Hey! This thing is still a Work in Progress. Files, instructions, and other stuff might change!

Customizable Locking Pencil Box Set

by MakerBobDesigns, published

Customizable Locking Pencil Box Set by MakerBobDesigns Sep 16, 2013
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11959Views 5727Downloads Found in Learning


9/24/13 Update: I added an extra routine to the picture module to slice it up in 2 x nozzle widths. This allows the lid to be printed at less than 100% infill without hurting the lithophane. I think it also looks better with all the lines running the same way.

Talk about useful!
You can make this pencil box set in whatever configuration you need.
You can personalize it with your favorite photo, quote, and even put your name on it.
When you have all your supplies stored inside, lock the box with your unique pencil topper key. You can rest easy knowing your things are protected in your one of a kind locking pencil box.
You need a ruler? How long? What about a protractor? Do you need metric or imperial units? Don't fret, because you can choose the best fit for your needs.

It is possibly the most customizable thing on thingiverse, so if you don't have patience for slow OpenSCAD, "don't come around here no more!"
You can use the example STL files, but your kids probably will not be very amused!

Pieces you get:
1 body with customizable size and dividers.
1 ruler with customizable configuration and decorations.
1 pencil topper with customizable logo that acts as a key for the box.
1 lid with captured latch mechanisim
1 lid without latch (for dualstrusion)
1 latch (for dualstrusion)

Please read the instructions for specific part customizing tips, or use the customizer text with each setting. I think it is pretty straight forward. Continue below for the custom features of the customizer user interface. Thanks for using my creation, it was a lot of work!

Customizer user interface challenges and solutions:

You cannot change default rotation during the customization, you only get one chance at getting it right. I used rotate and translate to reorient the parts for different viewing angles. Check out the assembly of all parts in the "Slicing and printing" tab!

Export multiple STL. The theory behind the "part" parameter is a good one. You choose to view and customize each part, then customizer exports them all. The problem is, if you set up custom views (see above), customizer will export a lot of unprintable garbage. You also must have the part parameter visible to the user for this function to work. I overcame this by using the customizer tabs to set up and display custom views. The part parameter is in the printer platform setup tab. It just controls the views there, so you can see the orientation with the build plate. When you create your thing, the display_tab parameter goes to the default setting (mine is ""). This triggers the export part module, which cycles through only the parts I want exported.

This is a big .scad file with lots of modules. I could not avoid using some hull() and minkowski() functions, despite the warnings on the best practices page. I used a default value for $fn on applicable modules, then when the export part module is called, it is overwritten with a larger value.

I used a custom polygon shape to mask the corners of the drawing canvas, so the design will not extend past the round key. I also added a custom shape to the same routine that makes the MakerBot logo!

I found that if you have a variable parameter used for text input that contains an underscore like "key_text", the customizer version of Write.scad will not handle it. Use one word variables instead like "keytext".

Sometimes when you edit a thing that is a work in progress, the check box gets magically unchecked. I overcome this by checking!

User MichaelAtOz pointed out a customizer error when the display tabs are not in full view. I wrote in an error check for this situation to alert the user to click the arrows and try again.

Please download my script, and use parts of it to make your customizable things easier to use!



Before you begin, here is how the customized thing works overall.
The rounded objects are intentionally set to a low resolution for display purposes.
They are refined when you create your thing.
Please uncheck publish your thing, unless it is fun and useful for others. Instead, you should use the "I made one" function to post your pencil box photo link here.
All the parts will be created in your own thing, so don't try to export one part at a time.
Take your time to make sure everything is set how you want before committing. It takes quite a while for your results.
As always, I am open to comments or suggestions.

The first tab is "Lid inside settings". Here is what you can do:
Choose from custom decorations for the inside of your lid.
You can choose a text block with up to 6 lines of text. Choose the font, height, letter spacing, and line spacing.
You can choose a lithophane style image.
You get either text or image centered, text and image with options for the left / right orientation, or you can choose none, and make all of my hard work for nothing!

