I am currently on winter break from college so I thought I’d take some time to upload some photos of what I have been working on this past semester at school. For those who are not aware, I am currently a Junior majoring in Mechanical Engineering. I take quite a few classes at college that aren’t part of the Mechanical Engineering curriculum because I find them interesting. For example, I took an advanced 3D modeling class (i.e. the highest SolidWorks class my university offers) and a machine shop class. Below are some pictures of projects/homework from these classes.

You’ll see in the pictures below a lot of SolidWorks screenshots. Here is a brief description of what they are…

Basic Steel Parts:
The picture with 4 basic modeled parts was an assignment from the beginning of the semester. It was mainly an assignment to get everyone back in the groove of using SolidWorks after the summer break.

Reese Hitch:
This was a test of modeling multiple relatively simple items and then assembling them.

Screw in Hooks:
Again, this was just an assignment to get everyone use to using SolidWorks again. These were also reverse engineering. By that I mean we were not given a technical drawing of these parts. Measurements were taken using various tools. We mainly used calipers.

Hinge and Latches:
These were all part of the same reverse engineering assignment. Equipped with my calipers I gathered measurements and then modeled each part of each item. These are all SolidWorks assemblies.

This was another reverse engineering project which included gathering measurements, modeling items, and assembling.

Sterling Engine:
This was also another reverse engineering project. I ended up creating an animation of the sterling engine within SolidWorks.

The clamp was also a reverse engineering project. I posted a picture without the cover plate on the clamp so you can see the inner workings of the clamp.

Bike Phone Mount:
The yellow thing below was my idea for a simple phone mount for a bike. This assignment was a very specialized design project. The parameters were it had to fit somewhere on my professor’s bike so that it could be viewed while biking, it had to fit his Samsung Galaxy S5 with his specific case on it, and the goal was for the majority of it to be 3D printed.

My idea was pretty simple. My plan was for the phone mount to bolt to the piece of metal that goes from the horizontal handle bars to the vertical steering stem. I also designed it so that the phone mount could be tilted by means of a pivot point and a thumbscrew so that you could adjust the viewing angle.

Bocce Ball Box:
This was another assignment for the SolidWorks class. The assignment was to design a box to house a Bocce Ball set (a lawn game that consists of 8 ~5″ balls and one ~2″ ball). The box had to be practical, cost efficient, but most of all, easy to build. Not only did the assignment entail designing and modeling the box, I had to produce technical drawings for each part, a Bill of Materials with Lowes part numbers and prices, and written (and illustrated) instructions on exactly how to build the box. This project was cool because it involved a lot of ‘real world’ stuff like producing a B.O.M. and writing instructions.

Noise Maker:
As part of the SolidWorks class, we visited a local kindergarten class where each engineering student was paired up with a kindergarten to design them a toy to be 3D printed. After talking with Owen, the kindergarten student I was paired with, he decided he would enjoy it if I could make him a noise maker toy.

I modeled the toy after the noise makers I have seen percussionists use in orchestra. The toy ended up being a hollow handle (with Owen’s name cut in the side) with a long piece of plastic on the inside that got flicked by a gear that was attached to a crank handle. I designed this toy with a child in mind. And by that I mean I tried to make it as robust as possible knowing that it will be cranked fast. I made the shaft of the gear crank very large (.75″ in diameter) to make sure it would not snap under use. I wasn’t for sure exactly how this toy would turn out. I did not know if the 3D printed ABS would be flexible enough to be flicked without breaking. I was happy to see that the toy worked well when it was fully assembled and that it did in fact make noise.


In the machine shop class I took I learned machining theory and practices.

The final project was a group project and the task was to follow technical drawings to machine parts to build a pneumatic engine. Me and a fellow engineering student used a lathe, a mill, drill press, etc. to machine the engine. We were very pleased when we hooked up the air supply to the engine and saw all of our hard work paying off with a nicely running engine.

So at the beginning of this past school semester my roommate and I weren’t sure how we wanted to arrange our dorm room. Instead of taking hours of moving furniture and belongings, I decided to model our dorm room and furniture in 3D modeling software.

I am studying Mechanical Engineering at my university and have access to SolidWorks software there. I was able to use this software to model our room and then re-arrange our room many times in virtual space all from the luxury of our couch. We looked at multiple options for our room and finally found an arrangement we liked.

