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I built this banquette over the weekend, posted it on Facebook, and now I have a few people asking for plans. While I don’t have any plans specifically, I did take a lot of pictures along the way to show how it was build. I hope this is helpful!

For supplies I used:

  • Kreg Pocket Hole jig with 2.5-in screws
  • 8 96″ 2×4 Whitewood Stud
  • 24′ 1×4 Primed Pine (for top/bottom molding)
  • 30″ Nickel Piano Hinge
  • 48″ Nickel Piano Hinge
  • 40′ 15/16-in White Batten (for panel molding)
  • 5mm (1/4″) Utility Panel (face)
  • 23/32 (3/4″) A/C Arauco Radiata Plywood
  • 1 Qt eggshell paint color matched to cabinets
  • 3/8″ flathead hardwood plugs
  • About 20 2″ screws

Supplies were about $200 total, but because you don’t use a whole box of screws or sheet of plywood, the actual expense was about $140 of that.

I started by framing the bench with 2x4s. I ripped one to 2×2, but that was a mistake. Instead orient this 2×4 the way you see it here on the other bench. This provides support for both sides of the hinged plywood. The benches are designed to put you at about 18″ off the ground with sitting on a cushion, assuming a 2-inch cushion that compresses to about an inch. The wooden frames are 16″ high, and come out about 20″ from the wall to provide space for pillows at the back.

I got a sheet of 3/4″ AC plywood (pretty clean on one side) and 1/4″ primed plywood for the sides. Most home centers will cut these for you to size.

I cut the 1/4 plywood to size for the side panels and taped them in place until I got them all fitting properly.

I cut the lids to size also, before ripping them for the hinges. I usually dry fit everything before I fasten them.

I spaced out the lids with sheets of cardboard.

I ripped the back edges of the lids to place the hinges. In this picture you can see that I repaired the mistake I noted above (with the 2×2 instead of the 2×4).

Installed all the hinges (cut to size with a hack saw) with just a few screws each in case I needed to readjust them.

I used 1×4 primed pine for the trim, working my way around and mitering the outside corners — starting on the bottom. I attached them with a nail gun, and used pieces of card stock to lift them a hair off the ground. (I wanted to make it easier to protect the floor from paint.)

On the top, I wanted to leave a little lip to contain the cushions and help keep them from sliding off the lids. The boards extend about 3/4″ from the top of the lid. At this point, I had to keep one lid open all the time or I’d probably have to use a vacuum to get it back open, so I attached a piece of string stapled to the bottom of one of the lids.

I also made a trim piece to cover the outside corners, and you can see that I did a test fit of the decorative molding, which is just taped into place.

I cut the cut the batten to size carefully so they were all the same size.

I glued them on and held them in place with tape while the glue dried.

I drilled 1-inch holes for finger pulls.

The top trim board is likely going to see a lot of weight, so I reinforced those with some inset 2-inch screws, filling the holes with glued plugs, and then later flush cutting them with a Japanese saw.

Next came the paint, which I had matches to our new cabinets. I started by sliding some card stock under the bottom molding to protect the floor.

Here’s the finished banquette. Next we need to make some cushions!

Technical Information

Files are resized with imagemagick, using: magick convert *.jpg[1000x1000] -interlace line -quality 85 -gravity SouthEast -font Arial -pointsize 14 -fill black -annotate +2+2 "(c)2019 theFrankes.com" -fill white -annotate +3+3 "(c)2019 theFrankes.com" BanquetteZ%03d.jpg

Nanning, China

So our second bag is still missing–they think it might still be in Los Angeles.  We had a pretty busy day. We starting with a walk in the area of the hotel, and ran across a bustling market that had just about every kind of food you could imagine… You could pick a chicken from a cage and they’d basically cut it up for you. There were tons of fruits and vegetables–some huge, like nothing I’ve ever seen. We even walked by a bucket of turtles. It was a real eye-opening experience.

We spent the day at Quingxiu Mountain–a pretty large park that appeared to be right in the middle of the city. (I say appeared to be because you could see high-rises for miles in every direction, and even poking out from behind the mountain. It was pretty hot and humid today, but well worth the trip–the place is beautiful. We started with a very old tree and ended up at this huge obstacle course playground that the kids just loved. Dinner in town was good, but still not as good as our first lunch in China.

