Joining PLA filament

A simple but easy way

I found a simple solution to joining PLA on a YouTube video that seems to work and does not need any after cleaning. It appealed to my lazy approach to find simple solutions to problems.

Buy some 1/16″ bore / 1/8″ outside diameter (1.6mm x 3.2mm) silicon tubing from Amazon. This is sold in 10 feet lengths. Note it must be silicon so it does not melt with heat.

Cut off a 1″ / 25mm length of the tubing. Cut the ends of the filament square. Insert the ends of the filament into the tube so they butt into each other. It helps to stretch the tubing so when it is released it puts pressure on the two filament ends.

Use a soldering iron or similar hot device, heat the tube in the area of the join for a minute or so. Once it has melted, roll the warm joint gently between your fingers and then leave to cool. Once cool slide the tubing off the filament or if mid reel then slit it and remove it.

You will have a joint that is hardly visible and which does not need any further processing such as rubbing down.

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Illuminated Optical Centre Punch

A variation of a recently published design

There was a feature in a recent engineering forum by Nell’s Mechanical Man Cave regarding a 3D printed Optical Centre Punch.   The design had an angled magnified side window allowing the viewing of the punch point.  This conveniently allowed viewing of the point without having to swap out the viewer lens.

The author was offering a free download of the STL files for the punch body and also two versions of a base print.   I made contact and received the print files and duly printed out the body and base models.

To get a better understanding I suggest you view the YouTube post on the following link :

My immediate impression of the design was positive with the only drawback being the limited light available inside the punch body when trying to align the punch point.

I started a dialogue with Neil and suggested to him that the addition of LED lighting inside the punch body might solve this problem.  Neil was positive and supportive of the suggestion and the result is detailed below.

I re-modelled the punch in Fusion 360 and after some experimentation decided to mount two white light LEDs inside the dome of the body with the associated battery and switch mounted in the top surface of the body under a removeable cap.  Here are a couple of visual views out of Fusion.

You can download my full write up and updated STL files from the following ZIP file link.

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Ubiquitous Dishwasher Tablets and their uses

Worth a mention but not engineering (sorry….).

We are still in France so engineering activity is minimal other than time on Fusion 360 which sadly included creating a layout plan for a small tiling job we had to do. (Must recommend this to Autodesk ….).

Some years ago we installed a Jacuzzi spa. This contains two large filter cartridges. These need regular cleaning. You can buy the branded proprietary cleaning agent either as a powder or a spray on fluid. Both work well but are expensive. The powder is used as an overnight soak. The problem with cleaning spa filters is if the cleaner is the wrong compound you cannot get rid of the soap content and the spa becomes a huge bubble bath when you turn the pumps on. There is a similar problem if you rinse your swimming costume afterwards in the shower. The soap residue in the material leads to spa froth when you next use the spa. You can of course go ‘au nature’ but that’s another story.

After some research we found a source of bio dishwasher tablets. Four of these dissolved in a large container will clean the spa filters overnight. The tablets do not appear to damage the filter material fibres and rinse well to not leave a contaminating soapy content. Needless to say they are much cheaper than the proprietary cleaning chemicals.

This got me thinking. How many other such filters are there in the house which could also benefit from a clean and reuse rather than dump and replace ? A vacuum cleaner is another which depending on the model could contain three or four filters. Cooker extracts are a possible target although many now have a stainless steel filter which can be cleaned in the dishwasher. HEPA filters in 3D printer enclosures ? (not tried this)

Finally, same theme, it’s Saturday night and you have had maybe a nice steak or fish cooked in your griddle pan. It’s late and you want to crash out and clean up in the morning. You know how horrible that pan is going to be to clean tomorrow but bed calls. Just part crumble a dishwasher tablet into the pan and add some hot water. Tomorrow morning you will be able to just wipe it clean.

These tips brought to you by Woody’s Workshop, a Yorkshire born engineer always looking for a lazy, low cost way to solve a problem. (Smiley face)

Don’t worry I’m just going stir crazy and need to get back home and into the workshop.

BTW – Did you see that Clough42 got the YT 100k subscribers award. Well deserved. Congratulations James.

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