For fun, I decided to use PhotoView 360 to render out a walk-through of the dorm room so we could have a better idea of what it would look like. The video is a little ‘jumpy’ because it is a little difficult to do a SolidWorks walk through using arrow keys and such.

I rendered every frame with PhotoView 360, but compiled the frames into a single video file using Adobe Premiere.


I’m gonna try and be a tad better about posting the stuff I do on here. Things may be a tad different than they used to tho. I do a lot of work while at college, but a lot of it is more 3D modeling and such. There may be more short, quickly written posts but hopefully a lot more. Also they may just be screenshots or renderings of 3D models I am working on. I’d like to keep this website more active, but some of the ‘production value’ may decrease due to time. (yes, I realize my production value is not amazing, but hey, I try….sometimes)

I haven’t been able to post things in a while because I have been getting ready for college, moving into college, and starting classes. Now that I am at college, my postings (like recently) will probably be far apart. Although I won’t be able to post a new project every week, I hope to post on the Backroom Workdesk Facebook page things I am doing . I am majoring in Engineering Graphics and Design so I’ll probably post things that I have done in class or similar.


With that being said, here’s what my roommate and I built the other night….


In the dorm I live in I share a bathroom with one other guy: my roommate. We were discussing that we needed some type of shelves in the bathroom to keep towels on. Our original plan was to go to WalMart one night and buy a cheap shelving unit, but as we were sitting there discussing, my roommate said that we should build our own shelves out of a cardboard box that was left over from moving in. I thought it was a great idea so we went to work.

We took the cardboard box and cut off the lid flaps. We then started getting an idea of how we wanted the end product to be. We decided to have one main shelf about 1/3 of the way up and have a little divider that separates the 1/3 lower shelf into two sections. The vertical divider would also double as a support for the main shelf. Once we got a game plan, we began construction.

We started this build at around 1am so everything was done with a TLAR (That Looks About Right) building style. We measured (roughly) somethings, but the rest was just eyeballed. For the main shelf we hot-glued two of the lid flaps together side-by-side and then added another flap to the bottom of the main shelf for extra thickness/strength. The vertical divider was made out of the fourth lid flap. We then started gluing things in place. The vertical divider was glued in first followed by the main shelf. I believe when it was all said and done three extra long glues sticks were consumed in this build. I got a little carried away with the hotglue haha.

Our original plan was to have the unit to sit on the floor in the bathroom, but then we thought it would be way better to hang it on the wall. My roommate had some of those hooks that mount on the wall so we used those to hang the shelf. The hooks are similar to the Command strip hooks, but the ones he had had foam mounting tape on them so they stuck really well to the wall. We would mount it with a more robust mounting method, but we are not allowed to screw into the walls in our dorm. We mounted the shelf to the wall so that one of the corners rested upon the towel rack. This way not all of the weight is on the two hooks. We also zip tied the cardboard shelf to the towel rack.

The shelf has been in use now for over a week and has been doing fine. We only have a few towels, wash cloths, and some cleaning supplies so it is not too much weight. So far we don’t see any problem of it falling, but if it does we can always mount it better.

We are pretty happy with it and it has helped out a lot!

I changed my guitar strings a couple weeks ago and instead of throwing the old strings away I saved them for future projects. Acoustic guitar strings are steel wires that can be used in various projects, the only problem is I can never find an old guitar string when I need one. So with this old set of guitar strings I made a little set that I can use in the future.

All I did to make this set of wire is cut ~6″ off the end of the guitar string that has the brass ring on it. I then took each wire and put them on a keyring in order of thickness. Actually, I didn’t have a keyring at the time so I just bent my own out of music wire. I would recommend using a thin keyring if you have one though.

I have had this set laying on my desk for the past week or two and it has come in handy multiple times. I used it once for cleaning out a small hole on an RC engine, the guitar strings work great for cleaning out the fuel jets on a carburetor, and a few other really random things. The thing about this set is it works great for the most random of things! Since it has 6 different thicknesses of wire, if you need a wire to poke through a small hole it is likely that one of the 6 wires will work.

I don’t know if ya’ll will find this helpful, but I like using it and it seems handy to me. Anyways, here are some photos….

I’m back!! I realize I’ve taken an unplanned 2 month hiatus from posting anything worthwhile, but unless something major comes up I should be back on a regular weekly basis of posting. Between graduating highschool, work, and doing stuff around the house I haven’t had much time for my own projects, let alone posting about them. Anyway…….

