Time to help the fight of COVID 19

Mancave prep for mass production of face plates on my laser cutter.

Going to start running Face masks on my 3d printer and cutting face masks on my laser to give to our health service. this is a community-based project please join the Facebook group

cover photo, Image may contain: text

will update this post as it happens.


Update 1 material has been ordered. I have chopped 3″ off my workbench table and dropped it to down have added secondary fan as internal one is not the best. have cut 100mm hole and added vent for taking all smoke away. will take pictures when I have some time to do so.


going to clear up the rest of the cave today to get my printer going to be my first attempt at printing petg wish me luck will post the outcome later. my screens material should be delivered tomorrow. will then run 100 screens for the makers collective if you want to join please join https://www.facebook.com/groups/210620746699307/


Waiting on materials to start cutting the faceplates should be here this afternoon have also had the group leader Darren on the phone as will take delivery of more materials this week and cut more for the group. Materials arrived 100 face masks cut all my material done.

Quick video of machine in action.

Will be setting up octoprint later got a new case coming that is wall mounted. i will then be able to set push notifier to tell me when each mask is done.


Gone back to an old faithful added a wall-mounted case for my raspberry pi 3 with latest build octoprint so i can monitor the masks and notifies me by telegraph when jobs are done or fails.

Back on with printing masks till i run out of filament. just uploaded new design for 2 at a time the joys of pursa software and octoprint link function. so sliced and uploaded love it.

next 2 on the printer running out of white filament eek.

Away we go. time to print and a time laps. will upload it tomorrow. did one was not great have moved printer and currently running 2 more as pictured above. so will show afterwards.


printing more frames was an another 2 am in the morning shift. and up early with the boy and work. feeling a tad tired.

running at 200% speed to keep the production line going.

I am back time to move around my equipment and make the cave function l and get busy to keep my sanity.

Right i am back have shut down office now working from home so will have some time to get bits done in the cave i have been putting off for a while.

first up going to cut a hole in the wall for ventilation fan for the laser will also be moving the laser to the other side of the workshop making more space. Scratch that might just slightly rearrange it as might be able to free up some space. buy removing some bits

First up going to remove the rest of the equipment on the laser current racking.i am going then take the laser off the tabletop remove the tabletop and reposition the tabletop. also going to cut the racking down buy 3″ before I put the laser back on. wish me luck

will post images once i have done this will do a before and after.

Wishing every one well during this uncertain times.

Will be offline for a short while.

Due to current global issues, i have had to go into armageddon mode, As keeping the family business going in my main priority so once i have sorted remote access for all my staff. made provisions for all aspects of the business. will start blogging again and if we get locked down in the next week or so will have some time on my hands to sort some small projects with my backlog of bits i wanna do.

Complete resin coasters first attempt.

As i have lots of ideas for this will start off simple with some resin and ink with some star fx glitter and glow powder this might be cool it might be crap but intend to film it all the same.

I got some cheap silicone moulds off wish which i ordered over Christmas they finally landed so i have a mix of square and round coasters to play with.

Did some testing for a future project with some glow in the dark powder which worked well might do some moulding in a future project where i will show you how to make silicone moulds.

Now to do a Square coster so for this project i decided to some calculations on how much resin the coster will require as on my test i didn’t have enough resin to fill the 2 costers. so, in this case, i know the moulds 10cm x 10xm x 0.75cm which gives me a volume of 75 cubic centimetres 1 cubic centimetre = 1 millilitre so are going to need 75ml of resin per coaster.

As i am still a novice and will be using my starter pack of resin i brought from hobby craft. Pebeo Small Crystal Resin Kit will be buying more industrial sizes of resin in the near future as its quite fun to play with.

Safety first on with my nitrol gloves down with dead sexy pin Ikea silicon matt to stop mess on my workbench.

So this a 2:1 ratio so now for the maths 75 divided by 3 = 25 ml of hardener and 50 ml of resin out with the mixing jug for me. time to mix the resin do this in a gentle motion so as not to cause bubbles as i don’t have the money to get a vacuum vessel and pump at this moment. once mixed its time to add some colour as want this coster to be spacey i am going to add some Baja blue alcohol ink. I use the Jacquard Pinata Color inks as had them lying around from a prior project going to add drops till i get the right kind of darkness.

