This ingenious IKEA hack will make you smile

Pile of 3D printed shelfie brackets.
Start with a pile of 3d printed brackets

Last month, we (my wife and I) disassembled an IKEA Expedit shelf unit, and while I didn’t take a photo of ours before disassembly, it was a 5×5 unit identical to the one featured here. The room the Expedit was in was getting rearranged and there wasn’t going to be a place for it any longer in the room. We don’t really have any other spot in the house where it would fit, so my wife suggested putting it on the curb.

I realized that while it wouldn’t fit in the closet in our home office, I could salvage much of the material and repurpose it for a custom shelf system. What I figured I could salvage and reuse were the 20 short pieces (the vertical walls in the photo on the above linked page) and the four long and thin pieces (the horizontal pieces in the photo on the linked page.)

On Thingiverse there is an thing called the Shelfie, described as a DIY parametric shelf and storage designer. I had made a few of the brackets a few years ago when I had a surplus of small plywood panels, but I never finished that project. Originally, you could use the customizer on Thingiverse to configure the brackets exactly how you wanted them, but the Customizer hasn’t been working on Thingiverse for awhile now. However, you can load the design in OpenSCAD and customize the design to be whatever you need.

The screenshot above shows how the Customizer in OpenSCAD is used to configure the part to be a T shaped bracket with a back and a pass-through channel so the long board can go all the way through.

I did a quick measurement of the closet and figured out that the long boards would fit in the width of the closet and that I could easily get three rows of shelves to fit without having to work around anything already mounted in the closet. So, I drew up a quick sketch:

This is messy, but I think that messiness shows a part of the making process.

I wanted a few tall cubbies, so I scribbled out the parts where there wouldn’t be a shelf. Then, I came up with a shorthand for planning out what brackets needed to be 3D printed: Ts = standard T bracket, Tp = T bracket with passthrough channel, Xp = X bracket with passthrough channel, and each of the corners was going to get a standard L bracket, so I didn’t label those.

I needed two complete sets of the brackets, one for the front and one for the back. The ones on the back I decided (after suggestions from other Workshop 88 members) to add the option to screw a backer board onto.

After customizing all the designs in OpenSCAD, I started printing. And printing. And did some more printing. I lost track of the total print time, but it could have easily been a week of continuous printing. With the breaks I took between some of the prints, it took me about three weeks to finish all of them.

Finally, I was ready for assembly!

Attaching brackets to the wall.
Shelf unit taking shape!
Building up the shelves!

Somewhere towards the end of the assembly, I realized that I had miscounted the number of short panels I needed. I thought I would only need 18 of the 20 panels from the Expedit, but I had forgot to count the three horizontal short panels needed for the top three cubbies! So, it turned out that I needed 21 panels, but only had 20 available. Whoops!

Fortunately, my design only was using three of the four long boards, and since they were all the same thickness, I cut the end off the extra board to make the last needed small panel.

I also made a last minute decision to attach the brackets directly to the wall panel in the closet. I figure that it is a closet that I don’t mind if the wall panel (it is a panel, not drywall) gets some holes in – especially since they will be small holes. Hopefully the shelves last quite awhile, though!

Finished with the assembly!

In the assembly process, I only had one bracket break – a T bracket with a passthrough and wall attachments. The reason it broke was that I had attached it to the wall before putting in the last horizontal long board. It wasn’t lined up with the other brackets, so when the long board was inserted, it bent the bracket and snapped off one side of the passthrough channel. Fortunately, I had a leftover test print that worked as a replacement part.

Broken bracket.

In the Workshop 88 slack there is a channel called “entropy” which I find to be delightful because members use that channel to discuss the various ways that they try to reign in the disorder in our workspaces. I don’t have a “before” photo of the closet, but I can attest that although the closet is accurately described as a “walk-in” closet, it would have been impossible to do that before I added the modified shelf. Here is the photo after adding all the stuff back into the shelf:

It’s hard to see in this photo, but there is actually space now to walk in the walk-in closet.