I picked up a glass bottle at a yardsale the other day for 50 cents for one purpose: making a glass bottle neck slide for my guitar. A bottle neck slide is a glass tube that slips over your finger and you use it to make the note on the guitar instead of pressing the string like you normally would. Using a slide makes it so you can, well, slide real easy up and down the neck. It also gives a cool, distinct sound to the guitar.

The part of the bottle I used to make the slide was the neck of the bottle (I’m sure you already knew that though based on the name of this post). To make the slide I had to cut the glass at the start of the neck where the bottle tapers and right after the lip of the bottle. To do this I used a glass cutter to first score where I wanted to break the glass at, and then I used heat and ice water to shock the glass along the score lines to crack, and essentially cut, the bottle.

When scoring the bottle, I needed to have the score line go perfectly around the bottle in the same plane so I made a real simple and quick rig to hold the bottle in place for scoring. All the rig consists of is two boards screwed together to make a 90* angle with a wooden dowel attached an inch or so up one of the boards so that the bottle can slip over it. With the dowel stuck into the mouth of the bottle, I could spin the bottle around the dowel while pressing the bottle against a glass scoring tool. This simple rig worked just fine for my needs.

Since this is the very first time for me to cut glass I did a test cut on the bottle right where the bottle began to taper for the bottle neck. After I did this test cut, I began scoring and shocking the glass to make the bottle neck slide. I first scored right at the base of the bottle neck right before it started flaring out bigger. I then poured boiling water over the score line, and then I poured ice water over the score line. This sudden change in temperature shocks the glass and cracks it along the score line. I had to repeat the hot water, then cold water process two or three times to completely ‘cut’ the glass. The break along the score line was surprisingly smooth, but it still needed to be sanded though.

I just used standard 220 grit sandpaper to smooth the glass where it had been cut. I was very surprised that the sandpaper smoothed the glass, but it actually worked quite well.  Using the sandpaper I got the edge nice and rounded to where it can’t cut me if I tried.

After one end was cut, it was time to cut the bottle’s lip off the slide. I didn’t have to use my rig this time to hold the glass, I just used the lip as a guide to hold the glass scorer. After it was scored I began the shocking process… I did the hot and cold water like a dozen times and never fully cracked the glass. I had to ramp up the temperature difference to get it to crack. I ended up using a small butane torch/lighter to heat up the glass along the score line and then dunking it into ice water to get the lip off. After the lip was off, I realized why it was so hard to crack. It was because the glass was much thicker there than the previous area. Anyway, since I had to go to the extreme way of cracking it, it didn’t come out as smooth. I had to use some 100 grit emery cloth followed by some 220 grit sandpaper to get it nice and smooth. Also, since I went to the extreme it ended up cracking 3/4″ the slide  longways :( .  It’s not a problem as I can’t feel it or anything, but it does bother me.


When I was done sanding it all, I tried it out. It worked well except for one thing. As you can see in one of the photos, the sides aren’t perfectly straight. The sides kinda curve in a little which means I have to press down a little on it to stop buzzing. But hey, you can’t beat it for 50 cents!

I know I’m running late this week on a post, but I have an excuse! It’s been one of those weeks where I’ve got a lot done, but nothing is finished…. I’ve been working on my boat and it is 95% finished. All that really needs to be done are all of the finishing touches. You know, the little things that make it look good.

I’ve also bought some canvas material and have been designing a carrying case for the boat. Since I have the canvas I have been toying with the idea of making a Bimini top for the boat.

I’ve pretty much completed the gun I’m building (I don’t know if I’ve ever posted photos of that here but I have on my Facebook page a couple of times)

I have also done just a little work on the beginning of a steam engine. I’ve cast the piston, but I didn’t add enough oil so it won’t come out of the mold so I will I have to recast it. The material I’m casting with is epoxy. It’s worked well for me in the past when I built a sterling engine.

And lastly, whenever I have had free time I have been writing a detailed step-by-step instructable on how to build the boat. That way you can build one for yourself!

