Have you ever been the victim of such puns as, ‘’This electronic stud finder must be working, it started going off as soon as I touched it!’’ told repeatedly by such ‘’studs’’ as our fathers. Well, the next time they decide to pull out a variation of that golden line when asked to hang up a velvet Elvis, hand them this Paper Stud Finder. But how does it work? Well the stud finder nomenclature is a bit deceiving as it uses a strong neodymium magnet to find drywall screws, which are consequently screwed into studs (in countries that nail up their drywall, this tool will still work ! ).
Step 1: Tools and Materials
- Die-cutter or Hobby knife
- Glue (I used cyanoacrylate )
- Side cutters
- Bamboo skewer (to aid throughout the gluing process, non-essential )
- Cardstock (colour of choice )
- Small neodymium magnet
- Protective cutting surface
Step 2: Die-cutters and Software Sputters
Alright, so…we have a Cricut branded die-cutting machine and hardware-wise it has been a phenomenal machine; however, the proprietary browser-based software they force you to use is horrendous. I used this project to force myself to use it and caught myself working in Illustrator 20 minutes in. It was an arduous process not due to design hiccups or anything of substance but due instead to the clunky ‘’quirks’’ of the Cricut Design Space software.
If anyone at Cricut is reading this, please pass along that you’re stunting the creative potential of your product with your poorly designed software. Makers gonna make, so make your software maker-worthy before we move on to a more efficient tool.
Right, rant aside, the design process, set up, and cutting took about an hour. Onto gluing up the pieces!
Step 3: Base Assembly and Notes on Design
The design includes triangle-shaped cut outs to make it easier to mark the centers of the stud. I also rounded the corners and made sure it was small enough to be handheld, in fact, I could’ve and should’ve made it even smaller. I used calipers to measure the thickness of a single sheet of cardstock and used that measurement to calculate how many sheets would be needed to achieve the desired thickness of each piece. To accommodate the paperclip pivot point, openings in the pieces were made by separating pieces in half, creating an opening for the paperclip.
First, separate the different pieces and start assembling the base pieces with cyanoacrylate glue, making sure to align the pieces whilst applying firm pressure as the glue sets up. The base has a thickness of 17 sheets of cardstock (roughly a ¼’’ ).
Step 4: Pivot Assembly
Next, assemble the marathon track shaped pivot assembly pieces in the same fashion as the base. After 20 or so pieces add the separated pieces that will accommodate the paperclip and start a separate assembly of another 5 pieces. Both halves will be joined only after the paperclip and indicator have been installed.
Step 5: Indicator
Now the trickier, most time-consuming bit, assembling the hundred odd paper dots that make up the indicator. Apply a small dot of glue and use a sharp object to pick up and place each piece on its subsequently glued-up counterpart. After reaching a height of ½’’, cut three pieces into thirds and glue the two outer pieces of the circles in place, leaving a space in the center to accommodate the paperclip. Then, continue stacking the rest of the pieces until an inch and a half stack is achieved.
Step 6: Assembly
Start by gluing the bottom half of the pivot assembly to the base. Then, cut a piece of paperclip to span the width of the assembly and thread it into the indicator. Next, place the indicator in place and glue the paperclip’s ends to the bottom half of the pivot assembly. Glue the top half of the pivot assembly to the bottom half.
Step 7: Magnet Magic
Glue the neodymium magnet to the bottom of the indicator, observing polarity. One trick I’ve found is to use the blade of the hobby knife to set the magnet in place, that way proper polarity is observed, and my fingers stay glue-free.
Step 8: Limiters
Instead of making separate pieces for the limiters I decided to recycle the o-track shaped pieces of the pivot assembly to achieve the same result. Glue one of the o-track pieces perpendicularly to the pivot assembly making sure that the indicator is trapped within the piece. Cut another o-track piece to fill in the ends of the pivot assembly left by the limiter piece. Then glue a full o-track piece on top of those sets of pieces to give it a clean look. Lastly, trim off the excess limiter pieces with a hobby knife.
Step 9: Use and Closing Remarks
I needed to put up a live edge walnut light I made and opted to put this new stud finder to the test! And it performed…flawlessly ! I was able to immediately find the location of two studs in seconds and marked their locations with a pencil, using those triangular notches. Inserted a couple of screws after marking a level line and installed the light! The entire project, from design to final assembly, took only a few hours! I hope that this inspired you to want to make your own paper tool!
Do you want to know the best part about this project? I was finally able to use a stud finder without getting any false readings! ;)
Dolon12 made it!