Sanctum Upgrades: New Pages for New Maker Workflows

My recent work on projects has required me to expand my options as a maker, adding new setups to my arsenal. Instead of letting these get lost in the flow of posts, I’ve added them as pages.

The main page is here, and also on the left side of every page:
Manufacturing Setups

I’ve added two new setups, for spraypainting and electronics work, and I’ve also crosslinked my existing page for 3D printing equipment.

Keytar Accents and Details

After finishing the keytar’s primer/color coat, I started prepping to do the details. As mentioned in a previous post, I was using Rub’n’Buff to give a bit of a metallic finish to the details.

Like with any good detail work (unless perhaps you have a LOT more skill and confidence than I do), I prepped the sections I was going to accent by taping around the parts I wanted to add color too. This helps keep the transition between colors sharper and cleaner. It used a lot of painter’s tape and prep time, but it was worth it. I also taped around the feet on the backside of the case to protect the areas around them when sanding. I… kinda forgot to tape over them before painting, and I needed to remove the paint so that the rubber feet would work properly.

It can take a while to tape around these to my satisfaction, as I’m trying to preserve a lot of detail in the process and not look sloppy. It took a lot of small bits of tape, and some work with an exacto blade. As an example of what I’m talking about, here’s how I had taped up the universal greeblie for painting. I had to be careful to tape around all those curves.

Once I finished taping the pieces up, and through a bit of trial and error, I was able to add something of a metallic finish that I had wanted. Here it is, before and after removing the tape (there may have been an extra application of Rub’N’Buff between photos). Note the amount of extra finish that was on the protective tape that didn’t end up on the surrounding black paint.

Finished with the accents, I started decorating with stickers. I had a bit of trouble with some of them, and I’m not entirely happy with the results but, eh, you live and learn. I know a bit more of what to expect the next time I do something similar. The vinyl sticker with my logo was the hardest one to put in.

The others took a bit of planning for placement, but weren’t so bad to apply, as each sticker was a single solid piece.

After applying all that, I had to apply some more paint. A few coats of glossy clear enamel to protect everything and seal it in, and a coat of matte clear paint to knock the gloss off. The results were alright, but I think if I were to redo this I would use a painted on clear lacquer, for a thicker, stronger coat. Some of the stickers don’t adhere as well as they should, and the spray painted clear coat doesn’t force it down like a lacquer might. I also noticed that with some hard objects it was easy to accidentally add marks to the surface of the paint, it’s something about the clear coats, but at this point I don’t want to worry with attempting a fix, and I’ll just call it “built-in weathering.”

Oh, before I forget, one of my lessons learned I would like to share.

DO NOT LET YOUR SPRAYPAINTED PLA PLASTIC PARTS DRY IN THE SUN. I started getting warping in one of my parts because I didn’t realize it was in direct sunlight, and I had to try an emergency repair with clamping while it was still flexible.

Here’s all the parts after stickering and painting. Oh, and I was painting a door opening tool at the same time as well.

It was around this point that I decided that I wanted to make sure I finished the USB hub add-on and a more integrated power switch before reassembling it, but that’s a topic for another post.

Let me know if you have any questions about the processes in these posts. I’m trying to write these over a month after the fact, and have been limiting some of the details in order to progress forward.

Sanctum Upgrades: Rotating Miniatures Display

I decided that I wanted to be able to display and easily access my collection of D&D miniatures. I came across a concept for reusing empty filament spools. Their version had faceplates, but for the moment I just want to at least get this thing functional. I stacked my empty spools, and connected them with some tacky material.

It’s convenient, showing off my minis for ease of access… but the back half is hard to see and reach. This is where the turntable comes in. I had tried one version where it was a plate sitting on a single skateboard bearing, but that was too brittle and the whole thing wobbled (the spools make it top-heavy). So, I switched to this design:

You can find the original turntable design on Thingiverse here:

Manual Turntable by printedprops

I didn’t need the top plate, seeing as the bottom spool provides a surface to rotate on, but the bottom plate does provide a much more stable base to rotate the entire tower on.

I may end up upgrading the tower to have the nice stonework facings here, but so far I don’t want to give up the printer runtime for it. It was the inspiration for this project, though.

At any rate, I now have a way of seeing what minis I have, instead of having to dig through plastic containers. Maybe post-quarantine I can use it for hosting some RPGs.

Sanctum Upgrades: Mad Scientist Light Switch Cover

Every mad scientist’s lair needs an unusual light switch! I’ve had my eye on this one for years, but between printer size and reliability issues, I hadn’t had a chance to make this one until recently.

This one is actually someone’s remix of one that has been on Thingiverse for years. I think it came out really well. I had to use a bit of tack on the switch to get the “nubbin” to stay on well.

