Fun with Workshop 88 Logo

My name is Gail Jo and I LIKE TO MAKE STUFF.

Quick Bio

I joined Workshop 88 in December of 2016. I have been 3D printing since June of 2014. I have worked with machines and computers my entire career.

3D Printed Coasters

Workshop 88 Coasters

Coasters are one of my specialties when it comes to 3D printing. So once I got my hands on the Workshop 88 logo, I just had to make it into coasters. The challenge was how to print with 3 different colors. It helped to have a dual nozzle 3D printer. I started with white filament and when the blue 88 portion started, it was time to pause the printer and change the white filament to red.

Sugar Cookies

I wish I had more pictures of the cookies I made, but fortunately they were eaten. The cookies, not the pictures.

Workshop 88 Cookies

Since there was so much work involved in the post production to add the logo, I started with the Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough cookie dough in a roll, rather than make cookie dough from scratch.

3D Printed Workshop 88 Cookie Cutter

This was an attempt at a cookie cutter. The 88s were just too complex to release the cookie dough. I 3D printed about 6 other variations, changing the size and design.

For the red, upper crown part, I attempted to color the dough with red food coloring. And then I froze the dough to try and make it stronger and easier to work with. I also added red sprinkles to the top part. This made the 3D printed part more of stencil to hold them in before baking.

3D Printed Workshop 88 Cookie Stencil

The final version ended up acting as a stencil for spraying on the blue color of the logo. Notice the top part, the red part was covered, so that the spray would not cover that part.

Blue Color Mist from Wilton

Be forewarned, the spray went all over. You may not see it at first, but wipe the area and you will discover it. Find a good place. But in the end, using the spray and the stencil produced the best results. (The color mist was available at WalMart.)

Making a Workshop 88 Sign

Workshop 88 has been known to be a bit difficult to find. So I thought I would make a sign to put out on Pennsylvania Ave during open houses to help people find the workshop. If you wonder why I didn’t just go buy one, then you do not think like a maker.

Iteration 1 – Laser Cutter

I thought it would be nice to use the Laser Cutter and some poster board to create the first sign. This would keep the sign light and I wouldn’t have to manually cut out a bunch of letters. I used foam board from Dollar Store and poster board I had lying around. Unfortunately, I didn’t think about what would happen on the rainy Thursday nights the sign would be out so I continued creating. Also, I discovered the logo I was using was the older version. So I ended up putting the sign on the glass of the door of the workshop so that if any visitors stopped by when nobody was around, they would still be notified to come back on a Thursday evening.

3D Printed Parts

Iteration 2 – 3D Printed Parts on Yard Sign

Of course, I went straight to what I know, and attempted to 3D print out all of the parts of the sign. This of course made the sign quite heavier than it needed to be. Not the mention the coats of paint I added to cover up the original sign. But I did learn a few techniques along the way. I think I got better at printing flat letters inside a flat layer. I also learned that my 3D printer could use some design improvements, or precision improvements, but that is for another day.

Iteration 3 – Vinyl Cutter

The final method involved learning to use the Vinyl Cutter. It’s a good thing learning how to use new equipment is something I enjoy and enhances my resources for future projects. I was motivated to make another sign because I needed one for the 3D printing class at Workshop 88. This version is sleek and clean since it only provides the information needed. I relied on brand recognition for this version, since “Workshop” is not carved out in the red part. Stay tuned to this blog for more projects using the Vinyl Cutter.

Nice and Shiny Vinyl Version

What do you want to make?

Do you own your own business and want to make a few trinkets with your logo? Stop by on a Thursday evening for our open house for a tour and a friendly discussion to share ideas. Thanks for reading.

Bandanna Project

My son and I were planning a trip to visit one of his friends that was working at a hostel in Bergen Norway. He wanted to bring “them” gifts and give me the opportunity to make something. I was open to the proposal and exuberant with ideas. Did I want to 3D print some stuff and bring it? I have 3D printed plenty of stuff for his friends in the past but keeping in mind I was only bringing a carry on suitcase (wanted to travel light) and Workshop88 recently acquired a heat press, I decided to make bandannas. Bandannas are light and thin and would be easy to pack.

them = Norway Wheaties

Five Wheaton College Students travelling through Europe, ending the trip by running a hostel in Bergen, Norway

You can learn more about them from their instagram account. NORWAY WHEATIES

But why does it look so strange to have two “n”s in bandanna? Is that spelled correctly? Let’s see what google has to say. Google says the dictionary knows how to spell it but advertisers don’t or maybe they are just going with the most common spelling that is searched. Meaning most people don’t know that there are 2 n’s together. Maybe it looks strange because it is not spelled like a banana.

