August 2015 77
REAL WORLD USES FOR THE ELECTRONICS EXPERIMENTER
the metal rod; and then let the print finish
— that covers up and traps the metal rod
inside. I found I didn’t need this though, as
it was strong enough for me.
The final design in Figure 3 shows the Thingiverse 3D
presentation of the object based on the file, and Figures
4 and 5 show the finished print. You can see they look
very similar. I used a 0.2 layer height and a 50% fill to give
it strength. It took 3-1/2 hours to print and 8-1/2 meters
of filament. At the current price of $28 for a cartridge of
XYZprinting filament, the bracket cost about $1 in plastic.
Figure 6 shows the solder holder mounted to my
bench. It works great! My son liked it so much he had me
print several for his job where they build up electronic
boards. He also used the same design to hold wire spools
(Figure 7), then added a tube above the reel with a small
slot so he could guide the wire and solder down to the
user’s hands. I probably could have 3D printed that guide
tube as well, but sometimes just a standard off-the-shelf
plastic tube will work fine.
They’ve been in use for many months now with very
little issue. A new roll of solder will cause the bar to sag a
little, but it springs back as the weight reduces.
The ideas for what else could be mounted to the
pegboard with a custom bracket are endless. I’ve seen
screwdriver racks, digital caliper mounts,
jumper wire racks, and many more useful
mounting ideas. The fact that you can
customize it to fit your specific tool is
what makes 3D printing your own tool holders so great.
You can create the design any way you want instead of
trying to find something that might work.
You could just design something out of wood, but that
requires you to make all the cuts, put it together, and then
if you want another, repeat the whole process. The 3D
printer does all the work once the design is set, and that is
a total time saver. I set up many prints before I go to bed,
so in the morning, the design is ready to use.
Making my lab more organized is always a challenge,
as I tend to let stuff pile up on top of my bench. So, making
a custom-mounting bracket like this is not only easy and
cheap, but extremely useful.
There are many more 3D printed pegboard designs at
Thingiverse.com that can be modified as necessary since
you can import an .STL file into Tinkercad and then add or
remove material to make it look how you want — even if
you don’t have the original design.
Let me know what you’ve printed or seen printed for
an electronic hobbyist’s workbench. Sharing ideas is what
makes 3D printing so popular. NV
Post comments on this article and find any associated files and/or downloads at
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My 3D designs:
Da Vinci 3D:
n FIGURE 4. Mounted Position
n FIGURE 3. Print Position
n FIGURE 7. Wire
and solder mounts.
n FIGURE 5. Back View