You can find the files (again, not mine) here:

Frankenstein Light Switch Redux 1.0 by Muckychris

I think there is a bit of a gap between the plate and the wall, so I’m probably going to put some weather stripping on the back for a cleaner appearance.

“IGOR! Where did we put those brains again?”

Sanctum Upgrades: Card Protection/Organization

Sometimes I spend… quite a bit of money on games.  Some of them I’m not sure how long they will stay in print, and in any case, they would be expensive to replace.  In this case, here’s my copy of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid (and all of the existing expansions), or at least the cards for it.

In cases like this, I recommend protecting your investment.  Card sleeves are your friend, as many a collectible card gamer can tell you.  They protect the cards, allowing the game to last a lot longer (and protect resell value).  This game has some larger cards, but I found out they were tarot size, so there are card sleeves for those, too!

Another issue for games like this is that there are hundreds of cards, belonging to many different decks.  There are decks for each different ranger, each different monster, each minion, etc.  If they were to get jumbled together, it would be extremely tedious and time consuming to find what I wanted.  On top of that, these originally came out of about a dozen different boxes.

With the plethora of card games out there these days, it is easy to find a card sorter box, and get dividers for the cards.  I sorted the cards out by type, divided the decks, and labelled the dividers.  This facilitates much faster game nights, since people won’t have to sort through hundreds of cards to find the character they want to play.

With a setup like this, my game should last a long time, and be much faster and easier to set up.   I highly recommend doing this with similar games to save yourself alot of headaches, and keep the momentum going at game nights.

Long setup times can kill the excitement of a game night, and I’d hate to be known for hosting a preventably bad game night experience.

Sanctum Upgrades: Resurrecting the CoLiDo DIY, Part 2

I’ve continued to have major issues with the printer, so I’ve been reading even more, and stocking up on new parts and tools so I can perform more intensive maintenance and upgrades on the 3D printer.

One of the issues that I’ve had is that sometime mid-print the printer will appear to lose track of where the carriages are located, and also appear to not register the end-stops.

End-Stop Replacement:

I finally branched out into soldering, and got a soldering setup and heat gun.


I’ve used this to replace all the end stops.  I cut the wires, and spliced new ones on, albeit clumsily.  There is an extra layer of heat shrink that I apparently thought was a good idea at the time, but I chose the wrong size.


Build Plate Upgrade:

I decided to attach a metal build plate onto the printer, so that it would be smoother and more resilient than the standard plastic build plate.  I’m tired of having a plastic build plate that gets deeply scratched and deformed by a hot nozzle.  I think that having a metal bed will eliminate some of those issues, though it might cause more gear grinding issues if the printer loses it’s z-axis calibration again.

I had planned to do this by either 1) using binder clips to attach the plate or 2) use 3D printed mounts (along with some purchased screws, springs, and nuts).  I found that the binder clips that I bought were far too big for the printer, and also realized that I would need to make some gcode changes to account for their presence so that the nozzle wouldn’t run into them.   Even going with smaller clips would have had this issue.


Photo of clips for illustrative purposes only

I also realized that the springs I had ordered were entirely too long (and possibly too stiff) to be used to mount the metal bed.  Maybe I’ll find a way to re-purpose these parts for another project later.


So, I went with my default solution to problems.

Command strips.  I taped the plate to the plastic bed, and seems like it might work out alright.  I used the tape because with command strips, if it doesn’t work out you can easily remove them.  Down the line I’m wondering if I might need to replace them and add some sort of supports underneath the plate so it is even less likely to flex (it’s only supported in those 4 corners).


Filament Spool Issues:

A separate issue I have is that loading and unloading filaments of different types was a pain.  The original spool holder that came with the printer requires disassembling and reassembling the holder around the spool every time I want to change filament.


Also, from the angle the filament travels there is clearly a lot of friction over time.  The feed hole was originally round.


I’m not sure whether this filament drag was contributing to some of the issues with the print head moving in unexpected ways, so I tried out adding an easier-to-use spool mount on top of the printer.


The large parts are 3D printed, but it also uses 2 skateboard bearings.  I didn’t design this one, I found it on Thingiverse here:

Printrite horizontal spool holder

I figured that it would make loading and unloading filament much easier, and the different position plus the bearings would reduce any drag caused by the angles the filament had been travelling through.

Sadly, I’ve found that the spool will occasionally fall off the top of the printer when I try to use the new holder, and with a heavy spool that is too much of a risk of damage to the rest of the printer, so I’ve had to stop using it.  I may end up trying the version with the steps on it, in the hopes that the steps will keep the spools from falling.

I also designed and test printed a spool holder design of my own, but that ended up being it’s own separate set of issues.