Next, the pour will fill the coaster halfway time to add some colour and sparkles and some glow powders going to use blue glow powder with some other colours this is totally free hand may look good may look rubbish but will hopefully be awesome.

got carried away with mix could more so do more. started off with the base blue but also pored one-pot with white ink and white glitter and white stars also added white glow in the dark powder the other with same just using silver glitter and stars and gold ink. will be putting the video together the next day or so just some shots to whet your appetites and yes it glows.

This was my second attempt.
this is my fav one of the 2 as did exactly what i was aiming for and did forget it glows.
great gas clouds perfect not to let it dry.

42 Drill and alan key Bits Storage shelf with added removal function

The problem

been buying quick release bits from wish and other suppliers just storing them in bags is not cutting it any more to time a made a storage tray for them all. was doing a tidy up in the cave last night came across more bits. put them in a draw. was lying in bed about to sleep when I had this design in my head last night waited till morning to put it into a design. the joys of dyslexia.

I had made a shelf for my retro pi NES box last night teaching my self new skills with tabs so i thought of what i had done and thought how to incorporate it with the design i was thinking of to make it a wall-mounted shelf.

So the principle for this is that all screwdriver hex bits are 1/4″ or for us, brits 6.35mm hex so on that principle i am going to do a test cut to make sure if i use the laser to cut that size it will fit if not will adjust its size.

first up lets design the tray going to be made up of 3 layers.

The first layer will be the baseboard and slider, Slider I hear you say what that for, all will be explained in the design. layer 2 and 3 will hold the bits.

Time to fire up my trusty Lightburn software to design and then cut it using a laser cutter.

Have made H counter leaver design for the wall if this does not hold the weight might go from tabs to another idea but cross that bridge when we come to it.

The first draft of the tool shelf with quick slide made the design up on the fly. for 4mm MDF

I will release the design once i have perfected it as with any project it might or might not be 100 per cent right the first time but let’s give it a go.

Time to test the hex size and then cut the full pattern, the joys of using light burn select the test part and then turn on cut selected graphics will only cut the one hexagon so i can make sure it fits.

Don’t forget to turn the option off after test cut.

Tested and yes i was right it was a little off and my thoughts of it being wrong were right so a little tweek. So now to test cut the design and make sure it all fits together before i glue it.

Wait I just thought of something to make it better!

Ok, i have decided to make 1 design change before the first cut to make the shelf more stable by adding second stabilization bar to stop any movement when taking the shelf in and out. the joys of having a dyslexic mind can figure out issues without even putting thigs down on paper.

Spot the 4 extra tabs in the design.
almost done.

So to assemble going to use 4 m3 screws and nuts to hold the 3 layers together will then mount to the wall using 2 X 4mm self tappers. going to glue using quick contact spray and glue.

Screws ready to put it together.
Screwfix special nice and cheap but great.
all glued right few issues but let mount it on the wall.

All glued let’s mount it and test it.

Not as tight as i want it. on the hex time to modify.

I am going to revamp the design slightly as a little too much play in the hexagons. and 2 back screws are binding so removed works fine so might just change base plate slightly to get it to work as well.

So back to the power of lightburn. Changed the dimensions by .300 in x and y to get a tighter fit. will test it tonight. I removed 2 back screws to stop it hitting the cross braces. I then took a few mm out of the back to stop it binding. will do cut of modified bits tonight and post findings later.

The fix changed the dimensions of the hex.

Will update this later once i have had time to cut modified bits. will then post the design.

did some more finessing of the design to make it much more usable have adjusted holes to make a tight fit and removed all bolts apart from m3 which are used for aligning the 2 hex panels during alignment and then glued boards in place.

the updated file works fine.
updated not bolts version just glued in place
all working fine.

Lightburn File download. please find a link to the file i have added information to the file that should be removed LINK

please enjoy and don’t sell my work.

Using Lightburn to make quick key rings for fun gifts on a 50w laser cutter.

