Category Archives: 3D Printing

“Get a scan with your tricorder”

I’ve been working on a 3d print of a tricorder.   I’ve wanted one ever since I was a kid.  I found the model here: Tricorder

I figured I’d print it as a test of the new spool of  “silver” filament that I got recently.  I’ve still got a ways to go on finishing it.  Here are the images I have of it so far:


It took a little bit of post-processing to get it to where it is now.  As-printed, the hinges don’t allow the full range of motion of the flip portion.  I had to carve them out a bit.  However, in the process of testing, the gripping portion of the hinge brackets broke, and they were never great to begin with.  I still need to find a way to manufacture and attach pieces to hold the hinges in so the bottom doesn’t fall off anymore.  And my printer just started going haywire in my last attempt at printing parts for the hinges.  It’s now deadline for a bit, but that’s another story.

The other issue is that I printed it at the “Fast” setting in Simplify3D for my printer, and it seems mostly good enough for me.  I do think I made one mistake.  Since this was a wide but not terribly tall print, I printed this with rafting, to make it easier to remove from the print bed.  The tradeoff was the terrible surface quality on the bottom of it, as you can see in the picture on the right.  I’m still debating whether to try to fix the surface with a filler, which would require me to then sand, prime, and pain the whole thing, or just to call it wear and tear from usage.

I also need to find, print, and attach the appropriate decals.  I’m considering asking a friend who has a machine for printing and cutting vinyl to make the decals for me.

Anyway, I’m much closer to one of my childhood goals of having my own tricorder!Tricorder_Closed.jpg

This also prompted an interesting conversation with my RPG group.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”  ~Arthur C. Clarke

Have a character whose backstory is that they are a Vulcan who is posing as an elf wizard, and relate every spell back to him using a device that creates the same effect.  A tricorder being used for Detect Magic was the first example.  Then there was stuff like using various settings on a phaser for various fire spells.  Just a thought.  It would also explain a wizard not having any local or historical knowledge.

Ghostbusters Proton Grenade Costume Prop

This is one of my favorite designs now.  I’ve been working on my Ghostbuster costume lately, and it got me thinking.

I knew I had seen some various ones, but the one I liked best is here:

Proton Grenade Article

(from the above link)

So I designed my own in AutoDesk Fusion 360 and printed it out the past couple of days.proton grenade

You can find the files here:

Proton Grenade on Thingiverse

Fair warning: the pieces might not fit properly, I sized them in different pieces of software while trying to figure out how the tolerances would work out and was kinda guesstimating.  Also, the original model has an antenna thingie on the side, which is snapped off in my print.  I wasn’t paying enough attention when I pulled it off the printer.

Oculus Touch Controls Wall Mount

I found this wall mount on Thingiverse a while ago, but hadn’t taken the time to print it before.  It’s mounted with command strip tape, so we’ll see how long that holds up.  There were other versions that used screws, but I prefer not to put holes in my walls when i can avoid it.

Oculus Touch Wall Mount Command Strip Version
There’s another add on option for hanging the headset on that same mount, but I don’t think I trust the single command strip to hold that much weight.  I’m still weighing my options, but I would like to have some stand or mount for it to keep it from taking up horizontal space on my desk or table when not in use.

Headset Hanger Add On

Image is from Thingiverse at the link above.


The printer is up and running again.  I reattached the belt with the new replacement part, lubed the rods and z axis screws with a spray can of white lithium grease, put a couple of drops of sewing machine oil on the pulley for the y axis, and tightened all the screws after reassembly.

Now all that’s left is calibration.  The xyz axis calibration cube came out alright, but the surface finish test and the surfaces of my minis could be better.  I also need to figure out why the hands keep getting sliced into two shells each instead of being merged as a unit.


Broken Belt Retainer

I tried to tighten the y-axis belt a few weeks ago, then found out in my first test print after maintenance that something wasn’t quite right, because it failed before the first layer was finished, and slammed back into the y-axis stop.

I was busy for a bit, then finally got around to trying to fix it today, and maybe complete some other maintenance on my printer that I’ve been needing to do for a while, but had never done.  I found out that one of the screws wouldn’t tighten on the belt retainer, and thought I had somehow stripped the screw/hole.  It was at a weird angle and I was tired of bending so much to get to it, so I took the whole assembly off the printer and started looking at it. Just so I had a better idea of what was going on, I tried to back out the other screw on that retainer so i could maybe look at it from the other side, and then I saw that the retainer rotated in a way I hadn’t expected.  I flipped it back over, and saw what you see in the picture above.  That’s a different problem than I had expected.

I’ve contacted CoLiDo, and I’m hoping they can ship me a replacement part and instructions on how to install it.


The Snapmaker is a 3D printer that recently came out of a Kickstarter, and is now available for purchase off-the-shelf.  I’ve had my on it for a while… but it appears I haven’t posted about it on here yet.  So here goes!


It’s a 3D printer, laser engraver, and CNC miller all in one machine!  You can snap in and snap out the interchangeable manufacturing heads, depending on which one you want to use.  It’s a bundle of 3 different machining systems commonly found in Makerspaces, and should be great for those of us who don’t have the space and money to get all of those.  It’s got a full metal frame, and the modular design allows for it to be reconfigured and upgraded with parts that they will be adding later.

The featured image shows the current iteration, but they’ve got a few others they have shown that they are planning for down the road.  Personally, I’m waiting for what I believe is called the Snapmaker Pro (I got the name from a page that I’ve had trouble tracking down again, but it’s not listed as such on the main site).  It has a two vertical column design, which I think should be more precise and stable, and a larger production area.  I don’t feel like downsizing from my current print area available on the Colido DIY.


I contacted the manufacturer to see when this would be available, and they said it would be towards the end of this year, so this might be a Christmas present to myself!

Not sure how I’m going to handle ventilation with it yet (particularly with the CNC aspect), but I’ve already got a couple project ideas.  Hopefully I won’t meet with a terrible fate in the process…


I think it’d be fun to do a cosplay of the Happy Mask Salesman… with actual wooden masks.

Loose Printer Belt

My 3D printer errored out about a week ago, but I haven’t gotten around to fixing it yet.

It’s an error I’ve had before, while printing, usually in prints that are over about an inch tall, where the print head rams into the y-stop, turns off the heater, and tries to continue printing… with an incorrect reference frame (it forgets where the center is).

I’ve talked to Colido about how to fix this before… and apparently it’s a loose belt.  That’s a really weird glitch given the symptoms, but the fix worked.  Shows that I have more to learn about the interactions between the hardware and software.

Now I’ve just gotta make time for the fix.  The instructions they directed me to are below.


The Yawning Portal

Given the Tales from the Yawning Portal hardcover, and that the next upcoming hardcovers involve Waterdeep, I’m considering the idea of building a model of the Yawning Portal Tavern itself as a jumping off point for players at the local game store for adventure league.  Here’s the map from 4e:


If I were to build this, it’d probably be from the wall behind the bar to the right side, as the other rooms are not likely as critical for most adventures.  I already have stockpiled the files for most of the trimmings in a tavern, though it will take a bit of print time.

I also need to consider a couple things:

What do I want to make the base out of?

How will I make and grid the floor?

How much of it do I want to be moveable items vs fixed items?

Can I make a cover for the well to act as a stage if I want it to stand in for another tavern?