Note:  This post is a case in point of why logging/blogging can be good for your hobbies.  You look at what you’ve done, what your problems were/are, and re-evaluate while you write.  I’m catching up on this a few weeks later, and I had forgotten that there was a stepped version of the spool holder that I can try.

To be continued…

Sanctum Upgrades: Pencil Cups

This is actually two items, but they are similar enough I felt I should lump them together.  I got tired of finding writing utensils everywhere in my living room (I’ve been working out of there a lot while my desktop computer was down).  I also got tired of having to dig around in the top of my toolbox for my 3D printing spatulas.

As a 3D printing guy… when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  Or in this case, I’m not gonna buy a pencil cup when I have a 3d printer, time, and excess material lying around anyway.

I printed a pencil cup for the pencils and pens, and modified a dice tower model into a tool holder/pencil cup for the spatulas.  I figured I wanted something thematically appropriate for such items in my sanctum.

20200504_004144 (1).jpg 20200504_004023 (1).jpg

If you want to make your own, you can find the models here:

Dodecahedron Cup (by Jayrobox)

Cyberpunk Tool/Pen/Pencil Cup (a remix by me)

In case you are wondering how that obviously top-heavy tool holder is staying up, I used a bit of tacky to secure it to the work bench.  This stuff:


It’s some stuff I originally bought to hold items in place for painting, but it is useful for securing things in general.  As a kid I remember using a blue version of this for posters and craft projects.

Sanctum Upgrades: Resurrecting the CoLiDo DIY, Part 1

I decided, what with all this extra time at home, that I’d reassemble my old CoLido DIY 3D printer and increase my range of capabilities and throughput.

Self Education:

I’ve been working on educating myself more on FDM 3D printing, so I’ll have a better background for diagnosing issues and fixing problems.  Here’s my reading list so far:

3D Printing 101

This book has some useful info I hadn’t considered, but needs a trip to the editor for readability.


3D Printing Failures: 

This book has a lot of useful information, minor editing/clarity issues, but is definitely based on a lot of experience and has helped me to better build my list of setting checks, maintenance items, and tests to run.


3D Printing 101 video series.

This series is on the Maker’s Muse channel on Youtube.  I haven’t made it all the way through yet, but I plan on running it in the background a lot to try to absorb more information while making progress on this and other projects.

3D Printing 101 By Maker’s Muse


Early Work:

I’ve updated Octoprint to run multiple instances so I can control both printers from the same Raspberry Pi.  Here are the links I’ve used so far for it.  It doesn’t work perfectly, but at least it works for now.

Setting up Octoprint for Multiple Printers

Multiple Printers and Octoprint

I still want to get it set up with the Wyze camera, but so far no joy.  Here’s a link to some of the materials I’ve seen compiled on the subject so far.

Octoprint and Wyze camera

I’ve been tweaking and updating the CoLiDo’s settings within Simplify3D for better print quality.

Bed levelling went pretty well.  I ran a Calicat (calibration model) and a temperature tower, which both showed significant issues.



I recalibrated the e-steps, and reprinted the temperature tower.  This showed little if any improvement.

I cleaned the extruder gear and radiator with canned air, but that didn’t seem to have much impact.

I also lubricated all the rods and pulleys, tightened the belts, and tightened all the screws on the printer.

And I still had issues.

To be continued…




Sanctum Upgrades: Remote Control

This one is really straightforward.  I kept losing track of my remote control.  A little bit of velcro command strip on the wall, and a strip on the back of the remote, and I had a standard place to put it back… but even then I still often forgot to put it back.  I finally decided to turn the remote sideways, adding some more command strips to the wall to support that.  From this position, It’s pointed at the tv and can be used while on the wall.  The second remote I happened to find while going through old electronics, and realized it still worked to control the blu-ray player, so I added it as well (better functionality and I don’t forget to switch which device is controlled).

Sanctum Upgrades: PPE Wall

I’m trying something new.  I thought I’d start breaking down some of the updates that clutter my other posts, particularly in the realm of trying to make my sanctum work better for me.  Maybe these will give you guys some ideas of how to customize your sanctums for the way you work.

This week’s upgrade: my Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) wall.


Starting simply, I was fed up with the way I had my gear stored at/on my workbench.  Several items kept ending up on the bench or in my toolbox, which gets in the way.  I went to my old favorite for problem solving around here:  command strips.  I found a section of wall I wasn’t using for anything, added some command hooks for several items, and 3D printed a modified version of a mount for safety glasses.  I mounted everything with command strips, spacing everything out to be accessible.

Potential enhancements:  I still need a spot for my welding goggles and box of disposable gloves.  I haven’t figured out where or how I want to mount those yet.