So here are a couple of photos from various projects…(one of the photos is a scale model of the boat)





I bought this Abu Garcia fishing reel at a yardsale for like three bucks. When I got it, it was kinda dirty and it had some issues with it. It would go into cast mode okay, but when I spun the reel it wouldn’t kick back into reel mode. The reel handles just spun freely. After spinning the reel handles for a while it would finally ‘catch’ on something and kick back in to reel mode. It was also hard to push the cast button at times. So I knew it would need some work and that’s why I bought it. I wanted to fix it and learn how it worked inside….and because it looked cool :P


So I’m not going to go into great details of disassembly and reassembly, but I have included a few pictures of the process. What I found was the problem with the going from cast mode to reel mode was there was a spacer that had been worn down so it wasn’t thick enough. Since the spacer was too thin, it made it to where the reel spindle couldn’t catch on the cast-release-mechanism. To fix this, I substituted the old spacer with a flat washer and it just happen to be the right thickness. The other issues were resolved by cleaning and re-lubing with White Lithium Grease.


I was going to clean the outside more, but when as I cleaned it the green paint started coming off. I wanted to keep the green paint, so I just lightly cleaned the outside so it would still look old-ish. I feel like, and I may be wrong, that the reel used to be red. The inside of the reel housing is this really nice red color, and as I cleaned a little I could see some red here and there. I also see quite a bit of red on the drag setting wheel.


I really don’t know much about this reel at all, except for that it says Abu Garcia Sweden on one side. So if anyone has any info on the reel  (model name or number, year they were made, anything really) I would love to know.



If you watched my YouTube video on my Hawker Hurricane RC plane, then you might have noticed that there were only a few clips of me actually flying after the airplane was fixed. The reason for this is because when my brother was recording me flying, it was hard for him to see the screen on my iPhone due to the the sun. If you have an iPhone, you probably understand that it is very difficult to see the iPhone screen outside on a bright sunny day. Recording a flying airplane with this problem is quite difficult. To fix this, I made a little box that you can use to block out the sun while recording video with an iPhone.


My plan for this light eliminating rig was to have a rectangular-ish box with two open ends. One end will have an iPhone attached, and the other end you will hold up to your eyes to look through. When looking through the rig all you should be able to see is the iPhone screen. Since there will be no light in this box, it will be very easy to see the iPhone screen.


This rig is constructed out of 4mm corrugated plastic (Coroplast). Before cutting the coroplast, I had to know what to cut. Instead of wasting a lot of Coroplast while trying to find exactly what I want, I made some cardboard templates that I tweaked until they were right. I know that I wanted the rig to fit nicely around my eyes, so I knew one end of the rig would have to be rounded. I started by cutting cereal box cardboard into the shape that the top and the bottom of the box will be. One edge of this shape had a concave curve in it that looked like it would fit my forehead/nose-area well. I then held it up to my face, realized where the trouble spots were, and tweaked the template’s curve a little. I repeated this process until I got a curve that fit my face nicely. After I finished the template for the top/bottom of the rig, I made a template for the side of the rig. The side template had nothing special about it. I just used the width dimensions of my iPhone and the dimension from just below my nose to the middle of my forehead. I used these two measurements to create a trapezoidal shape for the side pieces. The length of the rig was determined by how close I could have my iPhone to my face and still focus on it well.


After I had two cardboard templates prepared (one for the top/bottom and one for the sides), I began tracing them onto the Coroplast. After the last template was drawn, I drew an extra ‘piece’ that will act as a tab that will help join the box together. After I had the plan traced onto the Coroplast I cut along the perimeter. After the piece was cut out, I began folding the coroplast along the lines where the templates started/ended. When the piece of corplast had all the appropriate bends in it, I used hotglue to affix the  tab to the outside of the ‘box’.


At this point, I put the box against my face to try how it felt….and it felt horrible. The curve fit my face really well, but the edge of the Coroplast hurt! So I added some foam. For the foam, I just cut a piece of PVC pipe insulation (it’s the stuff that you buy in a hardware store that looks like a small, gray pool noodle) and then I ripped it down length ways. When I had the little strip of foam, I used the tip of a hot hotglue gun to melt a groove into the foam for the coroplast to go into. I then hotglued the foam to the curve. I found that I had to put the glue onto the coroplast and then stick the foam on and not put the hotglue onto the foam because the hotglue melted right through the foam!


After the foam was on, I tried it again and it felt amazing this time! When I did this though, I realized a problem: My nose was inside of the box. Now this may not be a problem for some people, but when I tried the box with my iPhone on one end and my face on the other, I found that when I breathed my breath would fog up my glasses. This would make it harder to see than if I never even made this rig, so I cut out a nose hole and padded it with foam.


