The Most Advanced Scotch Tape Dispenser. In The World.

It’s absolute overkill. Over a pound of 6061 aluminum, every part CNC machined and yes, it’s just a scotch tape dispenser. This is the creation of the Advanced CNC class at Laney College as taught by Bob Rice. I programmed and machined all the parts from drawings using MasterCAM, a Chevalier toolroom mill and a Haas SL lathe. All the threads were single-point cut and threaded holes rigid tapped. Every part required at least two operations, every face is machined.

1/2-13 threads

1/4-20 threads

The cutter serration was created using a wedge tool I ground from a broken center-drill, plunged into the part with the spindle off and indexed to simply form the teeth. The tool was plunged .030 deep every .025. I wrote the gcode for that bit manually.

Posted on June 3, 2010 at 11:09 am by Henry · Permalink
In: Machining, Photo Journo

41 Responses

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  1. Written by Carter
    on June 4, 2010 at 5:27 am
    Reply · Permalink

    I think this is really cool and would be interested in buying it from you. You interested in selling?

  2. Written by Beth
    on June 4, 2010 at 9:42 am
    Reply · Permalink

    You need an overkill stapler to go with that! 😉

  3. Written by bulaboy
    on June 4, 2010 at 11:05 am
    Reply · Permalink

    Besides the stapler, maybe an office — and a modest Vice President, taking care of business.

  4. Written by John
    on June 8, 2010 at 6:55 am
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    I want it so badly. Put it up on etsy or ebay!

  5. Written by dculberson
    on June 8, 2010 at 7:07 am
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    That is an incredible piece of work; I love it through and through. And all you would need to modify to make a dispenser for the short 2″ or 3″ rolls of tape would be the cutter and the standoffs. Those are actually costly enough to make it more reasonable to machine your own! (ie, ugly plastic one on Amazon is $26.)

    Now I feel the driving need for some CNC machinery.

    • Written by Henry
      on June 8, 2010 at 10:07 am
      Reply · Permalink

      Of course! Anything that’s worth doing is worth doing out of MACHINED BILLET ALUMINUM! Any excuse to pick up new tools is absolutely welcome. Although “$50000 CNC Mill for $30 tape dispenser” may be a bit of a stretch 🙂

  6. Written by Kurt
    on June 8, 2010 at 7:11 am
    Reply · Permalink

    I cannot even imagine the calculated hourly cost of that piece of art… in order to just cover costs of time/effort you mentioned… without taking into account overhead of a shop/tools, depreciation on the machinery, etc… you’d have to charge $500 for something like that (and who knows once you add in any of the other “costs” – maybe you could call the aluminum billit by it’s part no., like RU246, then you could list it as an exotic material and charge $5000)…. anyway… nice, very nice… and if you did make a stapler, I bet you could seriously sell a half dozen sets for $3-5K to a few office-a-holics and art afficianados (not that you’re in it for money… sorry to besmirch your ideals).

    • Written by Henry
      on June 8, 2010 at 10:04 am
      Reply · Permalink

      Heh, RU246 sounds a bit like some sort of russian nuclear fuel 😛

  7. Written by Chris B. Behrens
    on June 8, 2010 at 8:23 am
    Reply · Permalink

    Absolutely stunning. Price?

    Agreed on the stapler.

  8. Written by Colombo
    on June 8, 2010 at 9:14 am
    Reply · Permalink

    Love it! One less thing to worry about it when you’ve built something that will last 100 years. You can’t imagine at my last job how many tape dispensers we went through….

  9. Written by Calvin
    on June 8, 2010 at 9:43 am
    Reply · Permalink

    i wanna got one too! awesome!

  10. Written by Mike Hawk
    on June 8, 2010 at 10:05 am
    Reply · Permalink

    Simple. Elegant. Bad-ass.

  11. Written by shawn
    on June 9, 2010 at 11:18 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    is there any way you would post the masterCAM file so i could run it in my Machine shop class in college?

    • Written by Henry
      on June 10, 2010 at 7:57 am
      Reply · Permalink

      There’s a Mcam file for every operation- so 13 files, and the project requires at least a dozen tools and a bunch of fixturing setups, soft-jaws, etc. If you are indeed looking for a project of this scale- in my class everyone was able to share the set-ups and tooling- I can send you some drawings. I don’t feel comfortable sending the Mcam files as I’m not 100% sure they all reflect changes that may have been made in the machine controller while the part was being made and I don’t want to be peripherally responsible for breaking stuff. If you’re taking a machine shop class you should get the programming experience! There’s no other way to get it!

      • Written by shawn
        on June 14, 2010 at 5:34 pm
        Reply · Permalink

        drawings?? COOOLLL!! i could always program the toolpaths myself and all that but yeah this would look smashing on my desk

      • Written by Jason Arthur
        on September 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm
        Reply · Permalink

        Can you please send me the drawings! Thank you

      • Written by Chris
        on October 4, 2012 at 11:47 am
        Reply · Permalink

        can you share the drawings with me as well. I would love to make one for myself!

  12. […] I need one for just yet (aside from milling a Hellraiser-style cube). Then I saw this: a CNC milled all-aluminum tape dispenser. A 1lb thing of beauty. Beautifully crafted, ready to deliver whatever length of tape you need, […]

    • Written by shawn
      on June 14, 2010 at 5:36 pm
      Reply · Permalink

      im currently working on a hellraiser cube for class over the summer so i can have a modern take on the Lament Configuration in nice and shiny aluminum!

