Turtlebutt ( The Amazing Adopted Desert Tortoise ) is part of a Nevada adoption program whereby protected Desert Tortoises that are injured or born in captivity cannot be released back into the wild.
By law Desert Tortoises may not be removed from the State of Nevada; therefore, homeowners will volunteer to let a Desert Tortoise live in their enclosed backyard area and make sure they are fed and have a place to hibernate underground during the cooler Nevada months.
If a family is moving out of the State of Nevada, they or the adoption program, must find a new home in Nevada for the protected Desert Tortoise to live & hibernate … and that is how we came to live with Turtlebutt the Tortoise.
Turtlebutt is very friendly and will come over to visit if you are outside, but he is a bit of a bulldozer when moving from one point to another, and if something is in his way he will go over it, or under it, or drag it with him.
As Turtlebutt has grown over the years, he has started dragging the Patio Bench with him more and more, to the point it seems like he enjoys it … But we like to keep the bench in one place, so decided to raise the bench a little so he doesn’t drag it with him as he crosses the patio.
Later this year when it is not 110F. in the workshop, I will cut and TIG weld the Aluminum side supports at a higher position and possibly arc the supports a bit to account for Turtlebutt’s growth.
As a quick fix this summer decided to 3D-Print some Bench Leg Extensions …
I drilled holes & tapped threads for one 8mm machine screw and four small #6 screws into the bottom of each bench leg … Then used the SolidWorks design shown above to press-in 1/2″ nuts to mount the Threaded Foot Pad Leveler bolts into the 3D-Printed Leg Extensions.
While I could have 3D-Printed all 4 Leg Extensions at once, the printing process would have taken 9 hours and I wanted to be able to test one of the Leg Extenders prior to printing the rest.
It would not have been an issue to do a 9 hours print, because after you press the START Button, you can go to bed or walk away and do something else and come back 9 hours later and the parts will be done … Feels like getting to work on two projects at once when items are 3D-Printing.
In the Photo above, I set the finished 3D-Printed Leg Extenders on the Printing Platform to show the size of the items in relation to the 3D-Printer.
( Click on any photograph to see a Larger View of the image )
Since I wanted to test the size and fit-up of just one of the Leg Extenders first, I opened up the Large Front Leg Extender .STL file and 3D-Printed it using AFINIA‘s ‘ Natural ‘ Color PLA 3D-Printing Filament
( Would have printed them black but did not have enough black filament )
Due to the shape of the original bench design, the Back Leg Extenders needed to have a 4.5 degree base angle to match the angled Aluminum legs.
No worries, the 3D-Printer can print a RAFT of support material to build up on the platform to print items that don’t touch the printing platform base.
Once the parts are finished 3D-Printing the extra support material can easily be pulled off revealing the 3D-Printed parts …
Had just enough of the AFINIA Premium PLA Black Filament on the Spool to print the Foot Pads that press onto the Hex Ends of the Zinc coated Steel Bolts.
As before, I printed just one Foot Pad to make sure it would press on tight, and then printed the final 3 Foot Pads together on the 3D-Printing platform.
Once the Patio Bench Leg Extension parts finished 3D-printing, I then screwed them onto the bottom of the legs using the tapped threaded holes …
Next ( prior to painting ) pressed the black Foot Pads onto the bolt heads to act as threaded Leg Levelers … They worked as expected stabilizing the bench.
Painted the Zinc coated bolts black so they would blend into the black bench …
After testing all the parts, I decided to test the threaded levelers on the Patio.
Before painting the Leg Extenders, the White filament color made the bench look like it was doing a Michael Jackson or Elvis ( white socks ) impression.
The bench was rock solid stable on the Threaded Leveling Foot Pads so I painted all items black and once dry put the bench back on the patio.
The next time Turtlebutt is under the Patio Bench I will get a Photo of him.
Turtlebutt went under the bench today with lots of clearance!!