I’m really happy with how this Ikea-hack project turned out. I’m cautiously optimistic that the shelves will have an extended life helping to control the disorder in this closet.

About Workshop 88

Workshop 88 is a makerspace in Glen Ellyn Illinois. We are more than a workshop, we are a growing community of creative talented people who aspire to learn and share knowledge, experiences, and projects.

Join us! To become a member join at Workshop88 or you can help us continue to share our projects and activities by supporting us via Patreon.

Never miss a tip or project! Follow our blog at www.Workshop88.com, subscribe to Workshop88’s YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, follow us Twitter and join or support our maker community by contributing to Workshop88 on Patreon!

To find out about upcoming events follow Workshop88 on Meetup.
Have a question? email us at info@Workshop88.com

Maker Meeting December 15th, 2020

Workshop 88 Maker Meeting, December 15th, 2020: YouTube link

This Week’s Topics & Discussions

Meeting notes

About Workshop 88

Workshop 88 is a makerspace in Glen Ellyn Illinois. We are more than a workshop, we are a growing community of creative talented people who aspire to learn and share knowledge, experiences, and projects.

Join us! To become a member join at Workshop88 or you can help us continue to share our projects and activities by supporting us via Patreon.

Never miss a tip or project! Follow our blog at www.Workshop88.com, subscribe to Workshop88’s YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, follow us Twitter and join or support our maker community by contributing to Workshop88 on Patreon!

To find out about upcoming events follow Workshop88 on Meetup.
Have a question? email us at info@Workshop88.com

Maker Meeting December 8th, 2020

Workshop 88 Maker Meeting, December 8, 2020: YouTube link

This Week’s Topics & Discussions

Meeting notes

About Workshop 88

Workshop 88 is a makerspace in Glen Ellyn Illinois. We are more than a workshop, we are a growing community of creative talented people who aspire to learn and share knowledge, experiences, and projects.

Join us! To become a member join at Workshop88 or you can help us continue to share our projects and activities by supporting us via Patreon.

Never miss a tip or project! Follow our blog at www.Workshop88.com, subscribe to Workshop88’s YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, follow us Twitter and join or support our maker community by contributing to Workshop88 on Patreon!

To find out about upcoming events follow Workshop88 on Meetup.
Have a question? email us at info@Workshop88.com

Melamine or chipboard drawer face repair

Last week I shut one of my shop drawers loaded with sandpaper and manuals with a too much “gusto” which ripped the drawer face off and left large deep pits in the chipboard around the mounting screws. Here is how I fixed it.

Aw shucks!

This is the broken drawer, you can see how the 4 mounting screws ripped deep holes out of the Melamine chipboard drawer front.

For this repair you will need:

  • Eye protection
  • Pen or pencil
  • Ruler (preferably long)
  • Saw, container, and sieve (or sawdust)
  • Wood glue
  • Wire brush (optional)
  • Clamps (screw clamps and hand clamps used in the example)
  • Scrap wood to protect your surfaces from clamps
  • Screwdriver suitable for your existing drawer screws
  • Paper (sticker backing, baking parchment, or waxed paper is best)
  • Popsicle stick or similar spreader
  • Disposable cup or other container
  • Sharp chisel or sandpaper (optional)

Wearing eye protection, clean out the holes. You can compressed air, or you can pucker up and blow them out with your own compressed air but be sure to close your eyes and wear eye protection, sawdust and debris is nearly guaranteed to blow right into your eyes with this method (voice of experience). Alternatively you can gently clean them out with a brush with the holes facing downward.

Next, mark lines through the centers of the screw holes around each pit. This step is important for getting the screw holes located later in the repair so the drawer front is aligned and spaced properly so take your time. I found using a long ruler lined up with the centers of pairs of holes horizontally, vertically, and diagonally to mark the area around each repair worked well. If you use a permanent marker as I have take note which areas of the back of the drawer face will be visible when reassembled. It may be useful to look at other drawers to get an idea of what areas will be visible. If you use a pencil or erasable marker (dry erase, grease pencil) be careful not to erase your marks later when working in the area.

