August 10, 2017 AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: News Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bobbleheads & Burrs [Maker Update #46]

This week on Maker Update, designing your own bobblehead, a new trick for your Raspberry Pi, what’s so great about deburring tools, McMaster Carr meets Tinkercad, and a roundup of 3D printed Pi cases. This week’s Cool Tool is the General Tools 481 Swivel Head Deburring Tool.

Show Notes

Advanced Project

3D Printed Bobblehead by Paige Russell

Project and photo by Paige Russell.

Facebook video walkthrough

Paige’s Invention Class


GPIO 1.4 for Raspberry Pi

GPIO 1.4 courtesy of Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Cool Tools Minute

General Tools 481 Swivel Head Deburring Tool with Handle Storage

Buy it on Amazon:

General Tools 481 Swivel Head Deburring Tool with Handle Storage
Photo by Donald Bell.

Original review on Cool Tools

A similar review by Charles Platt


Cool Tools: Beadle Wrap

Awesome Pi Cases to Print

Import McMaster-Carr Components Into Tinkercad by Paige Russell

Join Email List for bonus links

Maker Faires

Maker Faire Beijing
Rutland Mini Maker Faire


This week on Maker Update, designing your own bobble-head, a new trick for your Raspberry Pi, what’s so great about deburring tools, McMaster Carr meets Tinkercad, and a roundup of 3D printed Pi cases.

It’s Thursday, August 10th, I’m Donald Bell and welcome to another Maker Update. I just got back from camping, so I’m a little late on this one and I’m going to keep it short, but I hope you’re all doing well and knocking down your summer project list. Let’s dig into this week’s episode, starting with the project of the week.

This week, I was blown away by this guide by Paige Russell on making your own 3D printed bobble head. The project is really a deep dive on importing and adapting shapes using Autodesk’s free Tinkercad software.

It is one of the longest, most thorough Instructables I’ve seen. And I feel like if you really went through this thing step-by-step, you’d have a solid grasp of basic 3D modeling techniques.

In addition to this Instructable Paige did an archived live video walkthrough of this project on the Instructables Facebook page. There’s no link to this video in the Instructable, but I have it in the show notes here.

A big part of the guide has to do with creating a hollow shell from a complex solid shape — in this case a Moai Easter Island statue. While doing that, you get a great tour of Tinkercad and its capabilities, and the final payoff is a 3D printable bobblehead that mounts on a 3D printed spring.

This project was also my introduction to Paige Russel, who has a number of classes on Instructables, including an invention class, and a class on mold making and casting.

And now for some news. This week, the Raspberry Pi Foundation, makers of the Raspberry Pi computer board, announced an update to a utility in their default Raspbian OS called GPIO Zero. Upgrading the OS should update the Utility to version 1.4.

Once updated, you can access it by typing “pinout” into the command line. The result is a full account of the various hardware inputs and outputs of your particular Raspberry Pi board, along with an adorable ASCII rendering of the board itself.

It’s a neat trick, but the real focus is to encourage and enable users to explore more advanced hardware interactions. New code examples are included for blinking LEDs, responding to button input, controlling motors, and generally behaving more like an Arduino.

I have a link in the show notes to the official post by Raspberry Pi, full of links to programming guides and documentation. If you’ve ever wanted to demystify how the Pi’s GPIO pins work, this looks like a great place to start.

For this week’s Cool Tools video review I’m going to show you a deburring tool great for cleaning up the edges of metal and plastic. I picked this up for around $11 on Amazon, and by using the link in the description to get this same one, you’re helping to support my videos and the Cool Tools blog.

There are a few different types of deburring tools — this one is a swivel-head model made by General Tools. It’s essentially a plastic handle that holds a curved metal blade perfect for smoothing out any sharp edges left behind from cutting metal or plastic.

It’s a quick tool to use. It’s sharp and doesn’t take a lot of force. It’s commonly used by plumbers to smooth off the rough edges of freshly cut pipe.

For me, though, I mostly use this for cleaning up holes drilled into metal or plastic project enclosures. Drilling almost always kicks up some rough bits that prevent switches or buttons from sitting flush. A quick pass with the deburring tool cleans it right up.

It’s also great for smoothing out rough lines from longer cuts in plastic or sheet metal. For example, on my Hello Kitty go kart for Maker Faire, I had to carve away a lot of pink plastic with hack saws and rotary tools. To make everything look a little more deliberate, I ran the deburring tool over it to remove all the shredded and melted bits.

So that’s the General Tools 481 Swivel Head Deburring tool. It comes with two replaceable blades. You can get it for around $11 on Amazon. And remember, you can see thousands of reader recommended tools like this at

I also want to mention that over on the Cool Tools YouTube channel you can find more of my tool recommendations, including a recent look at Beadle wrap for managing cords and cables.

Another tip I want to share with you is a collection on the Raspberry Pi blog of Awesome Pi cases you can 3D print. There were a lot on here I hadn’t seen before.

On Instructables, Paige Russell has a separate tip on how to import exact parts from McMaster Carr into Tinkercad, using Fusion 360 as a go-between. If you love the browser-based simplicity of Tinkercad but need a particular bolt or spring as part of your design, it’s a good technique to know.

And finally, I want to let you know that you can now sign up for the Maker Update email list. It’s right on my site, I also have a link in the show notes. The emails go out with the show each week and include a handful of tips and projects I didn’t have room for in the show. If you’re interested, sign up.

Maker Faires! We have two this week including Beijing, and Rutland Vermont. If you’re near either one, you need to get out and see what’s up.

And that’s it for this week’s show. Be sure to subscribe if you’re not already, or leave me a thumbs up or a comment. You can find links to everything in the show notes, including that deburring tool. I also wanted to thank Corey Shelman for making the new animated show intro and the Cool Tools animation. You’re the best! Thanks everyone for watching, and I’ll see you next week.

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