Duct Tape is an indispensible tool for every maker. It is strong, it sticks like crazy and it’s easy to cut. It would be even better if it had a holder, such that it is easy and convenient to tear off a piece. That’s what we’ll build in this Instructable!
If you like the project, please vote for it in the Stick it! contest.
Step 1: Parts & Tools
Wooden board 3/4" thick (19 mm)
Piece of 2 x 4" (50 mm)
M4 threaded rod
BLUNT razor blade
This project can easily be made with scrap wood you have laying around. You can combine different kinds of wood like I did, or stick with one type. If you don't have access to a CNC, you could just as well use a manual router, or even handtools, instead.
Step 2: Routing the Base
We start this project by designing the whole structure in a CAD program. We will use Fusion360, since it also allows us to do the CAM to generate the toolpaths for the CNC machine. The source files are included, such that you can make changes and customize it to your preferences.
I designed the base to be made out of 3 pieces of wood: a piece of 2x4" (50 mm thick) in the middle and two 3/4" (19 mm) boards as sides. This makes for easier and faster milling operations and uses scraps of wood I had laying around. The hub which holds the roll of duct tape will be 3D printed.
The CAM setup is pretty easy. Instructables has a very nice class on this to learn the basics, so I will not cover them in detail here. The middle part is a simple 2D contour operation, while the sides have a 3D pocket operation followed by a 2D contour cut.
To mill the pieces, I fixed them to my CNC with hot glue. I found this to be plenty strong as workholding, and it avoids the possibility of machining into your clamps. Sand your pieces of wood first if they are rough. As always, take it easy on your feeds and speeds, and test them out on a scrap piece first.
Step 3: Assembling the Base
The milled pieces can now be assembled to form the base of our duct tape dispenser. Start by giving them a light sanding to take off the rough edges left by the milling process. Next, apply some wood glue and clamp the pieces together. When the glue is fully dry, we can sand the whole assembly and create nice smooth surfaces. I went from 80 grid to 220 grid sandpaper. The wood can now be finished as you like. I applied a simple coat of mineral oil, since that was what I had on hand.
To cut the duct tape, we will now add a razor blade. DO NOT use a brand new blade, it would be too dangerous! I used a very blunt one, and it does the job nicely. Drill a small (2 mm) pilot hole in the middle of the base and attach the razor blade such that it touches the small ridge. This keeps the blade from spinning when force is applied.
Step 4: Making the Hub
As mentioned before, the hub is 3D printed. Start by slicing the wheel and send it to your printer; a 0.3 mm layer height will do just fine. When the print is done, a 60 mm piece of 4 mm threaded rod can be inserted. The tape can now be slid over it and mounted in the base. It should slide in easily and lock itself into place.
Step 5: Enjoy
The Duct Tape dispenser is now ready to use and makes it easy to take a piece off duct tape with one hand. This project was inspired by a video from Make, but since they didn’t provide any source files I decided to make my own version and share all necessary files here.
I hope you liked the project! Feel free to check out my other Instructables: https://www.instructables.com/member/ThomasVDD/