Modifying Car Decal

Once you have access to a Vinyl cutter, your mind can work in a different way.  Like when you have a 3D printer and you know you can design and 3D print items. Meaning, creating inventions that will solve a problem or make something work better. It’s about having the right tools. Here’s what I did to update a “bumper” sticker.

Replacing the MOM text. Measuring the text height of the original sticker.

The car had 2 stickers. University of Minnesota MOM and University of IL MOM and for one year, it was kinda true. Now that the University of IL son graduated in 2017 and the University of MN son is still on campus but with the car, it was time for a decal update.

I removed the University of IL decal. And since MOM was no longer the primary driver of this silver car… what would be a good 3 letter word to use to replace MOM? Son? Kid? He’s not a kid. He is a student. But that’s too long of a word. How about MAN? It’s a 3 letter word and only 2 letters different than MOM. It’s correct and appropriate. So I cleaned off the MOM part of the sticker. And vinyl cut a couple different fonts of the word MAN, all in uppercase like MOM.

Removed the word MOM

Created replacement words and tried a couple of different fonts.

Words and Font Names

I used a Silhouette Cameo to cut the white vinyl.

It wasn’t up to me to put the sticker on. I gave my son (who isn’t really a kid anymore, the
(decal) options (2 different fonts of the word MAN) and it was up to him to put it on the car. To my surprise, he did, rather quickly.

So now it just means it no longer looks like he’s driving around his Mom’s car. But there is a sense of pride along with it also.

Ta Da! A re-purposed bumper sticker.

Time to Re-Caulk the Shower

It is time to re-caulk the shower stall so I wonder what tools I could 3D print to help with that job. Since the first step is to remove the old caulk, let’s start with that. Home Depot has a plastic tool.

I don’t need to buy that, I can make my own. But this gives me an idea for my first design. Next let’s see if there are any caulking tools on Thingiverse.

Search results for the word “caulk”

No tools for removing caulk so I will design one using A handheld tool that can dig out caulk along the tile on one end of the tool and a flat end tool to get under the old caulk. Later, we will look at what other caulk related objects appeared on Thingiverse.

First iteration only took 47 minutes to print.

Iteration 2

Using the first tool, I discovered it was too short and the end was digging into my palm since I had to apply force when trying to remove the caulk. So for the second iteration, I made the tool longer and tried to round the end part that would be touching my palm. The red version took one hour and 18 minutes to print.

Pointed end for digging out old caulk

Additional Tools

The Thingiverse search results came up with plugs/caps for the tube mostly and some organizers to keep the tubes in order. There was no reason to 3D print a plug because there is nothing as perfect and simple as a roofing nail to keep caulk out of the tip and plug the end nicely. So I ignored those items on Thingiverse. I wasn’t organizing the workbench with several tubes of caulk so can skip those designs. But what was left was the smoothing tools. To be honest, this was kind of my first caulking job so I watched youtube videos before I started the project. The smoothing tools did come in handy to have. I would still wet them first as I would have my finger to go over the seam. But I was glad I didn’t have to use my finger and had the tool instead.

Smoothing Tools

So in the end, having a tool like a 3D printer to print other tools does come in handy. You won’t be seeing the results of the actual caulk job. It’s too ugly. That’s not what I want to share for this project. As far as lessons learned and how I would do the job differently next time, I would a) keep the tip of the caulk tube smaller and b) wipe away the lumpy caulk immediately and try again.

The pointy ends held up fine. The slanted ends were starting to wear.