Next you will need sawdust. I grabbed a piece of scrap plywood, clamped it in the vice and started cutting from the end. After 3 cuts I felt I had enough. You want the sawdust pretty fine, no chunks or splinters so I sieved it.

Now it’s time to make our own chipboard filler and fill the holes. I mixed up a little at a time so I could get the consistency I wanted and so the batch wouldn’t get too gummy while working. Start with glue in a disposable container. I used a plastic cup but it can be any container as long as it is clean. I start with glue, add sawdust which will absorb some of the moisture of the glue and mix. I keep adding glue or sawdust until the mixture is a putty like spreadable consistency. You want it on the wet side so the glue can bond to the chipboard in the next step.

Working one hole at a time using the Popsicle stick or spreader, start pressing the filler into a hole. You want to pack it as deep as you can into the bottom without leaving voids or bubbles. The glue will shrink as the moisture evaporates during curing so mound the holes full.

Now we are going to apply some pressure with clamps. Select pieces of scrap wood to protect your surfaces from the clamps which will dent, scratch, and break the surfaces of your drawers if they are not protected. I used screw clamps, you can use whatever you have available.
Place a piece of paper over each glue filled hole. If your paper has a shiny side that side should face the glue. Place smooth wooden blocks large enough to more than cover the hole over the paper. With a second wooden block on the other side tighten each clamp. The clamp should be snug to tight, you don’t need to crush the wood, just hold it tightly together.

Leave for a two to three hours to let the pressure distribute the materials and the glue will penetrate the existing chipboard.

The glue will not cure if covered so after several hours remove the clamps and carefully remove the paper to leave as much filler as possible in the holes. Leave them overnight to dry or longer to dry and cure. They will likely take longer to cure than wood glue usually takes due to the volume of the filler.

You will probably notice that the old screw threads are full of wood. Clean them with a wire brush so they bite into the repaired drawer face without interference. If you don’t have a wire brush you may be able to clean them using the drawer body front by backing them all the way out. This step is not critical.

The next day or when you are confident all the filler has fully cured you can proceed. The filler likely contracted leaving the center slightly concave, this is OK. If you have a large void and feel you need more filler you can repeat the above steps but it is usually not necessary.

Remove any excess glue or filler on the drawer face. A sharp broad chisel worked very well for me. You can try a razor scraper or sandpaper. Assuming you don’t have any large lumps this step is optional to assure a snug smooth fit between surfaces.

Select an appropriately sized pilot hole drill bit. I typically do this by holding candidate bits behind and in front of the screw. For woodworking in solid wood I would normally select a slightly smaller bit but considering my experience with chipboard, I selected a bit that was nearly the diameter of the center of the screw leaving plenty of material for the threads to bite into.

This is a good time to create a depth gauge by wrapping your drill bit with a piece of painters tape to indicate how long the screws are (not pictured). This will allow drilling holes deep enough for the screws without drilling all the way through to the face of the drawer.

Using a ruler and sharp pencil, re-draw the lines to determine where the screw centers should be.

Carefully drill pilot holes at the screw center locations. Make sure the drill holes are perpendicular to the drawer face (not angled). Again, be careful to drill the holes deep enough for the screws but not deep enough to damage the front of the drawer face on the other side.

Back up the screws so that only the points protrude and get some hand clamps ready. We will use the screw tips to align the drawer face on the drawer and hold it in place with the clamps.

Place the drawer front on the drawer carefully locating each screw tip in one of the pilot holes you drilled. Once aligned place the hand clamps and take a moment to verify the screws are in the holes and the drawer face looks properly positioned and aligned. Take your time on this step.

