The power of 3D design software

I had used Sketchup before getting involved with the Glowforge but used it only for modeling ideas and not for real world construction. The awesome skills of the forum members like @karaelena and @henryhbk really inspired me to keep trying to learn either OnShape or Fusion 360. I kept dabbling with both but OnShape won the day for me with its cross platform, web browser utility. There is a drawback that my designs are public. Not worried about getting copied, more at getting embarrassed by my attempts.

It wasn’t until April that I finally crashed learned OnShape and was able to produce a design that worked well with the Glowforge and allowed me to resize parametrically. A simple enough shelf, but it took a long weekend to really get the basics of the workflow down and be productive. I know that this is bread and butter for a lot of folks on the forum. I just want to demonstrate that 3D design software is accessible and affordable and hope to inspire others to keep learning. The Glowforge just works. Don’t sweat too much about learning how to use it and and the stuff about settings. The most important thing next to having a good location and good materials is having good designs. Until the Glowforge design catalog goes live, you will need to learn design software to get the most out of your Glowforge. There are just few designs out there that you can print without needing to tweak it. So glad there are so many good free designs in that category on the forum for you to try out.

I was feeling a lull in the creativity with the production units coming out and my early version pre-release not quite able to have the full power profile available. I ordered a Prusa i3 kit and it was delivered after only a three week delay. The assembly went fine and after a little fiddling with getting the Z axis dialed in and understanding the PEI sheet and adhesion, I’ve been printing pretty much non stop for a month. After a few of the samples and test prints, I started focusing on fixing a few of the broken things that I would really like to keep around but are limited by having some small broken plastic parts. So I have already given examples in the main build and demo topic. This is for some other things I have since worked on: The Prusa is working flawlessly. Only one Chernobyl event caused trying to do two parts on the bed at the same time and not getting settings correct.

Nothing as intriguing as @henryhbk’s medical stuff nor engineered to perfection like @karaelena’s rotary device, but very, very practical.

The light switch knob for my brother’s 2002 F150.
What I got to work with:


Eventually I got ahold of the actual broken knob and was able to make this:

And finished knob that works fine.

Going for functional here. I’ve since learned a bit more about the Prusa and getting better surfaces on the prints, but they just work great. I had to take apart the hot end and put it all back together and it actually is better calibrated than before now.

A raspberry pi camera mount.

I took a design from thingiverse and redid it from the ground up to make it stronger and give it more extension on the camera post. It is now in use looking at my 3D printer bed and giving me a remote view on the print.

I have a laundry hamper that is about 15 years old. It works great. three mesh bags sit in a PVC frame on wheels. Over time the connectors for the PVC broke. I duct taped them but they didn’t quite work right. So I made much stronger corners and brackets. I think I might even make my own version of the whole set up. I need to get a three hole hamper set up for the Glowforge to put the cutouts and scraps into. The wood and acrylic just don’t work on the normal plastic bag and if I get some nice canvas bags I can collect the stuff for disposal or recycling. one bag acrylic, one bag wood and one bag other materials. Easy enough with the connectors now.

Broken parts:


A couple corners and one bracket fixed. Did the other ones and it is more rigid than before.

There are lots of hose clamps on thingivers (and one funny YouTube video where a 3D printing guy gives ten practical things to do with a 3D printer). I went ahead and designed my own using the chrome screws I had on hand. They are PLA at the moment, but will work for this summer until I get some more robust filament or get my enclosure done for ABS.

First iteration was a little over-engineered.

Second one works great with just four screws. OnShape has a hole command that comes with standard profiles of nuts and bolts to get the countersink correct. The hex nut is simple enough of a sketch for the other side

I have a decent Black and Decker blender that I use at my cabin to make up the pizza sauce. The ring that contains the blade unit and gasket that screws onto the glass pitcher has broken three times. After the first break, I ordered two replacements at the same time. The replacement was worse than the wimpy original part. Cracked when I screwed the ring in tight and not quite the full height to catch all the threads of the pitcher base. I did CA glue, I did epoxy, I did JB weld and nothing really worked but duct tape and just putting up with the leaky bottom.

This replacement ring was an important factor in the justification for buy a 3D printer. (rationalization?)

It’s has some complexity to it. I had to learn helixes, lofts and one big lesson about using thinking from every angle. I did my first model using a ring as the base profile and then used complex drafts to make the wider top and narrower bottom of the ring extruded up. When I was done with it, it wasn’t quite precise enough and then it dawned on me that I needed to do a front profile sketch and revolve around that to get the correct angle of the ring as it rises. So much simpler.

