This is a really simple install. With your rear hatch door fully open, locate your third brake light. Notice there is a gap between the light housing and the glass window. Slide the brake cover in between the glass and your light housing. You want to make sure the text reads properly if light were to shine through it. It will not fit backwards (unless you force it, it won’t fit well).
If your brake light cover does not use text, you can easily line the bottom tabs (see picture) with the tab locations in my design.
The top portion of the cover (when looking at the illustration above) is designed to slip into your weather strip. It might be easier just to watch my video below! The red arrows signify where the cover is securely held when fully installed.
Much like the original accessory, this installs on the underside of the spare tire cover. You simply remove it and flip it over to show the anchor points. Assuming you did not have the original kit, you will find 4 mounting points near the inside corners of the cover.
Notice in the illustration above that the supplied nut needs to slide under the bracket. I have provided a tool to make that part easier. Just place the nut on the tool and align it with the factory hole. Orientation of the adapters wont completely matter with the reproduction of the OEM clips. However, I did design them to align flush with the design of the cover. If you are installing the aftermarket adapters orientation will matter. You should be supplied with 2 versions of the clips, one is just a mirror of the other. Because the legs are slightly offset the mounting point is not perfectly center where the adapter secures to the cover. When you align the aftermarket adapters you want the protruding portion to be closest to the center of the cover. I have included a video that should make it much easier to understand.
I have been told that many of us have warped covers as we haul things and our Elements age. If this is true, the legs may be difficult to attach. We have found that connecting them on the flat surface while stepping on the center (to correct the warp) will allow the legs to connect.
I should also mention currently Walmart has the preferred legs on sale for 28 dollars. This price is obviously subject to change. Sometimes amazon.com carries the legs too, currently they only sell them through 3rd party vendors (and that is always a pain, I don’t recommend using amazon at this time.).
I made my best efforts to replicate the original accessory that takes the spare tire cover and turns it into a camping or tailgating table. The accessory Honda offered has been discontinued. This makes it very difficult to locate a set of legs. Sometimes you will spot them for sale second hand. Usually the person offering this item knows how rare it is, and the price reflects this. I really liked the idea of creating a set of legs for myself, because I didn’t buy my first Element until late 2016. I was too late to buy any of these accessories new.
I researched the legs, and read a post somewhere that a set of Coleman legs were really similar. They supported the table, but didn’t connect. I hoped if they were close enough I could develop an adapter to solve this issue and at least have a similar set for my own adventures.
You can see the original set of legs, they have a socket where a plastic adapter inserts to secure to the top. The Coleman legs were designed to connect to a pole, similar to a Lego hand. I was pleased to see that the Coleman legs did the movement. 3D printing something designed to go through stress to function is not ideal. My final design accounts for the slight offset as well as allows the legs to connect no matter the direction the ‘Lego’ hand approaches it. I also had to account for a limited height so the adapter would not impede with the final resting place of the table top (covering the spare).
In the picture above, comparing the original clips to the aftermarket adapters I designed you can see how my design does not allow for movement or flex. That is because it is not needed. its a stationary socket that the legs are designed to grip. Because of this, the aftermarket design is superior.
The Coleman legs have a wider footprint. This makes them more stable. They are also constructed with steel. One of the best parts is that they have a pin in place to stop the sliding mechanism when they are fully extended. With the original legs you just have to guess as you line it up. The Coleman legs open so easily too. The original legs are pretty difficult to spread open. You could easily open the Coleman legs with one hand.
So at the end of the day, both legs accomplish the same thing. However, I feel I am selling a superior product.
Steel vs Aluminum
Adapter is not prone to snap off
Reasonable cost (~60 depending on Coleman’ cost)
Wider stance – Table will be more stable and less capable of buckling under stress.
I developed a replaceable cup holder insert that fits certain later models of the Honda Element as well as the 1st generation Honda Pilot. If you have a Honda Element SC model or a 2009+ model, it will fit in your vehicle. The reason I created this product is because I could not fit my Nalgene style water bottle into my original cup holder. So I would have it laying down in the passenger seat. Sometimes I would not have the lid completely on, and that would result in a wet seat.
So I created this for myself and was very pleased with the results. It worked, and it was simple. I shared this on a Facebook group for Element owners, and it was quite popular. Many people asked it they could also have one, but i was just not setup for that sort of thing. Enough people started to ask, and someone in a similar situation suggested I start an Etsy page. So this is the product that started my Etsy store.
So its a direct snap in replacement that comes in 3 different styles (standard 2 cup, single with phone slot, and deluxe). The two are pretty self explanatory, but with the deluxe I tried to make something for the daily commuter. It has a place to organize change, two pen holders, a phone holder as well as the larger cup opening. If your thermos of choice still has a handle, you’ll be limited to the 2 cup version. Otherwise, you are able to try out the others. Also, they stack nicely and can fit in your glove box when they are not in use. So just owning one is not necessary. I have printed them in a few different colors, Most people request black.
