Workshop 88 open house tours are suspended through end of April

Due to the governor’s order to stay at home through the end of April, Workshop 88 will continue our suspension of  public open house tours on Thursday nights.

We would still like to meet makers and connect with you! Please see our Meetup page for information on how you may interact with us including virtual tours and virtual open house visits on Thursday nights.

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: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4228668
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: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4224517

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: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/transmission.html

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!

Styles

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!).

Fitting

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.

Installation

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“.

Conclusion

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: http://blog.workshop88.com/
http://blog.workshop88.com/membership/#donations
(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 workshop88.com 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 TinkerCad.com. 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.