This marker will change the way you work with sheet metal
Stuff Made Here
Support these projects on patreon:
Check out the subreddit:
Plasma cutting is incredibly useful. Paired with bending and welding it is often the fastest and cheapest way to build any kind of mechanical structure or enclosure. Results that might take a day on a 3D printer or on a CNC mill can be achieved in minutes on a plasma cutter. Not to mention the cost of sheet metal is a lot cheaper than 3D printer materials or billet for machining. I'm constantly making folded and welded structures with my plasma cutter and every time I have the same problem. I will design a complicated folded part and then when I go to bend it I can't place the bends accurately. I'll spend a lot of time trying to measure them out but the plasma cutter can make any arbitrary shape which can make measuring difficult.
To solve this problem I designed and built a pen plotter head for my plasma cutter. It allows me to first draw all of the bend lines then cut out the part. This gives me perfectly registered bend locations that make folding the parts really easy.
This video details how I designed it and how it works.
These videos usually take a ton of work and a lot of money in tools and materials. I've made a patreon if you're interested in supporting the creation of these projects:
Here's some of the tools that I use in this video:
Retractable sharpies:
Air solenoid valves:
Pneumatic Cylinder:
Vise brake (highly recommend):
Wera allen keys 1000x better than el cheapos:
Wera allen keys (english):
Hypertherm powermax 45xp with machine torch:
Hypertherm fine cut consumables (great for sheet metal)
100mm linear stage for plasma Z axis - easier than building:
Downdraft fans - these things chooch!:
The best marker ever. Always in my pocket:
Drag chains:
"computer startup sound" sound from is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Commenti: 1 927
  • blamthekaboom

    It’s amazing how much effort someone will put into avoiding just having to removing a cap

    • Oneofdazzz

      @Shinji391 no he did this for views.

    • Kiloreas Lightpaw
      Kiloreas Lightpaw

      Laziness is a powerful motivator for design.

    • John Johnson
      John Johnson

      He must have been a defense contractor at some point.

    • MarredCheese

      He put in some unnecessary effort because only 2 positions were needed rather than 3. You could pull up to toggle whether the tip is out and push down to either write (if the tip is currently out) or rest (if the tip is currently retracted). Or did he need more than 1 tips' worth of clearance for some reason?

    • Icefire555

      Yeah. He could have done it a ton of ways. He just choose to do the mechanical method.

  • juan gonzalez
    juan gonzalez

    10:00 a tip I learned from an electrician. At the beginning run a rope through the rig to pull your cable. Instead of pulling just the rope and cable through, attach a second rope behind the first with the cable. Then you will have a rerun rope every time for the next pull. Assuming of course the conduit isn’t full.

    • Elijah Templeton
      Elijah Templeton

      @Stormfather that works. We used pully sustems like that to pull cable in data centers where we had to run cables down tray over and over.

    • Stormfather

      Seems like you could just have one big rope in a loop, and then temporarily attach any other cable to it and pull it through

  • The Human System
    The Human System

    It is admirable that he does this for a living and then still has time and energy to do fun stuff off hours. Thank you for sharing your skills!

    • thinkgel

      this is what he does for a living

  • Richard Adams
    Richard Adams

    One thing I learned going to school to be a sheet metal worker, was having the plasma cutter pause for a minute at the point where you want to break so it creates a small notch, All you have to do is line the notches up and boom a point to bend at.

    • Chris

      You also could lower the power on the cutter to simply mark the metal.

    • matthew mattes
      matthew mattes

      @Mattao Martinez. amen brother hahaha.

    • Mattao Martinez.
      Mattao Martinez.

      @matthew mattes lol we are gifts from god.

    • matthew mattes
      matthew mattes

      @Mattao Martinez. is your name as satisfying to write as mine?

    • Cody Jewell
      Cody Jewell

      @Mattao Martinez. that's pretty much its best use. That sharpie line isn't really thin enough to be super accurate but he could probably figure out a way to fit a scribe pen into the same mechanism

  • God of plumbing
    God of plumbing

    Having the intelligence to do something like this is extremely rare. Having the will to do it almost never seen. I wish I had the will and the resolve that this man has. Thank you for your hard work.

