Introduction: Cup Spinner
To make epoxy coated cups a "spinner" is required to allow the epoxy to cure without runs. Using my Cricut Maker and a motor kit from Amazon I built my own and it works great. There are many resources for how to set up the cut on the Cricut and how to make the cups so this Instructable will focus on the spinner production process.
The spinner can be built using basic hand tools.
Cricut Heavy Chipboard (2mm)
5-6 RPM motor kit from Amazon
1/2" PVC pipe cap
Nail/wire/pin (to hold pipe cap on motor shaft)
Step 1: Cut Out Chipboard Frame
The frame is made out of 4 pieces of 2mm chipboard.
The large motor end is 4" wide by 5" tall, slots are 1" tall and .08" wide (approximately 2mm) and I put them 1" in from the edge, the hole for the motor is 1/2" diameter and is centered between the slots with a center point of 3 1/2" up from the bottom.
Note: the way the Cricut software works it does NOT use the center point of the circle as the origin but rather the bottom left corner of a box around the circle. In other words, if you are using the X and Y dimensions in the Cricut Design Space to locate the circle you need to subtract 1/4" from both X and Y dimensions of the center when placing the circle on the canvas to get the center to the of the circle where you want it to be.
The smaller support end is also 4" wide with slots 1" tall and .08" wide that are 1" in from the edge. The height is 3 1/2" and the half circle is centered and 1" in diameter.
The 2 base supports are identical. They are 2" tall and 7" long. The slots are the same as the others (.08" wide and 1" tall) and are 1" in from the end.
Note: High stick mat with tape and the standard heavy chip board cut setting on the Cricut Maker worked will for me.
Step 2: Assemble Frame and Motor Kit
First I mounted the motor to the chipboard. Since different motors may have different mounting holes I decided to just put the motor onto the chipboard, mark the hole positions and then drill the holes for the mounting screws by hand (rather than have them cut out by the Cricut). This way they match up exactly.
I used 6-32x1/2 machine screws with washers and nuts because that is what I had laying around. They did not need to be that long.
I attached the wires after mounting the motor. The kit came with the white wire splice in the photo. You simply push down on the tabs, insert the wires and release the tabs. In the picture with the blue wires you will see correct insertion of the top wire (no wire showing, just the blue insulation) and incorrect insertion (silver wire exposed) in the lower wire.
Complete the frame assembly by sliding all of the chipboard pieces together with the notches as in the photo.
Step 3: Cup Mandrel Receiver
The cups will ultimately be placed on a mandrel that needs to connect to the motor. A 1/2" PVC pipe will be used to make the mandrel(s) and a 1/2" PVC cap will be used as a receiver on the motor.
Every motor is different so you will need to get the size of the motor shaft and the cross hole in the shaft (if you motor has one) to get the right sizes for the holes in the PVC cap.
Once you have the sizes, drill a hole in the bottom of the cap for the motor shaft and a hole all the way through both sides of the cap for the cross hole.
Slide the cap onto the motor shaft and secure it in place with wire or a nail or roll pin... so that it will not slip on the shaft. Here are some notes on selecting a securing method:
- Gluing the cap to the shaft does not work. I tried it with epoxy, hot melt glue, tape... and nothing worked so I finally drilled a cross hole and wired it on and it's been working great ever sense.
- When you push the mandrel into and out of the cap it puts a lot of in and out load on the motor which is another reason why gluing methods don't work.
- Did I mention that gluing it into place is a bad idea?
- If you use a nail or roll pin get one that is as close to the size of the cross hole in the motor shaft as possible. I used think "safety wire" and it works great but every time the spinner goes around once the looseness of the fit results in a short pause in the rotation of the cup. This doesn't seem to affect the quality of the end product but is annoying.
Step 4: Mount the Spinner
Once the spinner is fully assembled it needs to be attached to some sort of base. I had some plywood laying around and simply hot melt glued the back end of the spinner frame down to a piece. The cup will tip over the spinner if you don't secure the back end to something. I'm thinking about making up some sort of base with binder clips in the future so that I can disassemble the spinner base and collapse it down for storage when I'm not using it to make cups.
Step 5: Building Mandrel(s)
Cut the 1/2" PVC pipe into 9-11" pieces. These will be the mandrels.
Using corse sandpaper (100 grit or so) sand down 1 end a little so that it will slip into and out of the cap on the spinner more easily. Don't take off too much, you can always sand it more after you start using it if you find it's too tight.
I had an old swimming pool "noodle" laying around so I used that to make the cup holder. I was originally planning on using pipe insulation from the plumbing department at Home Depot but since I had the noodle I decided to use that.
I cut off about a 2" piece of the noodle. It was too big in diameter for my cups so I cut out a small section and taped it back together on the PVC pipe.
I also added a couple of rubber bands above and below the noodle piece so that when I push the mandrel into and pull it out of cups the noodle section doesn't slide up and down on the pipe.
That's it, have fun making cups!