Gently tighten the screws. I give each screw a couple turns with a hand screwdriver and move on to the next until they are all fully screwed in. Don’t over torque the screws, you know what they’re biting into. I advise tightening these by hand with a manual screwdriver. If you choose to use an electric screwdriver, use slow speed (screwdriver, not drill), the lowest torque setting, and still do the final tightening with a hand screwdriver.

There are a couple optional things you can do for additional strength:

  • You could drill pilot holes and add more screws into fresh material. Again, be careful to select appropriate size/length screws so you get a good bite without drilling or screwing through the face of the drawer.
  • You could apply epoxy between the faces before screwing them together for a permanent bond but you better get everything aligned perfect because there is no undoing that. (not advised)

Perfect fit! Which one was repaired?

The top drawer, ready to be re-filled.

Clean up the shop. 😉

I hope this was helpful and you picked up a tip or two.

Stay tuned here on the Workshop88 blog for more articles and updates, subscribe to Workshop88’s YouTube channel for our regular Maker Meetings and other content, like us on facebook, join or support our maker community by contributing to our Patreon (we could really use your help!).

D. Scott Williamson
Compulsively Creative

Workshop 88 Weekly Maker Night – December 1st, 2020

This Week’s Project Discussions

  • Radiosonde Update [Phil]
    • radiosonde is an automatic radio transmitter in the meteorological aids service usually carried on an aircraft, free balloon, kite or parachute, and which transmits meteorological data. Each radio transmitter shall be classified by the radiocommunication service in which it operates permanently or temporarily.
  • The live cracking open to see “Clear Ice” Molds Project [Scott]
  • Home Automation
    • New UPS hack [Jim]
    • Mailbox [Peter]
    • Integrating an old (UL Certified) workhorse (X10 Modules) into a modern home automation system [Rick]
  • 3D Printing projects
    • Holiday
    • General
  • Useful Tools and inventions to use in the workshop
  • Slack/Blog Postings Review
    • Melamine or chipboard drawer face repair [Scott]

Welcome to the Workshop 88 Makers Round-table on Zoom where we share our projects, ideas, and related resources. The agenda is above, the meeting will be recorded and hosted on YouTube, and resources like links and other related information can be found here after the event. To bring your own topic, join Workshop88 or become a supporter via Patreon.

Meeting notes

Please subscribe to Workshop88’s YouTube page, like us on facebook, and join or support our maker community by contributing to our Patreon.

Workshop 88 is a makerspace in Glen Ellyn Illinois. We are more than a workshop, we are a growing community of creative talented people who aspire to learn and share their insights, experiences, and projects.

Please subscribe to Workshop88’s YouTube channel, like us on facebook, and join or support our maker community by contributing to Workshop88 on Patreon!

To find out about upcoming events follow Workshop88 on Meetup.
Do you have a question? email us at info@Workshop88.com

Workshop 88 Weekly Maker Night – November 24, 2020

Introduction

Workshop 88 is a makerspace in Glen Ellyn Illinois. We are more than a workshop, we are a growing community of creative talented people who aspire to learn and share their insights, experiences, and projects.

Please subscribe to Workshop88’s YouTube channel, like us on facebook, and join or support our maker community by contributing to Workshop88 on Patreon!

To find out about upcoming events follow Workshop88 on Meetup.
Do you have a question? email us at info@Workshop88.com

Welcome to the Workshop 88 Makers Round-table on Zoom where we share our projects, ideas, and related resources. The attendees and agenda are below, the meeting will be recorded and hosted on YouTube, and resources like links and other related information can be found here after the event.

Attendees

  • Andrew Morrison
  • Scott Williamson
  • Jim Williams
  • Gail Jo Kelly
  • Mark Frost
  • Peter Fales
  • Phil Strons
  • Karl Knutson
  • Breezy Fasano

Show & tell time!

Each session will target 10 minutes for show and tell and 5 minutes for Q&A and we are flexible based on topic interest and interactions.

