First post of a project - wire dispenser

I love our Glowforge, and seeing the cool and creative stuff that people are posting is a little intimidating. The things I make are more utilitarian. I bought some hook up wire in three different gauges for my various electronics projects. It came in a cardboard box that was pretty ‘meh’. I tried a couple different ways of storing it, and the boxes quickly got destroyed. So it started to look like this in my toolbox.

After rewinding the wire on the spools for at least the fourth time, I took some measurements and knocked together this design.
Some time with the glue and a rubber band later and I have three boxes that require intention to dispense the wire rather than have it all over.

I’ve reworked the top cover so the holes are more in line radially as the wire comes off, and engraved the wire gauge as well. I’ll post a picture once I get a chance to cut them.

(Hoping that I uploaded the pictures correctly.)


Love it! (I’m currently going through trying to get the clutter under control too…ain’t nothing wrong with utilitarian!) :sunglasses::+1:


Yeah I like it, and the captive screw/nut system is cool.


wonderful solution to your problem.

I missed that the first look. I have spools of all sorts of things from Velcro to elastic and all sorts of things. A great Idea. :star_struck:

Nice. I’m a big fan of utilitarian projects as well as the more artistic sort. Hope you’ll keep sharing!


I use AutoCAD at my dayjob, so most of my designs are done in AutoCAD. Because of this, I have the ability to use blocks, predefined drawings that simply get inserted into the current design. one of them is the captive 3mm nut and bolt. The insertion point is the center of the bolt shaft (the little blue dot below), which means I can simply drop them in where I need them.
The hex nut is a press fit, and the bolt sort of self threads in its cavity, so they are fairly secure.

I’ve also found that a dustbuster type vacuum is really helpful for removing all the little cut out holes and other bits and bobs that get left behind from a cut, rather than having to go though afterwards and remove them by hand.


I did Autocad from 1988 before it was even 3d . so many automated bits are possible, and I blew out those with 300 odd Lisp assists many now built in. A favorite that few folk use is that the block definition is only the name in the object and you can change it to any other name and as long as the insertion points are congruent it just changes from one thing to the next. so if you have a block B that contains 2 block As you can change A to B and explode it and have 2 As and change those etc.

I love these practical projects! Perfect use of the machine in my opinion. Keep showing us your stuff!

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I spent the evening at our makerspace and had a few minutes to cut the replacement covers.

They work much better now and it does not feel like I am scraping off the insulation as it comes off the spool.

And here is a zoom in on the captive nut and bolt.

The extra lines on this are because I had to check my alignment, our camera is off and I’m waiting on some draft board to run the calibration. In the OP, you may be able to see that some of the box joints on the un-assembled material are short because I misjudged the offset and put my design too close to the edge of the blank.


This project speaks to me! I too have those boxes of hook up wire. Never even occurred to me to make a more durable dispenser.

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I’d be happy to upload the design if it would be helpful for others. Do I put it in this thread or does it have to go in the Free Laser Design forum? My toolpath is CAD - PDF - Glowforge, is PDF acceptable?


You can do it in either place, but since you’re generous enough to share, if you load it in the Free Files section more people who want it will probably see it. :slightly_smiling_face:


I’ll start with it here, and put a more concise post over in free laser designs.
This version does not have the text in it, I figure most anyone with a GF should be able to put their own custom text in place.

wire box.pdf (6.6 KB)

Just be sure when assembling to get the holes on the sides to the top, and insert the center ‘axel’ before gluing. I kind of went belt and suspenders to keep the stoo’pit spools from coming out. It’s a tight fit in 3mm baltic birch, but it’s not like they get reloaded frequently.


Thanks for sharing.

Yay for organization projects!

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Love it!!! My favorite kind of project. Anything storage or organizational! Very nice!

Thank you for sharing your file. I’m sure there are quite a few that will make use of it!