For this Dremel Build Night project, we're making an oversize Pez dispenser that spits out K-cups, instead of delicious little candies. Here's what you need to get started:
- 1 2'x4' sheet of 1/4" MDF - You wont use the whole sheet, so if you have suitable scraps, that's fine.
- Styrofoam - enough to glue together to make a 10" or so cube.
- Assorted spray paint and primer (preferably sandable filler primer)
- Wooden dowel (3/8" or so)
- Spackle or drywall joint compound
- 16 gauge steel wire
- 16 1/4" of 2" PVC pipe
- Wood glue
- Dremel Multi-Max oscillating multi-tool
- Dremel rotary tool
- Straight edge
- Safety goggles
- Respiratory protection - I advise a full respirator if working with MDF
- lots of incidental things I probably forgot.
I've included the SketchUp file that I created first. I made a Pez dispenser in its original scale with measurements from an actual Pez, and then scaled up to the size I wanted to work with. Lets get started.
Step 1: Make Your Cuts
The first thing to do is to measure out your cuts for the MDF. If you're using something like a jigsaw, give yourself room between pieces to allow for the width of the cut. If you're using the Dremel Multi-Max like me, the oscillating action keeps the cut nice and slim, so I was able to share a cut line between pieces. Here is a cut list to get you going:
- 2 - 16” x 5”
- 2 - 16” x 2.5"
- 2 - 16" x 1 "
- 1 - 5" x 3"
- 1 - 5" x 2.5"
- 2 - 5" x 2"
We'll need to cut the feet too, but we'll get to those separately.
WARNING: ALWAYS WEAR AT LEAST A DUST MASK, PREFERABLY A FULL RESPIRATOR WHEN CUTTING MDF.
Step 2: Making and Carving Our Foam Block.
You can do this step at any point, even at the end, but I've added it here so you can get a jump on dry-time
To create a foam block, just get some Styrofoam and glue it together until it's a little bigger than the approximate size you'll want the head of the dispenser to be. I had some tiles of 1/2" packing Styrofoam lying around, so I used that. I cut the tiles into smaller 10" x 10" tiles and glued them in a stack. You can use any foam you'd like, but if you go the route I did, be prepared for a little extra work. Packing Styrofoam is usually made of large foam pellets mashed together. When you sand and carve this, they don't make as even a work surface as insulation foam, or similar materials.
Once the glue has dried, draw an outline of whatever shape your dispenser head will be and begin carving off the excess. The Dremel Multi-Max attachments worked well for getting rid of the large chunks, and a wood rasp will help with hand-shaping the contours. Remember to leave a an area for the head to fit over the body. You'll need a 5" x 3" x 2" cavity if you're following my instructions, and some extra material along the side of the cavity. This will allow you to pin the hinge.
This is a messy step, and Styrofoam dust/pellets are a nightmare, so prepare appropriately.
WARNING: WEAR A DUST MASK OR RESPIRATOR DURING THIS STEP. STYROFOAM DUST IS NOT A TASTY TREAT FOR YOUR LUNGS!
Step 3: Spackle It Up!
After you've carved the shape of your dispenser's topper out of the foam, slap on a few coats of spackle or drywall joint compound. You'll need a few coats, as the goal is to build up enough that you can sand down to a smooth finish in your desired shape.
Spackle and sand, spackle and sand. Lather, rinse, repeat until you've got the shape you're going for.
WARNING: AGAIN, SPACKLE DUST - NOT BESTIES WITH YOUR LUNGS. WEAR YOUR DUST MASK OR RESPIRATOR.
Step 4: MDF Pieces Assemble!
Whether you took the foam detour, or will do that later, we now have to assemble the body of the dispenser. To do this, we'll make a vertical box out of the 16" x 5" pieces and the 16" x 2.5". Unfortunately, I forgot to snap a picture of this step while I was doing it. The picture is from a few steps ahead with some other cuts and additions, but you can see the layout at least.