Studying the Wheaties Logo

Creating the Design

At times, people have labeled me as a Graphic Designer. I never claimed to be. But I do enjoy certain aspects of designing and that feeling you get when you just know something is right. So I can be creative, but I still justify it with “creative for a techie”. I was out of town while working on the design so had some time to ponder and try out a few iterations. I offered up a few designs to m son and he picked one. It was ok, but I felt I could do better so I kept thinking. I had an idea but I first had to figure out how to re-create the Wheaties look. I reviewed some Wheaties boxes to see specific visuals from the text. I was using inkscape since I was away from my desktop with my Adobe elements software. This gave me the opportunity to get better at inkscape and learn how to stretch the letters without distorting them too much. Skew didn’t do it. I ended up using Path->Path Effects and adding (click on +) Envelope Deformation. This youtube video on warping helped me accomplish the goal. So building off of the Wheaties cereal logo and doing a sort of flip perspective for the word Norway, I obtained the final design. Adding the year is a good practice for this particular type of memorabilia piece. I did not however, sign the work with my logo which I usually do with my 3D print items.

An initial iteration
Final Design

The Color Scheme

Initially I was thinking I would use white bandannas so the design would be visible but that would interfere with the Wheaties word needing to be white (like on the cereal boxes). Once I got back in town, I started shopping and ended up at Hobby Lobby. They had plenty of plain bandannas to pick from so orange was the best since that was the color of a Wheaties box and one of the Wheaton college school colors. Norway is blue since that is the other Wheaton college color.

Vinyl Cut Heat Transfer

I must admit, it wasn’t easy cutting the vinyl. I had to give myself time and practice to get it right. The N and the O were from a separate vinyl cut because I ended piecing good parts together.

Heat Transfer Vinyl and Vinyl Cutter

When making decals using the vinyl cutter, the letters can be frontwards, as you see them. But when cutting vinyl for heat transfer, the shinny side will be down so the lettering has to be flipped horizontally so it is in reverse. Then the heat press goes over the shiny film (after the extra has been “weeded”). (Weeding is the process of removing the vinyl part that is not needed.) After the first 20 seconds of heat applied, you can slowly remove the clear plastic, without removing the letters if done right.

Tri-Color Applied Together

Even though I was using 3 different colors, none of the colors overlapped so I didn’t have to create a cut out to avoid overlap but I did have to trim the plastics so they all fit together without overlap of the plastic parts. You wouldn’t want to apply multiple color transfer vinyls on top of each other.

Norway Wheaties 2019 Orange Bandanna

Heat press left a dark square but that seemed to go away after a while.

Decals Too

I also made decals for them. They are vinyl cut, weeded and transfer tape applied. So to use, tear off the white backing, apply the sticker and gently rub the letters to ensure they adhere to the surface. Then slowly remove the transfer tape. They are decals because they are vinyl and will work outdoors. If they were made from paper, I would call them stickers.

The trip to Norway went well and they loved their bandannas. I’m hoping they take a group picture with the bandannas so I can post it here. In the mean time, here’s the most picturesque scene I captured on the train going from Oslo to Bergen.

Favorite 3D prints: painting pyramid

Painting pyramid you can print!

One of our members shared this clever painting pyramid model that you can download from thingiverse for 3D printing.

A painting pyramid is used to elevate a work piece off of your workbench after painting to allow the work to dry. These pyramids are stackable, for easy storage between use. Additionally, these are way cheaper to print than to buy in a store.

If you do painting or staining of your projects, you should try out these painting pyramids. Share your work with us – we love to see other people’s projects!

Favorite 3D prints: phone stands

At Workshop 88 a lot of our members create their own designs for things they want to 3D print. But there is a great variety of models designed by other people available for download on thingiverse.

One of our members recommended a phone/tablet stand that prints all in one piece in place:

You can download this phone stand model from thingiverse. There are a few remixes of this thing which you might also want to check out.

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!

Signage at Workshop 88

Multi-material fabrication of signs at Workshop 88!

One of the challenging aspects for getting visitors to Workshop 88 is that our location is not obvious for first-time attendees. We have long joked that if you made it to our door, you must be the type of person who belongs at a makerspace, because sometimes it can seem like you really have to want to find us in order to get to Workshop 88.

Of course, we want everybody to be able to find Workshop 88! One of our members, Gail, has taken the initiative to make some signs for various uses at Workshop 88.

One sign was made with a 3d printed logo and also has solar lights attached to it for illuminating the sign after the sun sets. The other sign was made with one of our vinyl cutters and is used to direct people in for classes.

If you’re in the downtown Glen Ellyn area on Thursday evenings, you are likely to see at least one of these signs welcoming you in to our open house hours. Please stop by!

Customized Trailer Hitch Cover

Custom Hitch Cover
Custom Hitch Cover

I created a 3D printed customized hitch cover that lights up by incorporating a store-bought brake light hitch cover.

My project started out as 3D printing a trailer hitch cover like the ones on Thingiverse.com. https://www.thingiverse.com/search?q=trailer+hitch+cover&dwh=175cdf1d3a762cb

Brake Light Hitch Cover

But then I spotted a brake light cover in a parking lot in place of the trailer hitch.  I really liked that idea better and considered it as an additional safety feature.  The brake light version of the cover wasn’t difficult to find and was about $12.

The brake light was easy to install and connect to the electrical wires, but I still wanted to add my personal spin (customization). 

