Maker Meeting December 29, 2020

Check out the December 29, 2020 Workshop 88 Maker Meeting here:

For details (including recipes and pictures) see details on the December 29 Workshop 88 Maker Meeting page:

We have great things planned for the first meeting in 2021 including the design, machining, and construction of Tom’s spring loaded engraver and a considerable discussion on the topic of organization!

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, 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

Maker Meeting December 22, 2020

Check out the December 22, 2020 Workshop 88 Maker Meeting:

This week’s episode featured:

More details and links can be found on the December 22, 2020 Maker Meeting Workshop 88 page.

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, 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

Maker Meeting December 16th, 2020

Workshop 88 Maker Meeting, December 16th, 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, 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

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

Who’s making PPE?

We are. Of course. As part of the makerspace community, Workshop 88 has been participating with the Illinois PPE Network. The 100% donor driven, non profit endeavor. For more information, visit Illinois PPE Network.

Workshop88 members have been 3D printing face shields and surgical face mask extenders these past few weeks.

  Here’s the latest news with the Illinois PPE group.

  •  The Distributed Fabrication Network is a new NFP that is intended to outlive the need for makers to be making PPE — because we’ve shown that being in communication over who needs what and which designs work can make a significant impact within a community.
  •  Please consider making a donation and share this with people you know.

One of the deliveries of face shield frames from a Workshop 88 member to the Illinois PPE network.

Doorknob Handle

Like many Americans, my family had a spring break vacation planned just as the Coronavirus pandemic began to spread in North America. For weeks while looking forward to spring break we had been watching the dramatic growth of COVID-19 and steps taken to contain and control the virus in China, and more recently in Italy, Iran, and South Korea. We decided to cancel our vacation and begin social distancing. While disappointed, it was immediately clear that we made the right decision for ourselves as we would have likely been stranded away from our home in the USA and for everyone else in this time of aggressive spread of a highly infectious disease that hospitalizes 1 in 10 and kills 1 in 50 people.

We made our decision on Saturday the day before our flight was to leave, we all thought about social distancing and what we should do to protect ourselves and potentially others from us (two of us had recent colds and were uncertain if we caught it and symptoms were mild). Hand washing, not touching our faces, sanitizing everything around us were discussed, but when I found out that COVID-19 could last an astonishing 3 days on metal and plastic surfaces I immediately noticed all the doorknobs in our house. A doorknob you have to grasp with hour hand requiring a lot of contact, a door handle you can open with your elbow, or at least one finger. After you’ve been out in public touching door handles, railings, shopping carts, elevator buttons, ATM’s, money, gas pumps… You have to touch the exterior doorknob to enter the house before you are able to wash your hands, and everyone needs to touch it.

I also felt like I wanted to do something to help. I decided to design and share a customizable 3D printable handle that could be easily and nondestructively be attached to doorknobs. Not only are they more sanitary, but they turned out to be immensely convenient when carrying in groceries, or walking out with a beverage, etc. Below are links to my models and source code on Thingiverse, along with the write-up that accompanies them.

Updated stronger customizable doorknob handle with more options:
Note: Thingiverse customizer does not work with this model, it may be too complicated. Download Knob handle v5.scad*, open in OpenSCAD, and enable the Cusomizer UI in the View menu.

Original door handle:

Unfortunately this was inspired by Coronavirus COVID-19

If you think these may help you, your family, or others, please feel free to customize and print as many as needed.

If you would like to manufacture and commercialize this product please contact me, we can work something out.

Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 is spread like cold and flu viruses via contact with droplets (sneezes, coughs) from an infected individual. It has been proven viable in the air for 3 hours and has been demonstrated to contaminate surfaces for up to 3 days where it may be picked up on hands. A potential vector for infection is touching your face (mouth, nose, or eyes) with the virus on your hands. Frequent thorough hand washing with soap and water and minimizing touching your face are suggested ways to reduce the likelihood of contracting the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 infection.