First, we need to cut some notches in the top of each of the 2.5" pieces. Mark 3/4" from the left and right sides, and 1/4 down from the top on one side of both pieces. This will leave a 1" span in the center. Cut off the 3/4" x 1/4" notch on either side of the 1" center on both strips. See the picture if you didn't follow that. Glue the 16" x 1" strips centered on the 16" x 2.5" strips, aligning them with the 1" notch centered at the top of each piece.
To build the box, you want the thinner 2.5" pieces to be sandwiched between the 5" pieces. You shouldn't see the long edge of the thinner pieces. I used ratcheting band clamps to hold the box square while the glue was drying, but I'm no carpenter. If you have a better way, you won't hurt my feelings.
The end result should look like the above picture.
If you assemble the box before making the notch cuts, carefully use your Dremel to remove the notches. It's a more delicate operation, but it can be done with care.
Step 5: Cap It Off!
Mark off both ends of the 5" x 2 1/2" MDF piece in the same way you marked the notches in the last step. This time, however, we'll be cutting in reverse. We're leaving the end pieces and cutting out the 1" x 1/4" notch in the center of the 2 1/2" side. See above for a visual. This will create the interlocking cap we need.
Once cut, center it with the 5" x 3" MDF piece. You should have 1/4" on either side of the smaller piece. Glue, clamp and wait.
Once dry, use your 2" diameter PVC pipe to trace the hole in the center of the new piece. Remember, 2" is the internal diameter. Cut out the hole using your Dremel, or whatever means you like.
With the hole cut, check to see if your interlocking cap actually interlocks and the pipe actually fits. If it does, cut the pipe at the top of the cap, if you haven't already.
Step 6: Finish the Cap
To finish the cap, take the 5"x 2" MDF pieces and drill a 3/8" hole in the same spot near the corner of each. Glue to the top of the cap as above. You can round the back corner of each above the hole you drilled for a smoother motion. You can also cut notches out of the front to make it easier to grab the K-cup later.
You'll need two chunks of your wooden dowel here, which will fit into the holes you drilled. You don't have to use the same size hole and dowel as I did, just make sure the hole and dowel are the same size.
Don't insert the dowels yet. The size will vary depending on your topper design. The idea is that you will push them from the inside out, into the foam of the topper to secure it later. To make this easier, you can cut another chunk of dowel and sharpen it to a point to use for making a pilot hole at that time. To make the pilot chunk slide a little easier through the hole, you can grind it down with some sandpaper or sanding attachment for your Dremel.
Step 7: Happy Feet
Since the feet of the dispenser have some contours, I've included the SVG file for the pattern. You will need two: one complete, and one with the hole in the center cut out. Once cut, the two will be glued together to make the base. The hole you cut out is the size and shape of the body we put together earlier and should fit in. If your craftsmanship is as . . . free spirited as mine, you may want to scale the SVG up a hair and just fill in any gap around the body where it meets the feet.
Step 8: Putting It Together.
At this point, you can glue the body and feet together and if desired, for the best finish, fill any gaps and seal any cut MDF edges with spot putty. Once dry, sand and re-patch if necessary. If you're using Bondo Spot Putty like I am, make sure to wear a mask when sanding, and apply in a well ventilated area.
Step 9: Prime Time.
Once everything is patched and looks smooth, hit the whole thing with a coat of primer. If you use a high-build filler primer, it will fill in minor imperfections.
Step 10: Spring Into . . . Springs.
I couldn't find a spring the right size, so I made one with 16 gauge steel wire (available very cheaply at your favorite big box hardware establishment). Wind it flat a few turns around a paper towel tube, then wind in a spiral pattern about the size of a K-cup until it's roughly the size of the PVC pipe.
To make the platform that the cups will sit on, trace the inside diameter of the PVC pip onto some MDF, cut out, and sand until it fits inside the pipe. The Dremel sanding drums make short work of this. I attached it to the spring with some hot glue.
Step 11: Done!
Slap all the parts together, push the dowel chunks through the holes and into the head, and give it a try.
The design kind of works, though it leaves a lot to be desired. I can see some areas where easy improvements could make the functionality a little stronger, so perhaps a later update with some tweaks is in store.
Thanks for checking out the Instructable. If you're in the Tampa area, come check out the Hive at the John F. Germany library and make something with us.