  • Phroggius Phrog
    Phroggius Phrog

    It's amazing to see how much he evolved, and how his shop expanded with so many more tools. He came a long way, and I think all of us are proud of him.

    • Noah Everly
      Noah Everly

      Was thinking the same thing. One thing I noticed hasn't changed is his ability to share knowledge. Most people that smart tend to say incomprehensible things. He literally worked for FormLabs to make that resin print, and when explaining it he doesn't mention any technical terms, not even resin. He really is remarkable

  • Mudit Gupta
    Mudit Gupta

    I keep re-watching these videos because I find them super fun and inspiring and even though Shane posts regularly there just isn't enough new content fast enough :)

    • Mehmet Can Eksi
      Mehmet Can Eksi


  • Ken Design
    Ken Design

    I did something similar on my table but with a carbide scribe with replaceable inserts. It has a compression spring on the z axis to compensate for material height inconsistencies. On 304ss or aluminum it works great. On hot rolled steel I need to run the g code a few times over to get through the mill scale. It makes for a very accurate bend line. Love your channel, you are one smart dude!

  • Steve O'Donald
    Steve O'Donald

    Loving your videos so far. This Old Tony has some serious competition now! I'm not an engineer, I just had a heap of casual jobs in steel fabrication through my life. You can thank Dusten for the collaborate baseball bat video for me finding your channel. Great content. Keep it coming :)

  • Ole Sauffaus
    Ole Sauffaus

    IDEA: You could score the metal with a pointy tool, rather than drawing on it with a Sharpie. That would probably simplify the mechanics needed to make it work, and eliminate the "thickness" of your lines.

    • LabGecko

      @NG Wouldn't plasma etching risk significantly changing the steel temper and/or strength?

    • Wouldn't you Like to know
      Wouldn't you Like to know

      Those servos would survive that. Scoring metal won't help that much unless they are deep.

    • Julian Eberhard
      Julian Eberhard

      @Mike kinard if you have a static load yes, but with dynamic loads even small imperfections in the surface can significantly reduce the time to failure

    • Mike kinard
      Mike kinard

      I would use that blue stuff to scribe the lines or if you just used a regular scribe tool like when you're marking on a lathe. It's just a fine surface scratch it's not going to effect the strength of the metal or add any extra stress. Also with all the money he spent to get all those different CNC Machines, you would think that he would own a bending machine

    • Joe Doesfun
      Joe Doesfun

      A ballpoint pen will put a barely noticeable line anywhere with little pressure. We would write combinations on the back of locks with Bic pens and you had to know to look for them.

  • garwood nichol
    garwood nichol

    Thank you for making stuff, your builds are amazing. Over my head, but amazing. For more bracket and captured nut madness check out guys at Bad obsession motorsports, specifically project binky - let's just say they are the analog version of your work.

  • Danielism

    Can you include cad videos? I love watching projects that yield final results in the videos. A readable timelapse that's not too fast would be amazing.

  • deepak tl
    deepak tl

    Hi... your videos are truly inspiring, innovative and with a crazy amount of engineering .. one very small suggestion is that you could use a 5/3 mid position exhaust solenoid valve + check valve crosspiloting (to stop wherever u want in the middle using just logic) instead of a 5/2 and not worry about using external springs totally... I can draw up a pneumatic circuit if you would like .. Anyways thanks for all the creative videos.. :)

  • Robert Warren Gilmore
    Robert Warren Gilmore

    That was some high-quality word play. "This made the problem of decapitating the pen retractable."

  • Ryan

    Awesome build! If you tie a string to your green ground wire and pull it back thru the wire track you can route a fishing wire to pull multiple wires back thru instead of removing the caps .

  • AArmstrongC

    9:52 you already have cables that go through the Energy Chain, so you can attach a long auxiliary Rope to the end of one cable A, you pull out the cable A (and the rope also goes through), then you tie the new cable B to the same end of the Rope where the cable A is already attached... so then you pull back the rope with both cables, and voilà!

  • Clint Moody
    Clint Moody

    When I was a CNC operator at a fabrication shop, I would use a Sharpie to layout the cut locations on sheets prior to cutting. I'm loving that someone else does this on a whole different level!