  13. Written by felix christian
    on June 11, 2010 at 3:01 am
    Reply · Permalink

    Oh my god how cool is that: you have CNC CLASSES AT COLLEGE??!!! ps. the tape dispenser is awsome.

  14. Written by Scott
    on June 11, 2010 at 2:39 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    You need a toilet paper dispenser. That is some nice work

  15. Written by Building an Electric Kart - Hack a Day
    on July 8, 2010 at 10:14 am
    Reply · Permalink

    […] took some shots of the kart chassis before adding the motor, and just for fun, take a look at his scotch tape dispenser. When you’re done clicking on those join us after the break for some test drive […]

  16. Written by Ajaxx
    on July 8, 2010 at 12:59 pm
    Reply · Permalink


  17. Written by deb vavrek
    on August 13, 2010 at 4:48 am
    Reply · Permalink

    finally a dispenser that lasts……i have a few made of plastic , some not cheap , but neither will they last long enough to justify their cost

  18. Written by deb vavrek
    on August 13, 2010 at 4:52 am
    Reply · Permalink

    you polished so well the aluminium that it looks more like steel, stainless steel to be precise

  19. Written by Daniel
    on April 13, 2011 at 9:44 am
    Reply · Permalink

    thanks, now im taking this idea and making it for a school project… good idea

  20. Written by Redtailangel
    on September 16, 2011 at 6:55 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    could you please send me a set of plans for the tape dispencer , I am in a CNC program class Level II , I will write the G code Manually Myself . Thank you!!!!!

  21. Written by P. Zhan
    on February 28, 2012 at 6:59 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    Yes, it is overkill, but I love it. 😛

  22. Written by Eileen Lundquist
    on May 9, 2012 at 9:15 am
    Reply · Permalink

    Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful. I am an artist too and make various things so I understand the time investment thing. If you ever decide to sell these please email me. I am interested in buying..

  23. Written by | Extreme Tape Dispenser Using CNC Machining
    on September 10, 2012 at 6:25 am
    Reply · Permalink

    […] and making a few improvements you can turn a CNC machining project into a functional piece of art.This tape dispenser is an excellent example of such a project. It looks robust, yet it has fine features that are […]

  24. Written by Jason Arthur
    on September 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    This is amazing! I am looking for a project to do in my advanced CNC class. Can you send me drawings to this. I would love to make it. I do not need MasterCAM files. I have to programm myself.

  25. Written by Jason Arthur
    on September 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    Is there anyone responding to this post anymore! I am a CNC Student and I am looking for prints for this tape dispenser. If theres anyone out there PLEASE let me know!


  26. Written by Jon Feiber
    on October 10, 2012 at 8:02 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    Very nice! Any chance you could send along the plans as this would be a great project for my son and I. Thanks.

  27. Written by Henry
    on October 22, 2012 at 10:47 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    Thanks for the interest, to everyone who has commented- I do not actually have a set of drawings for this project. It’s pretty simple, though- with these photos and a few minutes with your calipers and a roll of tape you can design your own! There’s nothing particularly set-in-stone or critical about this design! Be creative!

    A good friend of mine has designed his own version of this project for the CNC machining classes he teaches, it’s a bit different and really sweet- I hope to post some photos of it soon, it’s very inspiring.

  28. Written by Chuck
    on February 2, 2013 at 11:37 am
    Reply · Permalink

    Congratulations, young man! As a rapidly aging machinist with over 35 yrs experience, I’m very impressed with what you have posted here. For shitz and giggles, I enrolled in our local community college machinist apprentice course. I’m using a modified design of your tape dispenser as the final project for 4th year credit. Thank you very much for the idea, as my partner/classmate, who is 25 yrs younger, were stumped on what to make for the final semester, until we stumbled across this site! I’m using AutoCad for the design and it will be CNC milled in entirety, as our local college doesn’t have a working lathe. I’m going to make sure the young man gets an A grade. I’m going to have him do the programming, as he needs the practice more than I do 😉

    • Written by Henry
      on February 4, 2013 at 10:32 pm
      Reply · Permalink

      Thank you Chuck! The tape dispenser has proven to be a very good idea, I have some other machinist friends who have run with the idea as well, making some really neat stuff. I should really take some photos and make a new post. Glad to hear you’re using the idea. All the credit goes to my teacher Bob Rice! If you are willing to send a photo of your project I’d love to see it, and I’d like to share it with Bob as well!

  29. Written by Chuck
    on February 7, 2013 at 7:45 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    Update: Our teacher was very impressed with my design. His first response was that I had a very busy drawing. I had dimensioned all the intersection points to such an extent he had to ask, what is it? When I mentioned it was a scotch tape dispenser, he beamed an immense grin and gave me the high five! I’ll post photos when they become available.

  30. Written by Beautiful overengineered tape dispenser | Global Grind
    on July 31, 2013 at 5:54 am
    Reply · Permalink

    […] and possibly those of my descendants for the foreseeable future of the species. And something like this solid 6061 aluminum Scotch tape dispenser from Henry Herndon is the result. The sea may be vast, our boats may be small and constantly buffeted by the gales of […]

  31. Written by Michael
    on August 9, 2013 at 4:23 am
    Reply · Permalink

    I was so inspired of your tape dispenser so i made one of my own.
    If you want to see my dispenser please look at this open FaceBook site.(you don´t have to be inlogged)
    Scroll down near bottom of the site and you can see my tape dispenser and other things we have manifacturing.
    Best Regards
    Michael Karsinger from Sweden

  32. Written by Austin
    on September 9, 2015 at 8:08 am
    Reply · Permalink

    does anyone use this site anymore?

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