I print this in ABS at 50% infill. I am trying to create a long lasting product knowing that these things will likely never be injection molded. I have to be realistic. I created a replacement part for a car that has not been in production for 8 years now. Additive manufacturing is fantastic for rapid prototyping, and for a small batch of products, its a perfect solution.
I took a shorter break from 3D printing when my original printer continued to have heat bed problems. Having a print fail a few hours in is frustrating and deeply disappointing when you expect results. Not having a 3D printer didn’t stop my mind from thinking about what I wanted to print. However, it did stop me from designing anything, because I knew I wasn’t going to print it. Once I did buy the new printer and get past the upgrades and calibration prints I started to design some of the things on my mind. I also badly needed new batteries for my digital caliper! So my first functional print was actually a super simple plastic part that keeps my triple monitors aligned on their mount. Its just a little clip that has a tiny bit of friction grip. I had an issue when I would slightly bump the monitors they would rotate out of alignment. These clips made it super simple to keep things in perfect alignment. Unfortunately, every monitor in the world is designed differently, so my print is extremely personal to my needs.
The next print I started working on actually has some function for others. I designed a replacement cup holder for my 2011 Honda Element. I shared this on a Honda Element Facebook group and many people where interested in what I had created. Its actually the reason I created an Etsy store. My designs purpose is to fit a larger water bottle, something the original cup holders failed to do. The reason I believe this has some value is because the Honda Element is a popular camping vehicle. The bottles in particular I was trying to fit are the Nalgene style 32 oz (1000 ml) bottles. They are perfect for camping. They have the volume measurements on the side of the bottle, and screw top lids for mixing / shaking. They are also massive, so its no wonder the cup holders were not designed to hold it.
So I showed my design on Facebook and sold a few just through PayPal, but it was suggested I open an Etsy store. It was a great suggestion. Even though they take a little off the top, they provide a way to print shipping labels really easily, and handle so much more. Its also likely that their user base will showcase my products before I advertise them on my own. So the Element cup holder (also happens to fit the first generation Honda Pilot) was a big hit on the posts I made. Unfortunately not as many people have bought the replacement inserts. At this time, I have only sold 3. I am not complaining, but I assumed I would be making more of them. The trouble with this insert is that it only fits some of the later models of Element. Also, I don’t believe everyone has issues with their water bottle not fitting. They probably just have a smaller water bottle! However, I did end up solving some other issues like designing a different place to put your mobile phone. The element doesn’t really have any great places for sitting your phone when you are driving.
After a long 3 year break I am writing another blog entry. So much has changed from the time I stopped posting. I am married, I bought a different car, I’ve traveled outside of the United States, I went on a trip to Las Vegas, and now I own not one but four 3D printers. Of course way more than that has changed, I started gardening again and I have probably another 5 hobbies I shouldn’t have taken on. I also started an Etsy store.
My kit built 3D printer eventually started to have issues with the relay that controls the heat bed. I believe I can resolve this issue, but instead purchased a new printer suited for my preferred printing styles. I like ABS functional parts. That feeling of creating something that resolves a problem in your daily life, no matter how simple, is amazing. ABS is a great plastic for that purpose, so a purpose built enclosed printer is ideal. My Prusa i3v MakerFarm was too open, and too big. When I fix it I plan on printing mostly low warping plastics with it. That 12″ cubed print area is still a very appealing feature, and to think its 3 years old!
So I ended up buying the Monoprice Maker Ultimate Printer. It is a copy of the Wanhao Duplicator 6. It has a steal frame and different movement than the Prusa. Obviously it can also be fully enclosed with a purchased Plexiglass kit. Printing ABS with this printer is everything I expected. I have not attempted to print anything too tall yet, but the parts I have printed are strong and so incredibly accurate. I also recently started printing with Nylon! It even has infused carbon fibers. I’m not sure of this particular brand of filament, but others claim to be as strong as aluminum. The wear on the printer (nozzle mostly) will slightly be effected, but the results are worth it. It does tent to ooze out way more than ABS, but somehow i don’t have stringing. I still have the same settings I use with ABS on retraction and print speed. Really, the only thing I changed was the printing temperature and the bed temperature. Plus I had to start using glue stick again for first layer adhesion.
I also started using Simplify3D. It seemed like the way to go. I suppose its a big jump to go from free to paid software, but it seems like a great choice. The gcode preview alone will save me on failed prints over time.
So that’s a little about what I am currently working on! See you in 2024! (kidding, hopefully)
So I decided to make a mount and holster for my extended battery. Now I can record for as long as I like! The only problem with my design is that it will likely only fit my particular tripod. This was a simple enough design to create, so if you don’t have my exact tripod, hopefully you can create one (or modify mine).
Sorry for the potato quality pictures, since my phone is pictured as an example, I had to use my tablet.
With this design, it will firmly grip to the side of a tripod leg with no tools required.
There are so many creations on Thingiverse, and still you may not have that perfect model that’s an exact fit for your needs. What you can do is grab the STL file and modify it in your 3D modeling software. My software of choice is SketchUp. I get by just fine using the free version. If I were making any money with my models, I would have to upgrade to Pro. Otherwise, I have yet to run into any real limitations.
