Steward's Notes

Environment, Making and Everything in Between

3 Great 3D Printed Canning Jar Inventions

In honour of Mason Jar Day I decided to put together a list of great mason jar inventions from thingiverse that you can print at home! Nearly all of my favorite projects for 3D printing come from taking everyday objects such as mason jars and producing something new and wonderful!

#1 Mini Mason Jar Greenhouse

ekopapers produced this wonderful little mason jar greenhouse that includes a self watering insert. A great design for keeping pets out or warm air in! He got the neat colour pattern by swapping filament Just make sure the bottom gets sealed to prevent any leaking.

#2 Modular Candy Dispenser

A great idea for the kitchen, your desktop or just to put a fun “twist” on your candy habit. This neat dispenser prints in 5 parts and uses the mason jar as a hopper for your candy. All of the parts snap together so there is no hardware required! Produced by MeesterED.

#3 Hummingbird Feeder

A great design by thingiverse user schlem. As a lover of birds and especially hummingbirds I absolutely love this design. It comes apart quickly making it easy to clean. It uses the mason jar as the holder for the hummingbird food. Just make sure you print the flowers in bright colours to attract the birds!

A Quiet Enclosure for the Monoprice Select Mini

After moving the MPSM to the bedroom adjacent to ours, it became impossible to print while sleeping, it just made too much noise. I decided it was high time I came up with an enclosure for the machine. Luckily I had all of the tools and hardware I needed. I just needed to get my hands on a piece of plywood from Home Hardware. I grabbed a nice 4×8 sheet of project panel which was more than enough for this cabinet. I wanted to make sure that there was plenty of space below to store any extra pieces of hardware or tools and that there was plenty of lighting to ensure that I could see what was happening in the cabinet.

I started by producing a rough wooden box with the plywood. Unfortunately I didn’t have access to the table saw at the time, so I was stuck using the circular saw. It was nothing that a quick pass with the belt sander couldn’t handle (Thanks Peterborough Tool Library!). The door was quickly cut with a jigsaw and attached using some cheap hinges from the hardware store.  I also cut two holes in the back to place some fans for controlled ventilation.

The electronics all came together smoothly, and I even had most of the parts I needed lying around. I used a small 12v 5a power supply for the LEDs and the fans. It was all wired together using a small piece of breadboard and controlled by some red push buttons I had lying around. All of the electronics fit in a small space in the base of the cabinet.

I wanted it to be very bright inside the cabinet, so I painted the inside with some high gloss white paint. I stained the outside of the cabinet with some oil. I even had some helpers come by for this part of the project! After it had all dried, I placed the electronics back in place and reattached the hardware. I used a small piece of 1/8 inch glass attached with some hardware corner brackets printed on the 3D printer. The extra space in the bottom also houses a raspberry pi that I run octoprint on.


With the printer in place it is time for a test print. Next up I would like to run my webcam into the enclosure to be able to monitor my prints remotely. I’ll keep you updated with some slick videos produced in the cube!

Sleek Z Axis Support – Essential Monoprice Mini Mods (V2)

There are several Z axis support downloads that exist for the Monoprice Select Mini printer. After I noticed some wobble on my printer, I wanted to see if a Z axis stabilizer could fix things up for me. Unfortunately I wasn’t a fan of most of the designs that were available on Thingiverse.  Several of the attachments for the end of the gantry were bulky and diddn’t actually align with the Z axis rods. The attachments to the side panel were bulky and didn’t necessarily fit with the other modifications that I had completed on the printer. So I set about to design a mod that fixed all these problems.

Download the files from the downloads page (more…)

Setting Adaptive Layer Height With Cura for the Monoprice Select Mini

Recently I started printing 3d topographies as an educational tool. They are relatively flat for the majority of the print, but when it comes to the surface, having thicker layer heights left much to be desired. Due to the large volume being printed, setting a smaller layer heights sent printing times through the roof. I needed a better solution. Enter adaptive layer heights.


