricks (studs on both the top and bottom)
  • Roadways: smooth sections on the top of a brick

These characteristics can combine to create millions of unique bricks. You can generate anything from this vanilla 2×4:

lego-brick

to this extensively customized brick that you’ll never be able to buy from LEGO:

lego-slope

This assortment of bricks contains examples of all of the available customizations:

customized-lego

But this is still just a tiny fraction of the possible permutations.

Here are a few bricks I’ve printed. I haven’t gone crazy with customizations, mainly because what I print is dictated by what my son asks for, and he’s only been requesting wings, wings, and more wings so he can build spaceships.

The script is available on GitHub, and I’ve published it on Thingiverse as well for easy customizing. (It’s by far my most popular Thingiverse model.) Download the script, print your own bricks, and send me a photo.

1. At the request of the LEGO corporation, homemade bricks should be called “LEGO-compatible bricks,” not “LEGO bricks.” FYI.

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