  • Gogglez

    1:45 Just model in small bend notches to see where the bend lines are when forming. (If external bend notch, grind off the mark afterwards. Use internal bend notches where the visual looks are not important.

  • Shaun Muscat
    Shaun Muscat

    Very very brilliant and time saving idea well done. I was thinking that maybe instead of the pen, you may can fit a Laser engraving head . In my opinion it will mark much more precise guide lines for bending and would eliminate the wear on the tip of the pen also :) Well done for all your videos , very interesting to watch

  • Vaschka Koboroff
    Vaschka Koboroff

    Hey mate, Absolutely loving your videos watching them consecutively as we speak. if you notice this comment than it may help you or someone else that finds routing cables or tubes frustrating. I've laid cable in conduit professionally and all you have to do is feed a rope through once. Leave it there for the next time you return. tie or tape on the cable or tube you want to feed through and also a new piece of rope to go along with it so when you pull said cable or tube through you also have another piece of rope that has reset it ready for the next installation, in your case the distance is so short it most likely will result without having to remove any of the plates. I know this information is miniscule but its the little tricks of the trade that make the biggest difference, As you would know sir.

  • holsen78

    Instead of having to draw the bend line with a sharpie, you could just cut a couple of grooves where the bend should be. This would make the bending easier and if you're welding it anyway I think it would have little impact in the overall strength. Though I really do like the idea and design of this sharpie setup c",)

  • youdroids getoffmylawn
    youdroids getoffmylawn

    Great idea. Thank you for posting this.. I didn't know those pens existed.. Had been recapping at the end of sessions. Have been using a spring loaded holder to moderate pen pressure. Pneumatic retractor Is simple yet effective. Nicely done.

  • Soul-Burn

    For the cable routing through the sleeve, keep a plastic wire routed there. When you want to route a new cable, connect another plastic wire and the wanted cable to it. Pull from the other side, and you'll have your new cable and another "routing wire" routed, ready for the next time!

  • GrimSpec

    Very nice :) I have a question did you also consider to use lead screw and pneumatic stepping motor ?

  • Johnathan Doe
    Johnathan Doe

    I’m just amazed at the way his brain works. Like I understand that once anyone becomes very knowledgeable about something they can do great things, but this seems different. It’s the awareness that it’s unnecessary, but the cleverness to make it legitimately useful or something like that. Idk man I’m not even smart enough to explain how I think he’s smart😂

  • Thor Hammer
    Thor Hammer

    5:30 you could also use two cylinders one as a stop for the one that moves the pen. Extend the stop and the pen will only move to the stop.

  • Ian Bottom
    Ian Bottom

    For your pneumatic control I’m thinking you may have been able to use two 2/2 valves AND quick exhaust valves at the actuator port

  • Erwin Slootweg
    Erwin Slootweg

    about those wires in the wire guide, when i used to do networking cables for a server room that kept changing, i always had a piece of rope put through along with a new cable. i could use that piece of rope to pull another cable and piece of rope in the future without undoing ducting. might be an idea for you on some machines. nice vids you make :)

  • Leo's Bag of Tricks
    Leo's Bag of Tricks

    I make parts like this from laser-cut aluminum, I always put rows of holes or slots along the bend lines. I don't have a bending brake, but the holes make hand-bending really easy. The parts are slightly weaker, but the problem of where to bend is eliminated and accuracy is great.

  • seansverige

    Great idea & interesting video, question: is there any reason why pen extension / retraction couldn't have been done using a servo? The air cylinder + gubbins seems a little intimidating to the uninitiated...

  • Taras Borisevich
    Taras Borisevich

    Regarding stringing cable chain on the plasma: Next time you have to add a wire, tape another piece of scrap wire or cable and push both through. Then the next time you have to add a wire, take another wire scrap and tape both to the first scrap piece and pull through, leaving you with another pull wire for future mods. Rinse and repeat (:

    • Ciaran Gale
      Ciaran Gale

      @Klaus Brinck the i never learn was referring to the fact that it would be faster to take the plates off than struggle with it every time

    • fanplant

      Elechicken here to tell you to use the ground wire as a drag. Hell I should be the youtube troll of AvE's friend dewcalw!!

    • Mechotronic

      Jet line! Always pull at least one extra in your ling runs.

