Designing and 3D Printing a Jig for Measurement Ease

by Brandon Harris

A Brothers Request

My Brother came to me with a request for a “Jig” that would help speed up his productivity at work. What he needed was a tool that would accurately, and quickly mark the location for him to drill a hole for a cabinet handle. It needed to conveniently help him mark from 1 ½” to 3” with ¼” increments from the outside face of the cabinet door.  After chatting about the layout, and what he needed, I was able to model it in SOLIDWORKS.

Using simple extrudes, I settled on this picture below. There is a lip to rest on the side of the cabinet door, and openings every ¼” that are wide enough to give a mark at the desired dimension.

Let the Printing Begin

For the print, I used a Stratasys Fortus 250mc. I decided to print it on its side to minimize the chance of the lip breaking off. If I printed it with the long face down, it would be more visually pleasing. This is because the layers would print in the direction of the main face. But, in that case, the lip would be weaker with a chance of breaking at one of the layers.

I noticed that the text was too shallow on the first print and did not show well. To remedy this, I made the text bolder, and the extrude deeper. My brother asked me to shorten the lip to ¾” to clear the cabinet door. I added fillets to the openings to make the print a bit nicer.

Lesson Learned

With this being a tool, I didn’t feel that the color was important.  White just so happened to be in the printer so I went with that. After it printed, the text was visible, but I wanted to add some contrast.  So, I decided to used a sharpie to color in the extruded cuts. That was a big mistake for this first timer! I found out that sharpie has a tendency of bleeding out between the layers. You can see that result in the photo below.

At the end of the day, I felt accomplished.  I learned a lesson and still had a tool worth presenting to my brother. He’s pretty happy with it!

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