3D Printing, Maker, Woodworking

I Built a Shoe Cabinet

Our front entryway usually looks something like this:

Those are bins to hold shoes; they’re uncharacteristically empty in this picture, but with as many as seven kids in the house at any given time, they’re usually overflowing (and not nice to look at).

We decided to get a shoe cabinet to keep the shoes (and their smells) hidden. Ikea’s HEMNES shoe cabinet was our top choice:

but it wouldn’t be quite big enough, and it wouldn’t make productive use out of all of the space by the door. I decided instead to build my own custom version of HEMNES.

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CNC, Maker, Woodworking

I Made the Bower Power Industrial Tripod Fan

My wife came across this DIY tutorial from Bower Power on how to make your own industrial-style tripod fan, and she loved it. Of course, what my baby wants, my baby gets:

I cut the tripod center on my CNC router because I still need to justify its purchase.  Leave a note in the comments if you want the Inventables Easel design for this.

I should have made the spokes wider because the one that has the grain running across it perpendicularly broke off less than five minutes after assembling the fan for the first time. If it breaks again, I have some ideas about an alternate method for attaching the legs that will be much less fragile.

The tripod assembly before staining.

The tripod assembly after staining. I used 2×6 hangars because the hardware store didn’t stock the long 2×10 hangars. This fan was originally white, but I disassembled it and spray-painted it with oil-rubbed bronze spray paint, although the color looks more like wrought iron.

The finished product. It really blows!

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Backyard Chickens, Maker, Woodworking

Building a gravity chicken feeder (for gravity feeding, not gravity chickens)

It’s not that I don’t enjoy feeding our chickens every day, but when they started pecking at my toes because their food dish was empty for too long (a.k.a. more than five seconds), I decided to build a gravity-powered feeder that would keep them fed for weeks at a time.

Here’s the finished product. Note the happy chickens who are not pecking at my toes.

There are two main aspects of a gravity feeder. One: a hopper that you can empty feed into, and two: an opening at the bottom that is big enough for the chickens can eat from but small enough that it doesn’t continually spill all of the feed onto the ground.

With this in mind, I free-handed a chute design on some half-inch exterior plywood left over from building the coop.

The rest of the feeder is just rectangles of plywood.

It was hard to get a photo of it, but I also added an angled piece of plywood at the bottom of the feeder to divert feed towards the front. This reduces the amount of feed that needs to be added to the feeder before the chickens can reach it.

I added a hinged cover for the bottom of the feeder in case we decide to restrict the hens’ feeding times. For now, I just lifted it open and held it up with a screw.

The lid is another piece of plywood with a basic handle and guides on the bottom to fit it into place.

Tada! The total build time was about an hour plus another 20 minutes for paint. We’ll see whether I need to make any modifications, but for now, it’s working as expected.

Update: The chickens were spilling a lot of feed while they ate, so I added a lip to the front of the trough so they have to reach in to eat, and the amount of wasted feed has dropped to almost zero.

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3D Printing, Maker, Woodworking

Look at what I did in the bathroom!

My wife requested a cabinet to hang above the toilet in our downstairs bathroom, and she sent me a link to this Shanty 2 Chic design as an example of what she wanted. Usually, I would draw up my own plans, customizing them based on the materials I have and the space I’m filling. This time, I decided to just follow the S2C plans exactly since the size was just right for our bathroom.

I don’t have a lot of build pictures, but apart from using half-inch plywood for the carcass instead of 1x dimensional lumber, my build looked the same as the Shanty 2 Chic tutorial.

All of the non-plywood wood is 3/4″ pine.

Instead of buying the same custom hardware kit that Shanty 2 Chic used ($125), I bought this set of barn door rollers on Amazon for $28.

The rollers didn’t come with a rail to roll on, so I made my own by resawing a 1×2 down to a little less than 3/8″ wide and painting it with an oil-rubbed bronze paint that matched the rollers’ finish pretty closely.

The door is five 1x4s joined together with biscuits and glue. The stain is Varethane’s Kona, and the paint is Glidden’s Creamy, the same scheme as our kitchen table and garbage cabinet.

To prevent the rollers from slipping off the end of the rail, I 3D-printed some endcaps for the rail:

You can also see one of the spacers I printed to hold the rail away from the cabinet since the roller needs about an inch of clearance from the face of the cabinet. The spacers were just cubes with a void for the bolt to pass through.

I could have cut them out of wood, but it was handy to be able to print the exact right size without any fuss.

After taking the bathroom door off so I could get the cabinet inside, I hung it above the toilet with care, in hopes that extra toilet paper rolls soon would be there.

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Backyard Chickens, Maker, Woodworking

There ain’t nobody here but us chicken coops

My wife texted me this about six weeks ago. She had ended up in a farm supply store with her mom and our kids, and they had baby chicks for sale:

We ended up skipping the duck, but six weeks later, we have two six chickens and a very sturdy coop.

I began buying coop materials as soon as the chicks came home, but I only really started building in earnest when they first escaped their cardboard brooder in the laundry room.

I bought plans for a 6’x10′ coop from The Garden Coop.  At their request, I’m not including any in-progress construction shots, but I will say that the $30 for the plans was money well-spent. The hardware kit they sell was also worth the money, if only to avoid a couple dozen trips to Home Depot.

The six chicks are now pullets — three Bantams and three Gold Sex Links. (Gold Sex Links? I think I saw that advertised in a spam email once.) We moved them into the coop full-time once they reached six weeks, and they seem very happy. Chickens lack the ability to smile or otherwise describe their feelings, so their happiness is a subjective judgment on my part.

They won’t start laying eggs for another few months, at which point we can begin the long journey towards breaking even against the tens of dollars we would have spent each month on grocery store eggs.

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CNC, Maker, Woodworking

Artisanal CNC-Carved Growth Chart

My kids have been requesting a growth chart, so I made one with my X-Carve. I used red oak left over from when I built our dining room table.

It took three separate carves to get all six feet of numbers and inch delimiters carved since the X-Carve’s workable area is only about 30 inches long. The trickiest part was ensuring that the board was positioned exactly right for each new carve so that all of the measurement marks would remain accurate.

I spray-painted and then sanded the front of the board, leaving the recessed numbers and inch markers a glossy black.

For a finish, I abstained from stain but applied a couple coats of polyurethane so that any pencil or Sharpie markings we make will still be easily readable.

I put an eye hook in each end of the board and then drilled a screw through them to attach the chart to the wall. This seemed like the simplest way to secure the board to the wall but also have very precise control over its position. This ensured that the height markings are accurate, since the chart doesn’t start at 0’0″ because the baseboard moulding would interfere.

I’m happy to report that I am still the same height as I was in high school.

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