Vacation Hacks


So a few months ago my wife’s family decided that we should all go on a beach vacation together. After searching for a destination, a beach house on Topsail Island in North Carolina was selected. We packed up and headed down and of course, a 3D printer was on the way with us. Within the first two days, I was happy to have it with me.


I brought my new PrinterBot Simple with us. Its small form factor and simplicity (no pun intended) made it the perfect printer to bring along. I have had this printer for a while now and I really do love it. I have been telling people this: If you are interested in 3D printing but not sure if it’s totally for you, buy a Simple. Its insanely low cost means you won’t have a lot of skin in the game if you decide it’s not your thing. If you are really into 3D printing and already have a printer or two, buy a Simple. Adding another printer to your stable is always useful, and again, at this price point it’s totally worth it.


Shortly after getting here, the button on a pair of my shorts broke. Not wanting to go without my shorts due to a bad piece of plastic, I popped open OpenSCAD and quickly had a new button.  My wonderful wife of course had a small sewing kit with her and now my pants have a new – and if you ask me – far more stylish button on them.

SewnOnWith one problem solved, we set out to enjoy a nice midnight stroll on the beach. After a short stroll we realized that in the dark we couldn’t tell which of the look-alike beach houses was ours in the dark. I knew I could easily eliminate this problem and the next day we headed to a local RadioShack. Now that RadioShack has re-embraced some of their old school DIY roots, it was easy to find the parts that I needed. A color changing LED and MakerShed Mintronics: Survival Pack got me all the parts I needed (and then some). I quickly assembled a simple circuit to control the LED.

CircuitThen went about printing a case to pack it all up in.

CaseButtonI was then ready to pack it all up and try it out.

PackedUp WorkingOnTheBeachNow when we walk down the beach a glowing beacon like a light house on the horizon guides us back to our home.

We are only halfway through our trip so stay tuned and if more vacation hacks come about, I will be sure to share them.