Centers for Disease Control:

The use of round doorknobs require a hand to grasp and twist to open a door. Entry and exit doors in particular must be touched by everyone entering a household, are usually touched before having access to a sink, and after potentially touching public handles, railings, shopping carts, elevator buttons, ATM’s, money, gas pumps, rest rooms… Doors with handles can be opened with elbows and forearms which are less likely to relay infection.

This handle is easy to print and clamps firmly, gently, and non-destructively to round doorknobs.

An added bonus: Handles are easier to open while carrying packages, groceries, or beverages!


There are two styles, flat (push) and curved (pull).

The flat version will likely print more easily and is perfectly fine for doors that push open.

The curved version is tailored for doors that need to be pulled and in general is more universal.

I can open our doors inside and out with my elbows, but even if you can’t get your elbow in there, at least you can limit exposure to one finger rather your whole hand grabbing a doorknob.

You can customize the length, style, size of the doorknob and more in the OpenSCAD parameters in the file (even more if you dig into the code – have fun!).


The default size is 54mm diameter, 23mm thick doorknob. The model can accommodate slightly larger and smaller sizes as is.

To fit your doorknob you may either scale the STL file before printing (measure your doorknob diameter D and scale by D/54), or adjust the parameters in OpenSCAD, render (F6), save STL, and print your customized model.


The door handle may be installed horizontally but I like ours elevated (rotated “up”) 30-50 degrees to provide more of a usable rotation arc with my elbow.

Attach to doorknob

  1. Slip handle over your doorknob, it should fit snug but not crack
  2. Fasten with a machine screw or bolt (M3, 4-40, 2-56, or anything that will fit)
    • Lock nuts are preferred to regular nuts
    • Use of washers on both sides is recommended to distribute forces
  3. If snug enough, it may work fine without a screw
  4. Optional: If your handle slips, you can slip or wrap a rubber band between the doorknob and the ring before tightening the screw. You do not need to put the rubber band around the doorknob (that would be very difficult), it just needs to compress the rubber against the doorknob in one location to improve grip. Alternately, (more easily) you could wrap a rubber band around one arm of the handle ring prior to installation as pictured, but the rubber band will be visible once installed.

Note, there should be enough friction to open the door with your elbow or knee
but the plastic handle may not be able to grab the smooth metal doorknob with enough force to secure it against any force without slipping. Simply slide it back to the original position or you can try installing a rubber band for more “gription“.


I will never know, but I hope this is helpful. I hope this has a chance of preventing at least one person from getting sick – even if it is not against Coronavirus, perhaps against one of the 200 viruses known to cause the common cold, or influenza (8,200 deaths in US in 2019), or Norovirus…

Maybe you just want to make it easier to bring in your groceries.

If you would like to support invention for the greater good, you can donate to your local makerspace… or mine:
(they will need support during these times of social distancing and isolation)

Also, please don’t judge my filthy garage/workshop doors too harshly… I have to go scrub them now.

Stay well, wash your hands, and don’t touch your face!

D. Scott Williamson
Compulsively Creative

Making Decorations

Once you have the appropriate graphic for the special occasion, you can make it into a nice acrylic etched or laser cut decoration. Here’s an example of how to do that using inkscape software and the Full Spectrum Laser at Workshop88.

Find or make the graphic

The first step is to find the right black and white clipart for your project. Assuming you are not an artist and don’t create by hand what you need.

Convert (JPG, PNG) image to SVG

  • Once you have the graphic, import the image into Inkscape and select the image. (Click on the image and there should be arrows at all the edges like shown.) This is an important step.

Then from the menu select Path->Trace Bitmap.

  • Change settings on Trace Bitmap window to 2 colors, grays, smooth, stack and remove background.

Note the items underlined in red.

You should see the picture in the update window. If you don’t see the image on the right, start over and try again. Save the image as Optimized SVG. When you see the image in the update window, (give it a minute, watch the status bar) select the image (on top) again and move it to the side and then delete the duplicate picture underneath. Then move the image back to the center. Now you have the traced bitmap that can be saved as an .SVG file type.

That is your SVG image that will outline the letters and give you something to raster. The acrylic example below was done using raster settings only. For effect (and suggested by a member), light was shined through the side of the acrylic to make the image glow.