    • Scott Strehlow
      Scott Strehlow

      I do this every time I pull a wire. It has saved me from pulling out much of my hair.

    • Klaus Brinck
      Klaus Brinck

      That was useless, his first sentence after explaining the hustle, was to tell that he´ll "never learn"... ;-) I think, that he thinks of it every time, but is always too lazy to go the extra mile, pushing a 2nd line through, along with the 1st one...

  • ModernSurvivalists

    Amazed by all the engineering here! One quick tip that might help with future cable routing in your cable guides. Use a flexible sheet metal fish tape. You can attach various heads (small plastic 3d printed ball for example) so that it won't catch in all the crevices. Then use it to pull a nylon pull string. Whenever you pull something thru with your pull string, attach a second pull string along with it - so you still have one for next time!

  • Matthew Joslyn
    Matthew Joslyn

    Really awesome design. Did you ever consider a cam-follower concept to engage and disengage the pen ?

  • James Roberts
    James Roberts

    This is awesome. At my job we often do projects which involve cutting hundreds or thousands of unique parts. Sometimes they can be engraved by a cutter to mark part numbers or index marks. but depending on the material, sometimes this is not possible. If only our cutting suppliers embraced your tech!

  • Dadmezz

    Great video, project, and your skills are wonderful. possible feed for chain guard, have a line already installed and use it to pull your wanted line with another pull length so after completed install there will be another pull line always installed.

  • AJMansfield

    Note, you can just put springs inside the bore of an air cylinder, and not have to worry about a separate mount. The end caps should just thread off and let you stick it in there. I used this trick building a pneumatic 3-speed gearbox and it saved a lot of space and mechanical complexity.

    • Felix Merz
      Felix Merz

      This is a genius little hint.

  • Floyd Maxwell
    Floyd Maxwell

    Your videos rock. So much goes into them -- editing, thought, humor, troubleshooting, more editing... -- amazing!

  • MrRRRR1Rob

    Ok, I'm subscribed. I love seeing how people go about solving these types of challenges. Also, you've probably thought it out already and solved it the way that works best for you, but in my line of work, we often use a second cylinder to shuttle an intermediate stop into position.

  • Andrea Buzzolan
    Andrea Buzzolan

    How do you calculate the rigidity of folded structures? Do you use FEM programs or is it iterational? Edit: also love your videos, keep going💪🏼💪🏼

  • Jackal1412

    It is so fun and interesting to watch you state a problem and then work through it. Great work!

  • Charles Whittington
    Charles Whittington

    Nice! I've put a sharpie in the toolholder on a mill (or the live tooling on a lathe) too. CNC line-drawing comes in super handy for sure.

  • MrArcher0

    9:50 As a fellow CNC operator there is a simple solution to this particular problem. Mine just so happens to be 250 lbs. fly line backer. Fly line backer is braided line perhaps 3/32” in diameter and is relatively slick in nature. It is super easy to install also. Just tie it to one of your previously installed cables in the cable tray then disconnect and pull out the cable. Mark the fly line 4” below the point where the line stopped feeding back into the cable tray. Then pull the additional line out through the tray until you get to the mark. Tie a small weight to the other end of the line. Reattach the cable to the fly line ABOVE the mark on the line and pull the weight to ‘fish’ your cable back into position. Installation of this line should take less time than me typing out these instructions. I use a bent paper clip to secure the one end to the flex cable tray and a simple bread tie to gather up the excess at the other end of the tray.

  • Hamayun Raja Mushtaq
    Hamayun Raja Mushtaq

    Fantastic video.. I’m a telecoms technician and enjoyed learning something new. Thank you so much for sharing.😎👍🏆 P.S you definitely earned my sub.👍

  • Fishbone4u

    Man you were talented dude! You just got yourself another subscriber. I wish I had all the tools you have available. Keep up the great videos.

  • Mark Coren
    Mark Coren

    You invented the Cricut plasma cutter! You'll make a killing licensing this to them and cosplayers will be upping their game 😁 I just found your channel and watched all your videos. Your one of the best new discoveries I've seen in quite a while. You have a great presentation style with just the right balance of explanation and demonstration. I'm looking forward to seeing what's up next!