Reward for my labors. In the meanwhile I’ve still been doing a few things on the Glowforge. I have a project now that I am using the laser to make a part fast that normally would take a long time for the 3D printer.

So that’s what I have been up to.


I am truly impressed with how far you have come. I’ve been playing with F360 for a while now and doubt I could do that blender part.
This is the closest thing to real magic I know of, to know 3d modeling and have a 3d printer, a :glowforge: and a cnc.


Very impressive! I really like OnShape too.




Yep. Every time I see a finished print, I just giggle and say, “It’s magic!”


Fantastic work @marmak3261! You make that all look so easy…

I have held off getting a 3d printer for forever, since I just could not see enough use to rationalize the cost. I really only like to make things that are going to last for a long time. Kinda why I like metal. But your examples here make me think of at least a half dozen things I either keep fixing, or have not bothered to fix. Maybe I need to finally break down and do it. Thanks, I think.


Wow! As someone who went to school for 3d animation, I am floored by what you are doing! I have a 3d printer, and have only used it a few times, and never for anything as practical as your endeavors. Keep up the fantastic work!


First, get more comfortable with the ephemeral. Next, buy a 3d printer, but make sure it is one that can handle newer filaments. Knowing you, you will be making some really cool things with it soon and the ability to use nylon and other advanced materials makes a big difference.

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Not being argumentative, just curious. Why you would suggest that? I have spent some time with a 3D printer learning to make things I can cast. In metal. :wink:

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I suggest that because, while I’m sure you get a lot out of life, there are things lost without appreciating the ephemeral. Flowers bloom for a few short days (for that matter, so do we, but on another time scale) and I don’t want them cast in iron. Just being a bit philosophical.


Unbelievable work! Truly impressive!!! I’m with @jkopel on the 3D printer world but you guys are killing me, between @marmak3261 and @henryhbk work I don’t think I have a choice any more


Wow! The next time someone tells me they can’t think of any practical uses for a 3D printer (about a weekly conversation) I’m going to show them this post.


I make practical things with mine all the time. Custom brackets, knobs, handles, rubber feet, enclosures for electronics, etc. If you make things that don’t need to be aesthetically perfect or very big 3D printing is the best solution.


Sitting here, totally wowed! Some amazing software work, and 3D prints. Wow! Wow! Wow!

I’m realizing how little time there actually is to learn enough to do what you have. Which pains me. I’m interested in learning the various software, just can’t seem to find even an hour a day. Which means the GlowForge won’t be used as much as I’d like. Not to mention the interest in adding a 3D printer.


Thank you for that, I now understand what you mean. I agree, some of the most wonderful things are indeed ephemeral. Few if any of the ones I appreciate the most are made out of plastic though, and that is why I have just never been attracted to the printers as more then a curiosity.

I am always willing to rethink my position in the face of evidence like this. :slight_smile:


Well done sir! You are picking this up fast and running with it, that is some advanced stuff you’re pulling off beautifully!


I’m working on a bigger project and have the object designed but it requires a larger build area than my i3 has and I might have to turn this into a machined or cast aluminum part. But that is another story. In the meanwhile, I resurrected a Krups kitchen slicer that has been idle for ten years missing the locking screw for the blade. It got thrown away one day, I assume in a pile of vegetable peelings or something. I never got around to searching for this part online. Today I did and found a picture of it. Made measurements from the slicer and printed a new part. The first one fit perfectly and it worked. I just tightened it too tight and broke the threaded screw as I had only 20% infill for a test part. So I printed a second one and did a better infill. I got some PETG today, but didn’t load it. This should work as is since it doesn’t really hold the blade in compression but acts as the axle.

Photo of part and model of part:

Printed part:

Reward for my labors: testing it out on some smoked brisket.:

I love my Prusa!


@marmak3261 , I’m going to suggest that you don’t use a plastic screw on the blade of a meat slicer. I had one come off on me once…if I had been standing in front of it, I wouldn’t be here.

Get a metal locking screw. The plastic might not hold up to the vibration. (Great job recreating the part though.)

I know I probably worry too much. :neutral_face:


Like all the others, I’m so impressed with your 3-d design skills! Amazing!


First: awesome job on the screw–looks fantastic!

Second: smoked brisket!!! Oh yum!!!