Tips of the Week: Working the Corners, Epoxy Basics, Spatter-Spraying for Better 3D Scanning, Making Paper Decals

Tips of the Week: Working the Corners, Epoxy Basics, Spatter-Spraying for Better 3D Scanning, Making Paper Decals

Tips of the Week is our weekly peek at some of the best making tips, tricks, and recommendations we’ve discovered in our travels. Check in every Friday to see what we’ve discovered. And we want to hear from you. Please share your tips, shortcuts, best practices, and tall shop tales in the comments below and we might use your tip in a future column.


Work Toward the Key Corners

In case you didn’t see my post yesterday of the latest Clickspring video, if you ever do any metal hand filing, you really must watch this latest tips video. Among the 8 tips that Chris shared, the most revelatory one was about working toward the corners of your filing profile. He recommends identifying the key corners, the areas that the filing profile that must be perfect and then work towards those as your targets. He also recommends removing material well shy of the target profile and then working slowly to the line, using finer files as you make your approach to the line.

Spatter-Spray Objects for Better Scanning

In this Switch & Lever video, Daniel takes us through his trial and error process of trying to 3D scan smooth, highly-reflective objects. He tried everything, including priming the models a less reflective color, adding sticky reference dots, adding lots of marker dots, even connecting all of the lines between marker dots. In the end, he found that covering the objects with spattering black and white spray paint gave him a more information-rich surface that the scanning software could work with.

Cheap Decals from Paper

Here is a quick and dirty way of creating decal transfers for your projects. Gaslands, the post-apocalyptic car combat game that uses battle-modded Matchbox/Hotwheels cars, is all the rage in the tabletop gaming world these days. This would be a great way to add decals and visual textures to your car conversions. All you need is inkjet-printed images, gloss clear coat varnish, and a hair dryer/heat gun. You varnish the image, apply it to your surface, heat it to transfer the image, and then soak/rub away the paper. As the video points out, this is a funky method, not meant to replace water-slide transfers. But for things like post-apocalyptic car decals, signage, billboards, and the like, this looks like just the ticket.

Learning Epoxy Basics

In the latest Chop with Chris video, woodcarver Chris wants to add some epoxy resin to a wooden Targaryen Dragon crest that he carved. Nervous about doing the pour himself, he went to the folks at Urban Timber who do a lot of epoxy work on their slab furniture creations. He ended up getting a very detailed tutorial in epoxy basics. One great tip, when you’re doing an epoxy pour with a lot of volume, use a slow-curing liquid plastic epoxy which can be applied in a single, large pour to fill most of your target volume. After that is thoroughly dry, you can come back in and finish it off with a top coat of UV epoxy resin, which is harder, more durable, and will give you a much better finish.

Easy on the “Roller Coaster” Vocal Delivery

In our continuing theme of tips related to audio/video production for makers, to “Don’t Overdrive Your Voice,” Getting in and Getting Out, Steering Into Your Weirdness, we can add this tip. If you listen to a “typical” radio or TV newscasters voice, you are familiar with what I call roller coaster delivery. It’s when the narrator’s voices rises, rather quickly and enthusiastically to the peak point of a sentence and then more slowly slides down the backside of the sentence. There is often even a little pause at the peak and the final words are delivered as if each one had a period after it. Here is a goofy example of this vocal rhythm I just recorded to demonstrate the concept.

There is a reason this is an extremely common form of narration. The rhythm is pleasing and has a kind of built-in sense of drama and excitement to it. But it is all too frequently overdone, especially by amateurs. Combine too much of this with overdriving your voice and it sticks out like a sore thumb. Like a poorly delivered accent in a movie, you don’t want people focused on your vocal deliver, but rather, on what you are saying.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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