    • OurTube

      @ZLP TM My guess is that the part is modeled in a CAD software then a software tool is used to convert it into a 2 dimensional fold-out where the bend lines are defined on the overlay.

    • ZLP TM
      ZLP TM

      @Stuff Made Here Hello there, I have a question. How does the system know what is defined as a bend? Unless I missed it, you didnt go into details about the software at all :(

    • LSswap Everything
      LSswap Everything

      @Stuff Made Here possibly a mill? you couldn't do hard metals but it'd do plastics and such easily i'd assume.

    • Scott C
      Scott C

      You forgot humor. His balance of humor is getting there. He needs a TOT time machine.

    • Julian Kandlhofer
      Julian Kandlhofer

      @Stuff Made Here Screw post spot welder maybe?

  • ben ross
    ben ross

    awesome video! I wonder if you can just keep a double+ length aircraft cable in your energy chain. That way you can attach a new cable to it and pull/lead the new cable through. keep the acc from getting pulled past reaching and you can always use it easy peasy again without rethreading it.

  • Peppe Ddu
    Peppe Ddu

    Smart! Have you also considered using a step motor to raise and lower the maker?

  • Dave B1
    Dave B1

    Put your springs inside the actuator. Great video, the bend tangent lines are an awesome feature, did you use any k values or just centered?

  • Master Basser
    Master Basser

    the amount of detail in the video, congrats man. subbed for sure. now if only i could make stuff like this outta metal, most ive done is wood and 3d prints

  • R

    5:27 You could also apply air into both ports on the air cylinder at the same time and make it stay or go in any amount. Equal pressure on both sides it will go center.

  • MJorgy5

    So complex, yet so simple. Amazing, really.

  • The Adventure Zombie
    The Adventure Zombie

    You just know how to build all the things I wish I knew how to build. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, these videos are great.

  • Eli S.
    Eli S.

    i love that he always knows when going into detail might be a lil boring for some viewers. but i wish he would go into detail and speed it up 4x so that if we wanna hear more we can slow it down to 0.25x and listen to the details

  • Quinn Bogenreif
    Quinn Bogenreif

    what program are you using for your plasma table? Is it as simple as adding another "tool head" to the program and having it activate the switch for the air line anytime that tool head is used? I would love to know how you made the dxf side of this to work. Also, I want to see the tree climbing robot as well. Love the channel. Subscribed! I plan to start making some videos in a year or so after finishing Mech. Engineering degree.

    • Ciaran Gale
      Ciaran Gale

      late reply, but im pretty sure what hes doing is just adding the offset to the precise coordinates it needs to start/cut

  • Christian Meer
    Christian Meer

    Very well done, you could use a centre punch/scribe for a fine line and punch for drill holes.

  • gen kidama
    gen kidama

    you could add/remove the pen cap using the same technics they use for tool changers. swappable tools remain somewhere within the range of the machine.

  • Brad Meek
    Brad Meek

    As a sheetmetal worker myself, that's a brilliant idea Well done

  • petebard

    Most of my building is done with hand tools so I’m a bit envious but the things I build are relatively simple. I’m most curious about the fiddle you showed. Looks like a Gayford but I couldn’t get a good look at the scroll. Looking forward to what you do with that.

  • firebird2743

    The correct valve for that would be a 5 way 3 position with a center exhaust. The center position with no voltage applied to the solenoids would let the cylinder float letting the springs do their job to center the cylinder.

    • tompw3141

      The correct valve is the one you already own :-)

  • dan725

    Just discovered this from Destin’s channel. Been binge watching. So COOL. The amount of times I went “oh wow that’s ingenious” at every single little solution in each video is too high!

  • Tom Stefanou
    Tom Stefanou

    You could leave a spare cable or a wire in the energy chains so it can serve as a guide you can use for future expansion :)

  • Brad Sawyer
    Brad Sawyer

    You are amazing at what you do, i wish I could could work for you and learn everything you know. BRILLIANT!

  • MoonCult WarWitch
    MoonCult WarWitch

    As someone who works with a cnc cutter all the time , I wonder why this isn’t an option from the manufacture. GREAT IDEA

  • Build Something Cool
    Build Something Cool

    Very interesting video. Enjoyed every minute

    • Aputik 250
      Aputik 250

      Build Something Cool: Very interesting video. Enjoyed every minute Me who have'nt watched the video yet: Is this a pun?