Modifying existing drawings is a great way to get a head start on your designs or just improve existing designs for your benefit. Please be sure to give credit where credit is due and respect the model’s license agreement.
In my example I modified a headphone hook. This persons file was simple and perfect for my needs, except I needed to adapt it to my desks thickness.
Before you begin, I will assume you have already donloaded and installed Sketchup. If not, do that now. You can grab it from SketchUp.com. It’s available for Mac OS and Windows computers. Once you have that installed you need to get one additional plugin. This will give you the ability to import and export STL files. You can download that from here: https://extensions.sketchup.com/en/content/sketchup-stl.
In order to download this plugin (or extension) you will need to authenticate with your Google account. If you don’t have a Google account you will need to create one. Once you authenticate and download this sketchup-stl extension you can install it under Window > Preferences > Extensions> Install Extension…
First you need to download the STL that you are wanting to modify.
Open SketchUp to an appropriate template (millimeters for me)
Import your newly downloaded STL file. File > Import… Change the file type to STL (STereo Lithography Files)
Click Options, Check both boxes and Select Millimeters
Inspect your file for any defects, and fix problems.
I created my first 3D printed product. It is a universal phone mount for a tripod. I had to print it a couple times to get the design just right, but I feel like I learned a ton along the way. I used Sketchup to design the print. The reason I made my own design when others have STL files available is because all of them seemed to require a nut from the hardware store. While that is probably a more universal fit for every tripod, it involved a trip to the store. I made my design in mind of not purchasing any additional hardware (I happen to have rubber bands lying around).
My tripod has a 41 x 41 mm (1 5/8 x 1 5/8 inch) quick release plate on top. I researched that this is called a 3502 Quick Release Plate. I designed it with an opening in the center so that I can change out parts and make it more universal. It is also designed to be wider at the bottom to stop it from pulling completely out. This same part that slides through the mount plate has a hook at the bottom to secure the rubber band tied to the cap.
The cap is designed to slide in and out of the tallest part to allow for different sized phones. It also has a few different sizes cut into the portion that grips the phone. I specifically designed this for my phone and my girlfriends phone (HTC DNA, LG Nexus 7). I would imagine any of the newer iPhone’s would fit just fine. If your phone is roughly 70 mm wide it should make a great fit. The trouble with any fit will likely be your tripod.
if you would like to download this print for your own printer, check it out:
Last year for April Fools day I decided to play a prank on my girlfriend. She always leaves for work much earlier in the morning than I did at the time. I got my prank idea from a picture of an air horn duct taped under a computer chair. The idea here is that the air horn would go off when the target sat in his or her chair.
Of course I got this idea at 1 AM that night. I got up out of bed, and went to the store. I tried to go to a Walmart that stated it was 24 hours. Their hours were marked wrong online (and I am sure they still are). I tried to go to a CVS, and a Walgreen’s, they didn’t have any air horns. So I traveled 20 minutes north to the nearest Meijer. They had mini air horns! These were perfect to hide. I bought three. I also bought some funny duct tape (mustache) and some cream cheese (we will get to that later).
I secured my traps all around the house in a way that forced her to hit all three. She would have had to leave through a window in order to avoid any of them. I was renting a house built in the early 1900s at the time. So there were no shortage of unnecessary doors. The first horn was placed behind the bathroom door. There was only one full bathroom in that house, so it was a sure thing. The next horn was placed behind a swinging butler door that led to the kitchen. Lastly, I placed the remaining horn behind a door that separates the kitchen from the basement / outside door. She could have avoided this horn if she left through the front or back door, but she always left through the side door.
I forgot to mention that I tested these horns in my car at 2 AM on the way home so I would not wake anyone up near my house (they were SO LOUD). I was so giddy with laughter I could hardly get to sleep.
April 1st she wakes up and gets out of bed. She starts to make her way out of the bedroom and I am literally biting my pillow to keep myself from bursting out with laughter. She immediately goes to the bathroom door (like we all do when we wake up) and the horn honks full blast. She yells some swear words and goes about her day. I try to go back to sleep (it’s 5 in the morning). 30 minutes later or so, she makes her way down to the kitchen and I hear that horn blast. This time she is pissed. She comes running up to the bedroom where I am sleeping / laughing uncontrollably and she punches me in the shoulder (it was playful). She asks me if there are any more, and I avoid the question. This time an hour goes by and she is just going about her morning rituals while I sleep in bed. The last horn blasts! She screams and leaves the house.
Anyway all that and it was an incredible morning for the both of us. This was all possibly because of the tile floors. Carpet would have posed some difficult problems when attempting to secure anything down.
This wasn’t all I did. Luckily, its all she encountered. For some reason she had this habit of using my deodorant. I guess she ran out and just never bothered to replace hers. I talked to her about this, I wasn’t a fan of sharing deodorant. So I rolled my deodorant stick in a few inches while pushing into the cream cheese. They were both about the same constancy and color. I even put a little arm hair in the top and molded to to look like it was used. Then I just rolled it back down and sat it back in the medicine cabinet.
Luckily for me, she didn’t use this. This could have been a relationship deal breaker after all I did.