It’s a bit odd that strangers sometimes want to take pictures with us, and we catch them staring from time to time as well. The style here is very western, though–very much like back home. France was more different that China appears to be, apart from maybe the hats and driving ponchos.

We had another walk around the hotel area this evening and ended up meandering into a music store where a few people were playing this recorder-like instrument. They brought out some chairs, sat us down, and basically played a set… pretty darn cool… The kids are really having an eye-opening experience here, and I think losing the bag was a good lesson for them, too.


Well it’s been an adventure alright! We had two unexpected overnights–one in LAX and one in Beijing–due to a ten hour delay in the intentional flight. But we made it! Unfortunately our luggage did not. One of the two bags arrived last night (the one with the allergy safe food for the girl) and the one with most of our clothes is still missing. :/

This place is pretty amazing so far though. The cities just go on forever. Our first meal here was absolutely delicious–beef with chili sauce, beans, and kind of egg/tomato dish, and more, all family style. Then we went of to this crazy water-park-like hot spring with 150+ springs ranging from cold to hot, and grape flavored to tea. Then there was the one where fish were nibbling on our feet.

The rest of the family is doing well so far… still a bit jet-lagged and getting up real early. Big day planned today. Hopefully I can post more later!

Get comfortable using basic tools

  • Safety first. Each disassembly should be supervised. There are sharp and springy parts, so take proper safety precautions. Adults should NOT let the kids make safety mistakes.
  • Always use the proper tool. For example, don’t try to use a flat-head screwdriver to loosen a Phillips head screw. Use the right size screwdriver tip.
  • Use the tool properly. For example, hold screwdrivers straight so screws don’t get stripped.

Solve disassembly problems

  • Disassemble — don’t break, deform, tear, or cut. Wires, for example, usually don’t need to be cut because they’re often attached to connectors.
  • Take time to infer how parts are assembled — don’t rush disassembly, and in most cases, you shouldn’t need to force anything.
  • Printers can be MESSY! There’s usually a giant ink-filled sponge in them. Use gloves and paper towels to remove this.
    Identify parts that could cause problems before you work on them. (e.g. sharp parts, messy parts, etc.)

Explore how the machines work

  • Again, don’t rush it.
  • For every component you see, try to figure out what it might be for. (This includes circuit boards.) Manufacturers don’t add stuff that’s not required, so there’s usually a reason for everything.
  • Identify subassemblies. One machine will usually disassemble into several subassemblies, each with a particular purpose.


Here’s a quick update on some of the projects we’ve been working on this year:

We went to the 2014 USA Science and Engineering Festival up in Washington, DC, and we wanted to share it with our fellow school Maker Team members. Here’s the video we produced to do that.

USA Science & Engineering Festival
Washington, DC
April 24-27, 2014

SPECIAL THANKS to: Lockheed Martin, Snap-On, K’Nex, Lulzbot, U.S. Naval Academy, Natasha, NASA, and Printrbot.

MUSIC: “Saturdays Basement” by cdk, 2014 – Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) http://ccmixter.org/files/cdk/45072

There are live links on the youtube page for the video for each of these segments:

0:09 Introduction
0:33 Scenes from the Festival
0:53 Lots of 3D Printers!
1:05 Lockheed Martin Large Robot Arm 3D Printer
1:52 Lockheed Martin F35 Lightening II Cockpit Simulator
2:23 Snap-on Racecar
2:33 Huge K’Nex Ferris Wheel
3:14 Lulzbot 3D Printing
3:50 U.S. Naval Academy Robotic Arm
4:52 Natasha the Maker
5:23 NASA Astronaut Alvin Drew
5:57 Brook at Printrbot
6:43 Summary with More Scenes from Exhibits

We got a Mazda CX-5 and so far we’re pretty happy with it. We wanted an organizer in the back, though, to help prevent things from falling over and rolling around, and we wanted it to be easy to collapse if necessary. Here’s how we made one for less than $15. Add a few extra dollars for bungee cords to hold the organizer in place if you want. (Mazda recommends that you secure the stuff you put in the back.)

The bins were designed to accommodate our reusable grocery bags, with some tight nooks in the back for things like baseballs, pencil kits, and books. (The kids can open up the middle section and reach back.) Placed close to the back seats, this design still allows access to things stored with the spare tire. It can be disassembled pretty quickly if necessary. 