So I 3D printed a cover for the light.  You may have noticed my personal logo (mashup of G and J) in place of my picture on my social media accounts.

So of course that is the logo I used for the cover. The logo is the negative (empty) part so the light shines through.

Even though I measured multiple times, I still produced multiple iterations of the printed item. I consider it prototyping, until the item fits and I run out of ideas on how to improve it.  I went through 3 iterations for this 3D printed project.  I tried rounding the corners of the cover, but that was even more difficult to size to fit over the red light.

Measurement of Hitch Brake Light

The light measured 3″ but the cover ended up being 3.32″ in order to fit over the light.

Since the brake light cover itself runs through the hitch with the lock, I just used zip ties to attach my cover over the brake light.  The zip ties will have to but cut and replaced of course, when I actually use the hitch.

Have you tried the measure app? (iPhone) It’s cool how it saves the measurement number in the picture.

For pre-existing 3D printable items (.stl files) that I don’t download from thingiverse.com, I design myself using tinkercad.com. A free web-based, easy to use CAD type software with starter shaped objects to drag and drop. Like the square I used to create the hitch cover. The printed iterations were done on my PowerSpec Pro3D printer. No rafts or supports were needed. I prefer to 3D print items that don’t require rafts and supports since they leave rough edges after they are removed. The print time was 1 hours and 52 minutes for the final version with the 2 inch sides. (deeper cover)

Dimension Details:

Final 3D Printed Project Dimensions

Third iteration and hopefully final of the 3D printed hitch cover.
  • 3.32″ square, outer dimension
  • .03″ wall thickness
  • .21″ side hole opening for larger zip ties (so tie can reach around)
  • .14″ smaller holes at bottom for drainage
  • 2″ side walls
2″ Trailer Hitch with Cover Over Tail Light

Do you have your own 3D printing project or want to learn more about 3D printing? Stop by Workshop88 on a Thursday night between 7pm and 9pm to share it with us. Select the date you can stop by and RSVP on Meetup.com

New (well, old) Workshop Phone

I picked up an OBi100 adapter for the space a few weeks ago, and have been hunting around for a phone that we can use with it.

I stopped by the local Goodwill on my way in to the workshop one morning, and picked up two phones for $1.99 each.  One was a Lucent speakerphone that was missing a power adapter (I managed to dig a compatible one out of our giant box of wall warts in the electronics room).  The other was a fantastic old GE Model 500 rotary dial phone.  One of our members with a bit of experience in the area pegged the year of manufacture as 1965, with the last service in 1984.  I cleaned it up with some rubbing alcohol, and we swapped the old phone number placard for a W88 circuit board mask:

It took about 10 minutes of googling to find the pinout on the 4-prong adapter so we could hook it up, and it was hooked up to our Google Voice phone number and ringing.

Model 500 Plugbox Render (top)

The alligator clips aren’t a great solution, so I started designing a box to plug it into.  I used OpenSCAD to do the design.  The source files are available in my GitHub repo, but here’s a couple quick screenshots of the render:

I measured for the holes on the top using a pair of digital calipers, and then did some quick trig to figure out the offsets from the center point of the box.

Model 500 Plugbox Render (bottom)

The pins on the plug are arranged in a trapezoidal fashion so you can’t insert the plug backwards.  The bottom of the box is set up so that I can drop in a Radio Shack perfboard with a standard phone line connected to a couple of spring contacts on the wider pair of the two holes.  The standoff holes in the perfboard line up with the blocks in the corner of the box, and I have a second 3D model for the bottom of the box that sits below the perfboard.

The most difficult part of designing the box was getting the Workshop 88 logo to come out right.  I found this great tutorial on how to use InkScape to build 3D shapes in OpenSCAD and I used the source image for the same circuit board mask that we stuck on the phone.  Once I had that in place, it wasn’t too difficult to use it in OpenSCAD.  Check out the GitHub repo for details.

Model 500 Adapter with perfboard

I did a couple of test prints on the MakerBot to make sure everything fit together, and it looks like it is working pretty well.  I haven’t done another print with the logo, but judging from the generated STL, it is going to be much more involved than the basic prints.

When I added the logos, the STL went from about 300K to over 2MB.  I’m hoping that the print itself will be stable enough that the logo won’t lose resolution and look bad.  We’ve got a new stepper motor extruder ordered for our MakerBot, so that may help a little bit with the resolution.

Model 500 Adapter 3D print (bottom)

The next project is to get this puppy to dial out.  We’ve had a few suggestions, from converting the pulse dial to DTMF using an Arduino Teensy to hooking up a Blue Box with an acoustic coupler.  Right now the easiest way to use it is to dial out on a different phone, and then pick up the handset.  That really isn’t all that much fun.  I’m leaning towards the acoustic coupler method, but early experiments with DTMF generators on our cell phones didn’t go too well, so we may have a bit more work cut out for us.  The Wikipedia article says that blue boxes no longer work due to changes in the switching infrastucture, which… ahem… anecdotal evidence would tend to confirm.