I ran my first 3D prints while I was a student at the DGP lab at the University of Toronto, on an ancient Z-Corp printer. But I didn't really get into 3D printing until I bought a Makerbot Replicator 2 and set it up in my shop at home. I was renovating my house at the time and I quickly realized that little plastic shapes could actually solve a lot of problems for me.
Since then I have designed many things, some of which even worked for their intended purpose. This page documents my more successful projects.
This lamp arm and base were created for our Meltables project in Autodesk Research. The arm was first designed as a 3D curve on the computer, and then approximated with a set of linear segments. The program generated 3D-printed jigs that I could slide onto a straight PVC pipe and use to cut notches with precise angles and locations. Then I warmed up the joints with a heat gun and folded them shut - easy! The base was designed in Fusion 360.
PipeBot, the Pipe-Climbing Robot
In the summer of 2015 I had a great Waterloo co-op, Lisa Zhang, and we were trying to build a robot that could 3D print a tube in space. The idea was that this robot you see on the right would slowly climb up the tube it was printing. I designed this climber robot in Fusion 360. It is a single 3D print on a multi-material Connex machine (the enclosed wheels are rubber material). Just pop in the stepper motors and up it goes! Lisa did manage to get the printing head working, but we did not manage to assemble everything before her term ended. (Click here for a video of the robot climbing!)
This is a diffuser for a standard ShopVac (actually mine is a RIDGID model, the Home Depot store brand, but they all have the same connectors). It plugs into the exhaust outlet and diffuses the airflow so that you don't get a fan blowing your sawdust around every time you vacuum (which kind of defeats the purpose). You can buy commercial diffusers but they are quite expensive and frankly I think mine might work better. Designed in Fusion 360.
My wife is a fan of heavy cast-iron skillets and frying pans, which cannot be stacked, lest the seasoning be ruined. But, they are a bit risky to hang on a regular hook - you certainly don't want them swinging around! So, I designed this custom hangar, which precisely fits the opening, can only be hooked/unhooked at just the right angle, and is internally reinforced for strength. Fits Lodge skillets. Designed in Fusion 360 and Meshmixer.
This hook was one of my first functional designs and I spent a long time perfecting it. You screw in the base with a drywall plug, and then twist on the hook. Originally I designed it for the ceiling but it also works well horizontally. Although it is only a friction fit, the twist-on bit is graduated so that it can be extremely tight, and the filament ridges will bind. My kitchen chandelier has been hanging from one of these for the last 3 years. Designed in Fusion 360 and Meshmixer.
Camera Shoulder Mount
I designed this mount for a Monoprice Action Camera using 123D Catch, Fusion 360, and Meshmixer. First I scanned myself and extracted a form-fitting shoulder brace. Then I modeled the camera clip attachment in Fusion 360, and finally used Meshmixer to create a transition that blended the clip into the shoulder brace, with a snap-in connector. This was part of my AU 2015 demo, so there is a quick demo video available.
My house has 4x3-inch downspouts, which are quite hard to find at Home Depot. Flexible angle joints for 4x3 downspouts are even harder to find. So, I made my own, that also transitions to a more standard spout size.
Wall Drill Guide
This is the first object I designed where I really considered "manufacturing constraints", ie overhangs. I went through many iterations to come up with a no-overhangs, strong, functional design. This shape allows you to drill a right-angle hole into a wall and catches the dust while you do it. No more moving furniture! Designed in Fusion 360.
Ceiling Drill Guide
It is quite tricky to catch the dust when drilling holes in the ceiling, as it can escape down the drill bit flutes. This does a passable job, though.
45-degree Drill Guide
Another drilling guide, this one for creating holes at a 45-degree angle. Since you can't see the tip of the bit, there is a window in the shape that lets you see a pencil mark at a 1-inch offset. No dust-catcher though. It is sized for a 1/8-inch bit, which I use it to make pilot holes for screws, but the hole can easily be sized up in the Fusion 360 design.
I created these dowel templates for a woodworking project where I built a simple bed frame directly from Home Depot 2x4's and 2x6's, with only right-angle cuts and dowel joinery. The bed came out very well. I haven't had time to document that design, but these dowel templates can be used for all sorts of joining situations. Designed in Fusion 360.
Post Cap Jig
This is a bit specialized, but I found myself needing to drill on-center holes in 4x4 fence posts (to get the post caps centered, if you must know). This jig is two parts, the actual bit guide is a separate piece that fits into the post alignment. So, no support and you can resize the hole in Fusion 360.
Post Cutting Guide
Before I could cap the posts, I had to cut them to the right height. I cut my posts with a hand saw, and I did it precisely by resting the saw flush with this somewhat sacrificial guide (each print lasted about 8 posts). Works even if your posts are a bit warped, like mine. Designed in Fusion 360.
This is a two-part design, an internal component is mounted to the wall with two screws, and then the tray slides onto it. I guess that could be re-used too. This one is a bit finicky because the large tray tends to warp. But we've been using this soap dispenser for years, and my kids have yet to tear the tray off the wall.
This is perhaps my most famous designed object. I created this version of the Stanford Bunny as a sort of torture-test for my branching support structures. When we released Meshmixer 2.0 with this support generator, I also posted this model on Thingiverse. Not only was it selected as a featured object, but you will see it at many 3D printing booths, and several other companies and researchers have used it to demonstrate other novel support structure techniques.
I designed these screwdriver handles and stand as part of the Meshmixer demo reel I showed in the Autodesk Research booth at AU 2015. The parts are all printed on a multi-material Stratasys Connex machine - the black is soft rubber and the white is rigid plastic. The entire design was done in Meshmixer, using the multi-material design tools that Tyson Brochu added in Meshmixer 3.0. There is a quick demo video available.
My favorite drill is this small Bosch driver, but the battery is in the handle and it doesn't really stand upright. This drives me crazy, so I solved the problem with a printed base that fits over the battery. The one in the picture is an elaborate multi-material print on a Stratasys Connex printer, but day-to-day I use a simple PLA version. This was designed in Meshmixer, based on a 123D Catch scan of the drill, for an AU 2015 demo - here is a quick video.
Tiny 3D Printer
The first question my kids had when I showed them our new 3D printer was if it could print more 3D printers. Clever boys! So I designed this tiny Makerbot and made them each one. They were not impressed! Designed in Fusion 360.