The second tab is "Lid inside content", where you get to make your selections on the previous tab count!
You can input a 100x100 image and invert the image. Don't forget to visit the Slicing and Printing tab to set up your items!
Update in V2.0 - Your image is now sliced vertically into 2*nozzle widths, so you can print the lid at less than 100% infill without hurting the lithophane image!
There are six places for text. Leave any you don't want blank. I have some suggestions set as defaults, so make sure to change them before you create your items.

The next tab is "Lid outside". Here, you will be able to input your name, or anything else you want into the two text spots that are on either side of the latch. You can select different setting for this text than what is inside.
Tip: use this view, or the design key view to make sure your outside and inside text doesn't overlap.

Now you get to "Customize body".
Here, you will select the overall dimensions of your pencil box, and set your divider orientation.
Dividers the long way (X direction) go from side to side, and you can choose to have from 1 to 3 sections this way.
Dividers the short way (Y direction) go from side to side if you don't have any long ones, or from the catch side to the first long divider. You can choose to have from 1 to 4 sections this way, and with the long way, we are now up to 6 sections! But wait, there's more!
If you set the center to "yes", the short dividers are repeated in the center section of 2 long dividers.
You can have one big box, or up to 9 sections divided up!

Now we come to the reason why this OpenSCAD file is slow on Customizer "Design key".
In the lid tabs, you may have noticed that there was no latch. This view shows the latch and corresponding key with the lid for reference. The key is a pencil topper that you use as a screwdriver to lock the pencil box.
You can choose from the MakerBot logo, put in your initials, or draw your own key. I have set the default to make the pencil box and ruler designs right reading, but you can change that too!
The logo and text portions are pretty easy, but here is how the "Draw" feature works:
There is now a circular canvas to draw in. You cannot go out of the lines, or you will be penalized one stroke. The revert to default button brings back the empty circle. Where did the "Easter" bunny go? Maybe he is lurking in the text box.... No, I have said too much.

Now, on to the "Ruler".
You get to choose the length with both inches and centimeters represented.
You get to choose a type of ruler or protractor, and finally, choose whether or not to include some of the customized content from the previous tabs.
Update: You can now use different text on the ruler, and select the text options here as well. The text font affects the numbers on the ruler, but thier height is set in stone... I mean plastic. ;-)

On the "Printer platform setup" tab, along with the standard build plate settings, you get to see a list of parts that will be exported. When you choose items in this box it doesn't affect the parts themselves, but you can view the print orientation based on the build plate.

"Slicing and printing"
Just because you are a trooper, and made it all the way to the last tab, I have a treat for you! The view is setup to show you all your new stuff!
You need to do some work, however. Set your nozzle, layer height, number of layers for the image (if you chose that), and if you want helper disks on the sharp corners of your items.
If you get the customizer error message, use the left / right arrows near the tabs to get the tab to be more visible, and then try again.

Now, get to it!

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The best thing ever!, it will be so useful as im starting high school soon, so thanks.

useless my pencils doint fit in it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Q!!!!!!!!!!

Why don't YOU design one?!!!!!!Q!!!!!!!!

I am assuming you mean the length? Have you tried the customizer? Under the customize body tab, the length setting is set to a default of 190mm. You can lengthen the box up to your printer bed length.

Alternatively, you can customize your pencil length with a hacksaw.

Squeal ! I can not wait to open this in openSCAD, thanks for the amazing work. This is just what I wanted to do if I had more time and expertise, and you have done it for us all.

Thank you for being excited! This is by far the most complex OpenSCAD code I have created. I hope the comments and numerous module splits will help you follow along. There is a lot of code that is dedicated strictly to the customizer user interface, but it should also run pretty smoothly on your desktop. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Cool.. Looks like somthing you could get at Office Depot.

I was trying for a useful set that kids could actually take to school without causing disruption to the class.

Of course, you couldn't get it personalized and customized for your needs at an office store.

Version 1.3 is fully functional and print ready! Get to work making your own version.

Early testing shows a need for more tolerance in the key mechanics. I am testing the screw part and hinges now. I always seem to try to make things too tight! Check back later.