Vulgar Napkin Holders

Vulgar Napkin Holders

A colleague/friend of mine got her first solo apartment was lamenting that she was needed a bunch of household necessities, including a napkin holder. Since she hadn’t been in a while, I suggested suggested she could make her own at Nova Labs. Annoyed, she told me to make her one; I thought the best gift was one she’d regret asking for…

The first thoughts included some messy clipart faces (think Garbage Pail Kids stickers), but I quickly settled on some nice type and alliteration.

The design for the napkin holder itself was whipped up in Illustrator using a simple tabbed box type design.

Production happened using the laser cutter at Nova Labs.

A less vulgar version was created for a neighbor who commented on Facebook that they wanted one, but would have to wait 10 years before their kids could be exposed to the original!

Better base for Stomp Rocket

Stomp Rocket with a beefy launch towerStomp Rockets for Christmas!

And the Stomp Rockets have lights to boot! Pretty awesome if it weren’t so cold outside…

One problem with the set is that the base is pretty flimsy. It would move all over the place as they used it, and it was hard to keep the rocket pointed more-or-less straight up.

Having no there really pressing projects to work on, I whipped up an Apollo era looking launch tower for the Stomp Rocket launcher/tube assembly.


You bet. When I showed the pictures at work someone commented “do your kids realize that most dads don’t do this sort of thing for toys?” Of course they don’t, but it’s fun for me so I do it anyway.

Everything was laser cut. Material was some 1/4″ MDF, but it cut really easily. The base was another piece of 1/4″MDF, but it was wayyyy different and required multiple passes, and had a ton of charring on the edge. I cleaned that edge up on a belt sander.

The basic shape came from the BoxMaker site, and the pattern was created in Illustrator.

Camera Slider Controller – Sneak Peek

Camera Slider - In ProgressFor several months, I’ve been working on creating a controller board for driving a stepper motor along a single-axis. AKA, a motorized camera slider!

While the overall project is over 2 years in the works at this point (it started being driven by a Lego Mindstorms NXT), this is a quick preview of its current configuration.

Stay tuned for much more on this project!

Box for crayons – custom engraved

A wooden box holding crayons

At this point I’ve created a few laser-cut tabbed boxes (trading card box, boxes for custom puzzles, and another as an electronics enclosure). None of these had an attached lid, but since this particular project was a gift for the 2-year-old daughter of a colleague, I thought that was the way to go.

I took measurements for a package of crayons that was part of her birthday present, and added in the thickness of the .11″ (really, it couldn’t be a full 1/8″?) lite plywood I had. The box maker web application by Rahul at ConnectionLab has been my go-to for these, but, I found that the pieces generated for this particular box had weird corners. I tried using another box maker found at MakerCase and it worked pretty well.

The pieces were symmetrical so it made it a little easier to work with, at the expense of the center tabs having irregular measurements compared to the others.

A wooden box with hinged lid

I took steps to smooth out the top edges of the pieces, and eliminated the tabs from the lid. Pins for the hinge were added, and I created a hole for the pin to go into. The biggest problem was that I initially made the center line of the hole above the part, so the lid didn’t sit flush with the box. I modified the file slightly dropping the hole down, and recut the 2 parts. At least those 2 pieces were pretty small so it wasn’t a huge deal.

Since most little kid birthday parties we’ve been to lately don’t include opening presents, and I haven’t been back at work yet, I don’t know how it was received. Hopefully she loved her name being engraved on the lid!

Ella engraved on the top of a wooden box
Ella and a small bird engraved on the lid of a custom laser-cut tabbed box.
Front view of a wooden box holding crayons
A custom laser-cut tabbed box for crayons.
Ella engraved on the top of a wooden box
Ella and a small bird engraved on the lid of a custom laser-cut tabbed box.
Wooden trading card box

Wooden trading card box

Trading cards for our marketing team in a custom box.My day job is as Production Designer for a large dot-com (I’ll see if you’re one of the 20% or so of the population that can recognize our brand). This project was to welcome our new president as part of his on-boarding, specifically as he visited Marketing. I don’t know who came up with the ‘trading card’ idea, but I got a survey link to fill out some info about me, and a request to be sure I liked my photo in the team directory. Since we didn’t want to give him a stack of loose cards, I was asked to make a box…

I made this along with the boxes for the dog and squirrel puzzles, and I’m happy with how they turned out (especially considering it was an important project and I hadn’t made a tabbed box before).

Lid detail for wooden tabbed-box cut on a laser cutter.The cards were 2.5” x 3.5”, and using interior dimensions .1” bigger made them very easy to put in and take out, but not jiggle around too much.

The pieces for the bottom of the lid certainly conserved material, but I need to figure out how to manage the kerf so the pieces fit more snugly. It’s a step in the right direction and worked ok this time.

Wooden tabbed-box cut on a laser cutter.

Bottom of a laser cut box for trading cards.