startshape realStart rule realStart { start { x 2 } } background { b -1 } rule start { terminal4 { r 12 } } rule start { terminal1 { r 12 } } rule start { terminal4 { r 12 } } rule start { terminal4 { r 12 } } rule start .05 { terminal2 { r 12 } } rule terminal4 { SQUARE { b 0.50 s .055 sat 0.40 hue 95 } SQUARE { b 1 s .055 a -.8 } train { x .06 } train { r 90 y .06 } train { r 180 x -.06 } train { r 270 y -.06 } } rule terminal2 2 { SQUARE { b 1 s .055 a -.85 } train { r 90 y .06 } train { r 270 y -.06 } } rule terminal2 1 { SQUARE { b 1 s .055 a -.8 } train { x .06 } train { r 90 y .06 } } rule terminal2 1 { SQUARE { b 1 s .055 a -.85 } train { x.06 } train { r 270 y -.06 } } rule terminal1 { CIRCLE { b 1 s .055 a -.9 } train { r 90 y .06 } } rule terminal1 { CIRCLE { b 1 s .055 a -.9 } train { r -90 y -.06 } } rule train 1 { CIRCLE { b 1 s .045 a -.9 } train { x .06 } } rule train 2 { terminal1 { } } rule train .02 { terminal2 { } } rule train .005 { terminal4 { } } rule train .03 { CIRCLE { b 1 s .03 a -.9 r -95 } }

Keith's Blog

A teen's .net musings

Day 1–Dremel Tool = awesome

Posted on July 9, 2012 at 2:35 AM



I am not the average teenager. I just turned 17 and for my birthday I did not get a video game, new bike, or computer (although I have gotten all those in past years). No, this year, my parents bought me a 3d printer. Specifically they bought me the cast set of clonedel parts that I can then use in combination with some other non DIY “vitamins” or store-bought pieces. The clonedel is a variation on the prusa mendel 3d printer which itself is an open hardware project who’s goal is to eventually create a machine that when given the material, could print a copy of itself. The clonedel was designed by students at UW who wanted to make their own 3d printers but did not have the time/money to print their own parts. so they invented a better and faster way to manufacture the parts in bulk for about one third the cost. These theoretically self replicating machines are called RepRaps, however the clonedel cast parts were not made by a 3d printer and are therefor called RepStraps due to their bootstrapping in order to eventually print better parts for itself. Anyways, this blog is my attempt to document the process of building myself a 3d printer, and as such I plan on taking many pictures and writing about what worked and inevitably, what didn’t. I hope that it is as useful and fun as I suspect making it will be.

This is day one. I have zero experience with making 3d printers and I have what knowledge of power tools that comes from a semester long of 7th grade shop. In other words I am going in blind, but with that comes the expectation that I will learn a lot and be more able to take care of myself afterward when I need to go to college. Today, my birth day, I got up and went with my dad to the Metrix Create Space in Seattle. There we acquired the cast parts of a clonedel that we had ordered yesterday. There, Mat, a Metrix employee, informed us that he had caste many extras for us and that we should plan on returning on Thursday to get all of the parts aligned.  We then made a trip to Harbor Freight Tools in order to purchase a cheap drill press that was rumored to be sold there. We found the 80 dollar press (amazing deal for a 5 speed desktop model) and due to long checkouts also bought a generic dremel tool as well as a pair of safety goggles, cause they looked handy.

Useful Part

Ok now for the interesting bit if you actually want to build one. All current clonedel parts are cast with molds made from a professional 3d printer at Metrix. These molds were not sanded after created, so all of the clonedels have ruff edges and sides. On top of that, since the parts were poured into the molds, many of the pieces have overflow which blocks holes and leaves edging that needs trimmed or sanded. The tool that really saved the day for me was the cheap dremel set that we bought at Harbor Freight.


Not only was it super simple to use and highly self explanatory, but it also just worked. The particular tool as you can see was from Chicago Electric and was on sale at Harbor Freight for 10 bucks. With it came many tips that ranged from sanders (like the one shown) to diamond tips that are used for grinding. I picked the smaller of the sanding tips because it was coarse enough to grind away at things without shaking my hand apart.

Note To Self:

The dremel tool will turn in one direction and one direction only. It is very important that you find how to hold the dremel tool so that all of the dust flies into the container instead of your face and lungs. Trust me, your eyes will thank me later.

I found that even though there was copious amounts of dust created, a simple card board box did the trick to contain the mess. I cut out a part of a side so that I had a container and just sanded the pieces inside of the box. It worked well and didn’t require much clean up either.

Dust Catcher

When actually sanding down the pieces, I found it very useful have a pair of pliers on hand and a carving pocket knife to chip off the stubborn parts. The trick with the pliers is to hold on very tightly or else the pieces will slide out of your grip from the vibrations. Some of the pieces have large pieces coming off of them from the mold, and I found that you should not be afraid to just run the sander on it for a long time. It creates a ton of probably carcinogenic dust, but it is miles easier than trying to hack them off with an exacto knife.

Not Sanded PieceSanded Piece

As you can see above, the trick with this is to just sand the edges at this point. I didn’t drill anything yet because one, I didn’t have a clamp, and two, that wasn’t the point. The main goal at the moment is to smooth out the different parts and to familiarize myself with the dremel and the various pieces which I will use later in the project.



  1. Use the dremel tool. Its cheap, quick and gets the job done.
  2. You need a container, or else the dust will probably kill you.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the parts, and probably count them (I didn’t)
  4. Use the goggles my friend. They could save you from reading tiny bumps on the walls with your fingers.
  5. The parts aren’t water soluble. Sinks are good ways to get rid of dremel detritus.

Ok, Day 1 done. Tomorrow, I plan on buying the rods that I need and possibly drilling some holes in stuff. Until then, happy sanding!

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