Building the rCrumbl the Ultimate RaspberryPi Phone

About a year ago I set out to create a functional smartphone from a Raspberry Pi. Its been a fun adventure. I began this project with only a moderate amount of experience in working with electronics, and I’ve come a long way since that time. I am by no means the first person to create a raspberry pi phone there are one or two people who I am certain have come before me. In order to claim some sort of title for the work that I would be doing, I decided that I would attempt to create the smallest form factor phone possible given my knowledge and experience. This alone became quite the challege, but in the process I learned a great deal about product design, CAD, and 3D printing. (more…)

No Drill Gantry LED Upgrade – Essential Monoprice Mini Mods

The Monoprice Select Mini has become the workhorse of my 3D printing and making projects since I acquired it in the fall. I haven’t had many complaints while using it, but one issue that I felt needed to be addressed was the dark build plate. Obstructed by the gantry and the print head, it is very difficult to see what is happening on the print surface and make adjustments to bed height or monitor any issues that may be occurring within the print itself. In order to fix this issue I decided to wire up an LED strip to the gantry assembly. Since I don’t always require an LED strip running on the printer, I wanted to include a switch to control the light in an easy to reach location.

You can download the files to complete this modification free of charge from our store page.

Materials and Equipment List:


Steward’s Notes is Makin’ (Water) Bacon!

You’ve seen it on the welcome sign.

You’ve seen it debated in city hall.

Now you can see it on your key chain!

Introducing pocket sized water bacon!

Wholly manufactured in my closet under the stairs using the latest cutting edge technology. It is now possible for you to bring home the (Water) Bacon. Visit to order yours today. A big thank you to Kawartha Local for making bacon dreams a reality.

3D Printing Peterborough Watersheds

Within the sphere of 3D printing there are a plethora of examples of how to print topographic maps. Much of this interest comes from the reproduction of topographies from popular video games or modeling significant landscape features such as mountains or canyons. The standard format has been to display these models using arbitrary or aesthetically pleasing boundaries, often a square or a circle (or even puzzle pieces)

One of the primary motivators for my acquisition of a 3D printer was the ability to reproduce landscapes with the natural watershed boundaries that already exist. This turned out to be a much more daunting task than I had initially anticipated, however I think the results were well worth it! Now that I have started to refine my techniques, I hope to be able to reproduce interesting watershed topographies for all of Peterborough and beyond!

The Mississippi River model as seen from the air (US Army Corps of Engineers, 2006)

Watershed models have a long history in the management of water resources. The US Army Corps of Engineers produced a gigantic scale model of the Mississippi basin to assist in flood prediction and management long before computers were able to complete the task. Even today, physical models are able to produce results that computers are unable reliably recreate. Perhaps with the refinement of 3D printing technologies we will once again see the models that assisted our resource planning in the past reemerge as a common element of our watershed planning future.

Cooling Fan Wiring Update – Essential Monoprice Mini Mods

After printing out a couple of benchmarks with the upgraded carriage and cooling fan modification I’d noticed that overhangs facing away from the printer were not what I was hoping they would be. I suspected a first candidate for fixing the problem would be to pull the small circuit board out of the fan shroud. I had initially hoped that the board would be tucked away and small enough to not impact print quality; I was wrong. The problem became where to put the board. I was not interested in a complete rewire of the project so I needed a better solution.

Half of an hour in CAD and this is what I came up with. I’d always planned on putting a small fan shroud on each of the cooling fans, why not integrate a small space for the circuit board to tuck it all away? Perhaps I’ll add space for a small button to control the fan without unplugging it. You can download it here free of charge!

Carriage Upgrade and Cooling Fan Wiring- Essential Monoprice Mini Mods

Over the past several months I’ve been working with the Monoprice Select Mini V2 it is a solid printer right out of the box especially for the price. Despite all of the amazing things about this printer, it does come with a couple of small flaws, many of which can be fixed for pennies with a simple print and some cheap hardware. Today I’m looking at the E3Dv6 carriage upgrade by US Water Rockets. As a bonus I’ve included a short guide on how to effectively wire the LED and part cooling fan that is meant to be attached to this modification.

I’d had my eye on this upgrade soon after picking up this printer. I’d noticed that the stock carriage for the E3Dv6 style extruder that comes with the printer causes the gantry to tilt ever so slightly forwards as the center of gravity is quite far away from the linear rails. Additionally, printing calibration cubes demonstrated that the printer had a fair amount of play in the x axis. Initially in order to fix this I had printed some belt tensioners also designed by US Water Rockets. However, this carriage design improves the belt tensioning system dramatically by integrating it directly into the carriage.

This upgrade was also an opportunity to upgrade the stock plastic GT2 pulleys with full metal ones (Shout out to The part cooling fan is the only part of this print where I could see there being room for improvement, the rest of this upgrade is rock solid and really made a measurable improvement in the printer’s accuracy.