7:05pm – Introduction to OBS Studio (Open Broadcaster Software)

Overview Results: Once you learn the software interface, the key learnings in dealing with the audio issues was a 2 step process. 1. Watching the activity lights to figure out what component (mic/aux) the capture card sound was coming from and 2. Setting that sound to come out to the speakers/headphones (where you want to hear that sound source). Which involved this (what I call) deep sound control panel setting.

7:45pm – Introduction to Animal Crossing New Horizons video game on Nintendo Switch

7:45pm – Tracking Weather Balloons

General discussion topics

  • 3D Printing projects
  • The speed of sound and the Hot Chocolate Effect
  • Making clear ice

Meeting notes

  • YouTube link to this event: tbd

Intro to OBS Links

Weather Balloon Tracking Links

Please subscribe to Workshop88’s YouTube page, like us on facebook, and join or support our maker community by contributing to our Patreon.

Workshop 88 Weekly Maker Night – November 17, 2020

Introduction

Workshop 88 is a makerspace in Glen Ellyn Illinois. We are more than a workshop, we are a growing community of creative talented people who aspire to learn and share their insights, experiences, and projects.

Please subscribe to Workshop88’s YouTube channel, like us on facebook, and join or support our maker community by contributing to Workshop88 on Patreon!

To find out about upcoming events follow Workshop88 on Meetup.
Do you have a question? email us at info@Workshop88.com

YouTube link: Workshop 88 Weekly Maker Meeting – Episode 3

Welcome to the Workshop 88 Makers Round-table on Zoom where we share our projects, ideas, and related resources. The attendees and agenda are below, the meeting will be recorded and hosted on YouTube, and resources like links and other related information can be found here after the event.

Attendees

  • Andrew Morrison
  • Scott Williamson
  • Jim Williams
  • Tom Matukas
  • Gail Jo Kelly
  • Daniil Bystrukhin
  • Peter Fales
  • Phil Strons
  • Karl Knutson
  • Christine Heermann

Show & tell time!

Each session will target 10 minutes for show and tell and 5 minutes for Q&A

7:00pm – Scott will share his Schlieren photography setup. Schlieren photography allows you to visualize changes in air density and used to see airflow, temperature differences, shock waves, or sound.

7:30pm – Rick will share his experiences with the STMicro accelerometer, magnetometer, and gyroscope leading into a discussion about creating a tilt compass using trigonometry.

General discussion topics

  • How would you calibrate an anemometer?
    • Jim Williams: Drive a car with it out the window on a stick to get outside of the car’s air-stream and have a copilot record rpm and car speedometer. (Scott added: In both directions to factor out a gentle breeze)
    • Mark Frost: Put it on the end of a stick and spin at a known rate in a still room to know airspeed of the sensor.
    • Scott Williamson: Connect it to the end of a tube connected to a large plastic bag. Place the bag in a box of known volume, place a second slightly smaller weighted box on top of the bag within the first box to construct a piston. Measure the time it takes to move the known outer box volume of air through the tube of known diameter to estimate the airspeed. Repeat with different weights.
  • Andrew Morrison: Why does an accelerometer measure an acceleration when it is not moving or changing velocity?
  • Rick Stewart: Laser Nanny repair
  • Did not cover: SMD soldering tips – (flux, solder paste, iron, iron tip, hot air, temps…)

Meeting notes

Please subscribe to Workshop88’s YouTube page, like us on facebook, and join or support our maker community by contributing to our Patreon.

Workshop 88 Weekly Maker Night – November 11, 2020

Introduction

Workshop 88 is a makerspace in Glen Ellyn Illinois. We are more than a workshop, we are a growing community of creative talented people who aspire to learn and share their insights, experiences, and projects.

Please subscribe to Workshop88’s YouTube channel, like us on facebook, and join or support our maker community by contributing to Workshop88 on Patreon!

To find out about upcoming events follow Workshop88 on Meetup.
Do you have a question? email us at info@Workshop88.com

Welcome to the second Workshop 88 Makers Round-table in a row on Zoom where we plan to share our projects, ideas, and related resources. The attendees and agenda are below, the meeting will be recorded and hosted on YouTube, and resources like links and other related information can be found here after the event.