    • JerryJones

      You new?

    • IsaacIsOk

      Too bad TikTok came out and now most people who used TikTok for more than a month have 10 seconds of focus a day

    • Lucky Lime44
      Lucky Lime44

      I liked all the minutes except the 14th

    • iluveyuu

      @juan gonzalez "m8" you're sarcasm sounded like hate. I am sorry, tootsie pop.

  • travis miller
    travis miller

    Great mod! I've ben jamming sharpies into the plotter at work for 17 years to generate neon bending patterns. A full sharpie doesn't fit- you can put almost a 90° bend into the reservoir before it splits, but they also make the shorties.

  • Bad Boys Hub
    Bad Boys Hub

    Hey Stuff Made Here, I was wondering, if I wanted to do cool stuff like this, what should I learn? I see you do coding and you know how to make and design these parts. I like learning, and I would like to learn how I could be able to do stuff like you do. It seems like you know just what to do in a given situation, like when you got that machine down into your shop and was using a bunch of rope and stuff. I want to have some of the same knowledge you have.

  • Jimmy J
    Jimmy J

    Good Job! Kudos for the great brain work and awesome setup!

  • TheSkepticSkwerl

    Pro tip for conduit and "energy chains" run your first cable with a strong twine like rope. Then you can pull your next wire through and another strand of rope. Always have a pull rope that way. Takes just a few seconds to tape and untape as necessary.

  • James Hedin
    James Hedin

    You're missing a loop of string that's going all the way through the energy chain. Then you could tie the end of the next thing somewhere on the loop and pull it through

  • 3800scgp

    Thought about doing something similar to lay out a PCB (for a self etching kit) on a bridgeport CNC. I would've had to raise and lower the sharpie manually, the machines I was going to use are just 2 axis.

  • bionku

    Woah, I want to learn more about that 3d printer filament. It was stiff AND flexible!

  • Michael Czetyrbok
    Michael Czetyrbok

    Just found your channel today... Outstanding work! Can't wait to see what'cha got going forward!! 👍🏻🥃

  • Michael Nessim
    Michael Nessim

    You know I never watch videos without skipping or upping the speed. However, I watched every minute of your video and didn't feel the need to skip once. I also rarely subscribe, I just had to subscribe halfway through the video because I will watch pretty much anything you make from now on. Not only this is a freaking genius idea, but you're also very talented in making videos. Thank you!

  • lord Quick
    lord Quick

    Very cool, I am curious how you get that g-code though. I assume that normally a cad program would generate that for you but with this you need to inject a bunch of g-code before and after certain paths in the design, or what do you do? And also did you have to add some extra controller board to execute special g-code for the marker clicking/lowering or can you just add that to the programming of your current cnc brain?

  • Dan Severns
    Dan Severns

    About 10 years ago, when I was running a huge 5 axis milling machine, I mad a super lame, crappy spring loaded sharpie holder. It was very helpful.

  • Handre Burger
    Handre Burger

    Awesome video! Wouldn’t it be possible to use a quick drying spray-paint instead? It would solve the issue of clicking a pen and replacing it. Something like an airbrush?

  • Samuel Thollander
    Samuel Thollander

    All your videos so far have both interesting content and a funny tone to them. I like them a lot.

    • MC MLee
      MC MLee

      I echo this sentiment

    • Joshua McDonald
      Joshua McDonald

      getting some thisoldtony vibes from it

    • Stuff Made Here
      Stuff Made Here

      Glad to hear it! That's my goal :)

  • Brian Dickey
    Brian Dickey

    You should leave an unused wire or tube in the energy chain with a couple of loops in it. Tie the new wire to one loop, and pull it through. To make is more than one use, tie another wire (besides the one your going to leave) to make a circle so you easily fish it through.

  • Michael Gian
    Michael Gian

    The Hypertherm machines we use have a "scribe" mode which, operating at a lower amperage, only mark the metal surface. Same torch, no offset required.

  • DreamzforSale

    Awesome build!! One question, what is that tool you used at 8:00 to hold the nut in place? The one which looked like a spinning top? Also it would be great to mak it open source, both CAD and SW if you are not planning to commercialize. Ciao