Acrylic (Clear) Material

Laser etch acrylic with your favorite scene and/or holiday greeting

Wood (Thin)

Or the wood version if you prefer.

Raster and Vector

When laser cutting, you learn the difference between raster and vector. The image was rastered first. Raster: Fast sweeps of the laser eye, over the wood to lightly etch away and burn the wood. And then vector (solid burn) just the outline of the letters to give it that extra stand out – outline. And the entire object cut along the edge with a hole for hanging on a hook. I prefer rounded edges for my projects so there are no sharp corners. And a hole for hanging the decoration. This image was well suited for that style.

Control of the Laser Instructions

In order to get the vector to outline just the letters, while in the Full Spectrum Laser software, Retina Engrave, you need to change the color of the letters. Then provide instructions for just that color. I made the word Thanksgiving in Yellow, just so that it was a color other than black.

This allows you to control the vector attributes for just the parts you select. Notice in the blue circle, the color yellow will only pass over once and the other colors red and black are set to 0 (zero) so that the laser will not vector those colors at all.

Whenever using the laser cutter, consult the document on Menu Item W88 Docs->Laser cutter to get guidance for settings. Always do a small test on practice material first. NOTE: Using the laser cutter REQUIRES training/certification of members, PRIOR to use.

Stop by on Thursday evening to talk about your project ideas and to see what is going on at the Workshop88 makerspace.

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.

Making Rose Decals

My inspiration for making rose decals was a funeral for someone that was a master flower gardener. I was thinking having a nice subtle but pretty rose decal for the car would be a way to remember them. I have also 3D printed roses in the past and know 3 people that have Rose in their name.

Finding the Right Rose

I have been working on creating more than one color decals so they can work on any colored surface, but even with “registration marks”, it isn’t easy. Lining up the vinyl is a skill that will have to be developed over time with practice. For example, I have found that the registration marks have been coming off or lifting with the vinyl. So I have to take extra care or try different sizes and placement until I establish a successful method.

Registration Marks

are marks on the outside of the design that can be trimmed later. They are used for aligning additional layers on the decal.

Searching for free clip art of black and white roses is a good place to start. Find the design that is not too intricate but still looks like a rose.

This rose is a bit too intricate and the leaves would require green vinyl (which I don’t have) and the lines are very thin. So this is not a good rose to start with, when learning how to vinyl cut.

This rose is a little better but the lines get tight in the inner circle. And again, there are leaves so green vinyl would be needed if going with realistic color scheme.

Learn By Doing

When I try a new project, I can’t expect it to be perfect the first time. Repeating the process helps with learning and improving technique. What I learned with this project is that the rose is better as a single color . I tried wrapping a rounded circle around the rose but all that does it create an outer box and in my opinion, that does not make for a pretty decal. (If you are going for pretty like when it comes to flowers.)

Lift the vinyl carefully to ensure the vinyl that needs to stay attached, does.

I thought that putting a rounded box around the flower, would be a way to have a perimeter that provides for easy cutting out of the flower. But in reality, the beauty of the flower decal is to let it just be on it’s own and appear as a simple flower. I DO NOT RECOMMEND an outline box if it distracts from the beauty. A better option is to work with the “offset” property in Silhouette Studio, when that works. It depends on the image.

I created a variety of sizes by scaling up or down just a bit since I wasn’t sure exactly where it was going to be used yet and to give myself options.

So this is the rose that I thought looked best. The image was a bit fuzzy but Silhouette Studio had no trouble outlining the image to create the outline. I placed it on the glass of my rear side window. I do not have experience yet with how long the vinyl stickiness will last or if it will do damage to the paint of the car so I decided to put the decal on the window so I know I could always scrape it off with a razor if necessary.

Peel paper off first, apply decal, rub the image to adhere to window, peel off transfer tape.
  • It’s like a temporary tattoo for my car. I like it. A decal makes my care unique and easier to find in the parking lot.

Stop by on a Thursday night between 7 and 9pm to talk about your decal ideas.