  • 1 piece of 1x6x10′ pine (whiteboard) lumber, and be sure it’s not splitting at the ends. This should cost about $10 at the home center — ask them to cut it in half for you and you’ll be able to fit it into the CX-5.
  • 1 can of flat black spray paint. I got Painter’s Touch, which was labeled “primer + paint” for less than $4.
  • 2 bungee cords, approximately 18″ long unstretched. We had these laying around from a Harbor Freight assortment kit we got a while back. They’re probably about $1 each, and are use to secure both the organizer to the floor, and secure bags in the two outer bins.
  • 4 3/4″ felt pads. These are really optional, but might help prevent damage to the interior of the car. We had them on had, but you can also pick them up at the home center for a couple dollars.


  1. From each 5-foot length, cut one 41″ board, and one 17″ board.
  2. On both 17″ boards, measure in 1 3/4″ from each end and cut a 3/4″ slot across half the width of the board. Cut both boards together.
  3. On both 41″ boards, measure 13″ from each end and cut a 3/4″ slot across half the width of the board. Cut both boards together.
  4. Also on both 41″ boards, measure about 2 1/2″ from each end and drill a 1/2″ hole so it overlaps the edge of the board enough to fit a bungee cord. Do this on the opposite side from the slots if you want the 41″ boards to hold down the 17″ boards, or on the same side to make the weak ends of the 17″ boards a little more protected from accidental breaks.
  5. Sand, assemble, and paint.
  6. Attach a felt pad to the middle of the end of each 41″ board, and install into car. Run the bungee from the back hook, through the drill holes, and up to the front hook. You can tie a knot in the bungee where it passes through the board to help keep it in place if it slides.


It’s important to note that the small sections of 17″ board on the outside of the 41″ boards will be weak because there’s only 2.5″ against the grain holding them in place. If you’re going to be disassembling/reassembling this a lot, you might want to glue some blocks to those weak areas to strengthen them.

Here’s the complete Bill of Materials (BOM) for the club’s Prusa i2 build. It’s sorted first by type of material, then by assembly. The number at the left is the part number in the order it was recorded from a reference machine.

Direct link here.


Here’s a certificate of achievement that you can use for the kids who complete the project at your school. We had two titles: The kids who were in the club were awarded “3D Printer Maker” certificates, and those that helped out a lot (usually younger siblings) were awarded “”3D Printer Apprentice” certificates. The text of the certificate is shown below the image.

Download the SVG file here: 3D Printer Club: Lesson Plans and Other Documents

3D Printer Club Certificate of Achievement

3D Printer Club Certificate of Achievement

The border features the typical honeycomb-style infill pattern that 3D prints often use.

Here’s the text of the certificate:

Let it be known that on this twenty-fourth day of May, two thousand and thirteen,

Student Name

is hereby honored and recognized for outstanding achievement as part of an awesome team of awesome kids who built a fully functional 3D printer—from scratch, having learned tons and tons of cool stuff along the way, including blogging, accounting, sourcing, assembly, robotics, electronics, management, teamwork, and a bunch of other awesome things too numerous to list. This exceedingly rare and highly coveted document therefore confers upon the aforementioned Maker, the esteemed, hard-earned, and frankly just awesome title of

3D Printer Maker

with all the rights, privileges, and honors appertaining thereunto.

In this video, Jacob shows an easy way to set up a PCB heatbed for your 3D printer — a method that allows the entire surface of the heatbed to be used for printing. He also shows how to cut inexpensive certificate frame glass to size with some simple tools. We’ve had printers with a heatbed setup just like this running without incident for over a year.

Supplies used: PCB Heatbed (with high-temperature wire attached), glass (same size as heatbed), scissors, kapton tape, four M3 nuts and screws (12-16mm), screwdriver & pliers, thermistor, thermistor lead insulation (kapton tape works, too), and pipe insulation tape. See below for glass cutting tools.

Glass Cutting Tools & Materials: Safety glasses, sheet glass (certificate frame glass works well), glass cleaner, paper towels, permanent marker, ruler, cutting oil, straight edge, glass cutting tool, breaking edge, leather gloves, and sandpaper.

A project-based RepRap build is the perfect way to bring STEM and many other disciplines to your school. To learn more about starting a 3D printer build at your school, visit http://www.thefrankes.com/wp/?page_id=2766.


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