The next thing that I added was a coroplast ‘plate’ to the front of the rig that my iPhone would be up against. The plate had to have a rectangle, the size of the iPhone screen, cut out as well as little grooves so the Home button could be accessed if need be. I then hotglued this plate to the inside of the rig, on the front. Then I added wooden dowel posts to the side of the box near the front. These were for me to attach a rubberband that will hold my iPhone steadily in place.


Originally, the rig would’ve been completed at this point, except I thought that it would be really nice if I (or my brother) didn’t have to hold this thing up while recording. So naturally I added a headstrap! haha


The strap itself is a piece of denim (from an old pair of jeans) cut 1.5″ wide. I then used rivets, and homemade washers, to attach the straps to the box. To tighten the strap, I made a little strap-tightener-thing out of a thick piece of coat hanger wire and a little bit of thread+superglue. I then ran the strap through the tightener-thing and tried ‘er out. It worked. It held the rig to my head while I videoed. I went outside to try it and it worked, but I noticed another problem. The sun could shine right through the white coroplast, so I fixed that.


To fix the sun shining through, I blacked out the inside of the rig. To do this I covered the inside of the rig with black vinyl. This was probably the hardest part of the building process because it was difficult to get the vinyl inside the small box without sticking to itself or the box. If I were to build this box again, I would add the vinyl before the bending step. It would have made it much easier for me and would have resulted in a nicer project. But, after the vinyl was attached, the rig worked great!


So there it is. I found a problem and made a fix for it.


I haven’t been able to fly my RC planes in a few months due to mainly time restraints, but the other day I decided to build me a warbird and fly it. After looking around on RCGroups and talking to a few people, I decided on building a Hawker Hurricane. The original plans for the airplane had a ~30″ wingspan. My motor is pretty big and I knew it was wayyy to heavy for a little 30″ WS plane, so I scaled the plans up to get a 48″ WS plane. I didn’t really take any build pictures because I guess I forgot, but I’ll tell briefly about the construction of the plane.


The plane is build from 1/4″ FFF (Fan Fold Foam). The fuselage is 6 layers of foam laminated together to get a thick and strong fuselage. The original plan only calls for 4 layers, but because I was making it bigger, I added an extra layer on each side of the fuse. The fuse is pretty cool because with the laminations there are little ‘tunnels’ in the fuselage for routing wires and stuff. This makes the plane pretty streamlined and all the electronics are pretty much out of sight. The wing is a Kfm2 wing. I decided to add a degree or two of dihedral to the wing for better stability. I did this by bending a brass tube and attaching two pieces of carbon fibre tube to it for the wing spars. This later failed on me (watch video) so I wouldn’t recommend using a brass tube. Maybe a thick piece of music wire instead.  I did all the camouflage with sharpie. I added the red color for better visibility in the air.  For the power system I am using an Exceed RC 1050Kv Brushless outrunner, a 1300mah 3s Lipo, a 30A ESC, and a 1147 prop.


After fixing the wing problem (watch video) I really enjoyed flying this airplane. It handles the wind very nicely and with the power setup I can go vertical so I have plenty of power to pull up out of tough situations.  When I flew in the video the wind was blowing around 18-20mph (according to the Weather Channel).


Here is the link to the original plans for the airplane:


Here is the link to the thread where I found the plans. There are like 30 other airplanes similar to this one:



One year ago today, April 17th, I posted my first project here on BackroomWorkdesk.com ! I can’t believe that it has already been a full year!!!

I thought I’d give just a few statistics about the past year…..

- In one year there has been 52 different blog posts

- The site has had just under 10,000 views

- There has been 7 YouTube videos uploaded

- The three most popular posts (in order) are: Alcohol Torch, Homemade RC Boat: Part 3, and Tip: Thread and Superglue


I want to say thanks to everyone that checks out the website and reads my posts……..So, Thank You!


I have a lot of really cool projects coming up soon. Most of them are already in the works and some are still on the drawing board. Just to give you an idea of what I have planned, here are some ‘hints’….

- As you know I will be building a boat this summer so that is going to happen

- I have been building my own ‘gun’ and it shouldn’t be too, too long before it is completed

- I plan on trying to build an engine of sorts

- I will show ya’ll a ‘thing’ I made that can launch ‘suff’ real far

And a lot of other things as well, so stay tuned! One of the best ways to see things that are ‘in the works’ are by liking my Facebook Page. I normally will post a picture of something I plan to do, or am in the middle of. So check that out.



Also, I know I didn’t post a project yesterday…..The YouTube video for it is currently uploading and hopefully I will be able to post that project before the day ends…….



Thanks again!