Thought i would out a quick video for your entertainment as ran lots of these before Christmas as gifts for son’s nursery they are quick and easy to do.

Enjoy the video.

Heres how i did it in non-video format.

Step 1.

Open up Lightburn create and name in whatever font you like in my case have used army chalk font and my son’s name.

Step 2.

Using the offset toolset 3mm or bigger offset outwards with rounded selected.

Step 3.

Then i add the Ring for the keyring. this is done by adding a 4mm circle then adding 4mm offset as shown below.

Step 4.

Time to join them together place the rights and the outer edge together as shown below. select the outer edge of the keyring and outer circle then select the weld all shapes tool just below the offset tool.

Selected edges before the weld.
Selected edges now joined after weld.

Step 5.

To change the inner test to engrave path. in my case, I have the blue layer set for engraving. so, first of all, I select the text. then click on the blue layer to change it to fill layer.

Inner text selected before i then clicks on my blue layer to change it to a filled layer or engraved.
All ready to engrave and cut.

Step 6.

Settings in my case as i currently using 4mm Laserply that is a little unstable with glue blobs i currently cutting at 40% power 4mm/s and Engraving at 65% power and 350mm/s. now it’s ready to engrave and cut. This usually is around 2mins per keyring. can be done with an array of fonts i tend to do sheets at a time to make it cost-effective.

Step 7.

Wood prep work i tend to go over my laser ply boards with 400grit sandpaper on my orbital sander both sides before applying paper finishing tape. can see me smoothing it down int he video. now ready to cut.

Step 7.

Clean up and ringing of the key rings. i tend to peal all finishing tape and then light sand if needed i then grab my keyrings that have a solid ring with a split in it using snub nose pliers i insert it inside the ring and force apart i then place the ring through the wood and close using the pliers. bit hard to photo there is some over headshots of this in the video.

Finished items. from the video.

can use whatever font you like. to do this.

hope you enjoyed this project as much as i did. great gifts and work out under 50p each to make. did 100s of them over the Christmas and new year for friends and family.

I will be adding more videos

New projects got some fun idea coming up on the site already filmed the next video which i will post this evening. if time allows it as have been busy working on getting on of my rental property ready for new Tennent.

Have already filmed another video that one is more of an experiment to improve a project i saw over on a friends youtube channel.

So the next video is a how-to make quickly customizable keyrings for gifts using a laser cutter and lightburn software.

Followed by Resin pour using ink and glow in the dark powder if this works will lead on to a bigger project as thinking of doing some night lights for my boy using led fairy lights and some resin cast stars will be also making my own silicone mould to cast the stars.

Hoping to get my CNC machine working as well as want to do some cool stuff with that shortly.

got any ideas for a project and need some help drop me a line as always looking for ideas and would love to help some other bloggers or youtube channels.

Inlay Project part 2 clean up and polish prep work for filming.

have used 2 120grit sanding discs so far to get it down to a nearly flat state as my workbench is not a level as i thought it was. So the E has not filled in as i would like.

I will use a 600, 800 and 1500 grit discs before the video starts as till i get a vice cannot show this on my workbench.

time to sand some more.
orbital sanding done now for a quick clean

ready for 2500 and some micro-abrasive to take the scratches out and then a final polish after.

micro abrasive and polish 2500grit
ready to film the cleanup then polish

will be filming it tomorrow. as have an ill little boy tonight so think its going to be a long night.

More video content incoming with sound and multiple cameras if all works well.

Have had some technical difficulties with cameras and mic but think i have solved some of these issues hopefully by end of tonight i can film part two of the resin infill project so if all works will do this tomorrow.

very happy with the first attempt i have whizzed down the excess resin with my orbital sander and some 120grit sandpaper. Really need a sanding booth dust out brake think next time will do it outside.

some pitting from my bench not being level. now to make it shine.

Good News seems to all be working now just got to do some re-running of USB cables to get rid of the issues with running more than 2 HD cams on one USB port. Will test out the gaming headset for mic audio.

touch wood will all be good so i can film the final finishing of the coaster.