Attendees

  • Andrew Morrison
  • Scott Williamson
  • Jim Williams
  • Tom Matukas
  • Gail Jo Kelly
  • Daniil Bystrukhin
  • Peter Fales
  • Phil Strons
  • Karl Knutson
  • Christine Heermann

Show & tell time!

Each session will target 10 minutes for show and tell and 5 minutes for Q&A

7:05pm – Scott recently explored Free and Open Source video editing software and will share his findings including resurrecting an antique and finding a real gem!

7:20pm – Jim will share laser cut fluorescent non-round gears

General discussion topics

  • Home Automation (ESP-01, ESP-32, Arduino, WiFi, MQTT, Mosquito, Raspberry Pi, Linux, battery/solar power…)
    • Daniil and Peter shared a lot of detailed information about the hardware, protocols, software they use to monitor and control many things around their homes – links below.
  • “What are you 3D printing?”
    • Andrew shared hexagonal tangram-like puzzle he designed in TinkerCAD and 3D printed. We discussed additional puzzles and ways to improve the puzzle and print quality.
  • “What are you making / preparing for the holidays?”

Meeting notes

Please subscribe to Workshop88’s YouTube page, like us on facebook, and join or support our maker community by contributing to our Patreon.

Workshop 88 Weekly Maker Night – November 3, 2020

VOTE!

YouTube link to this event

Introduction

Workshop 88 is a makerspace in Glen Ellyn Illinois. We are more than a workshop, we are a growing community of creative talented people who aspire to learn and share their insights, experiences, and projects.

Please subscribe to Workshop88’s YouTube channel, like us on facebook, and join or support our maker community by contributing to Workshop88 on Patreon!

To find out about upcoming events follow Workshop88 on Meetup.
Do you have a question? email us at info@Workshop88.com

Welcome to the second Workshop 88 Makers Round-table in a row on Zoom where we plan to share our projects, ideas, and related resources. The attendees and agenda are below, the meeting will be recorded and hosted on YouTube, and resources like links and other related information can be found here after the event.

Attendees

  • Andrew Morrison
  • Scott Williamson
  • Jim Williams
  • Tom Matukas
  • Gail Jo Kelley
  • Rick Stewart
  • Breezy Fasano
  • Peter Fales
  • Phil Strons

Show and tell time!

Each session will target 10 minutes for show and tell and 5 minutes for Q&A

7:00pm – Breezy will share her custom created keyboard as well as information and tips for making your own.

7:15pm Rick will share part of his MQTT / NodeRED project for monitoring outside temperature and door activity (in progress). (LED word clock will be shared in a later meeting.

730pm (Postponed)Scott recently explored Free and Open Source video editing software and will share his findings including resurrecting an antique and finding a real gem!

7:45pm Phil will share antenna constructions (Ham & HD)

Discussion topics

8:00pm GailJo – Nintendo Switch Joystick repair followup

Disassembly project tips: tweezers, pictures, screw containers… laptop failure

Meeting notes

Please subscribe to Workshop88’s YouTube page, like us on facebook, and join or support our maker community by contributing to our Patreon.

A cautionary tale for 3d-printing with glass beds

Several of our members have had great success with using glass beds to do their 3D printing on. (We even have a tutorial on how to cut glass for those who are interested!)

Recently one of our members shared that one of her 3d prints stuck a little too well to the bed and then the bed chipped when trying to pull the print off.

Chip out of a glass bed.
Chip stuck on a 3d printed part.

The filament used was PLA, and the bed was prepped with a bit of hairspray before printing. Other members here at Workshop 88 use isopropyl alcohol to prep their printer beds before printing with PLA.

The advantage of using glass is that the surface is extremely flat and smooth. Just let this be a cautionary tale that there is some risk of chipping the glass if the print adheres too much. But if you know how to cut glass yourself, you can always make a new one!