April 2016 59
PRACTICAL 3D PRINTING n BY CHUCK HELLEBUYCK
here are two designs I really like that offer the
Customizer. The first is a wire rack. I’m sure you’ve
seen these many times and may have some in your
electronics lab. They are L-shaped brackets with slots to
hold multiple test leads, and are typically made in stamped
metal and come in fixed sizes. If you needed a custom size,
you’d have to shop around or modify the bracket with a
hacksaw and then some work cleaning up the edge.
On Thingiverse, I found this design from user,
“thehans.” At first, it looks like any standard cable holder
with slots for wires, a back bracket
with screw holes for mounting,
and typical size slots for wires. But
then, you notice they designed it
for use with Customizer.
Customizer can be launched,
and then a whole host of changes
to the design are available to you.
You can change the number of
slots, the thickness of the arms,
the size of the back bracket wall,
the number and shape of the
screw holes, and a lot more. You
can do it all while a picture on the
right automatically shows you the
It will literally adjust the new design before your eyes
so you know what it will look like before you press the
“Create Thing” button and have it produce an .STL file.
With that file, you can load it into your 3D printer software,
slice it, and then print.
On a design like this, you can make different versions
to fit at various places on your bench. You can make one
for holding smaller wire jumpers. You can make one just
for oscilloscope probes. You could probably even make the
slots a perfect size to hold a set of small screwdrivers. The
ability to change its shape gives you total control of the
I like to create my own 3D print designs, and Tinkercad is one of my favorite
programs to use. However, sometimes the near perfect design is available on
Thingiverse.com. I’ve often downloaded a design and then modified it in Tinkercad.
Some designs on Thingiverse offer a unique option to let the Customizer software
by MakerBot do the modifications for you. It makes customizing a 3D design so
much easier when it’s available. Not all designs offer it, and it takes a lot of work
by the creator. When done right, however, it can be an incredibly useful tool.
Using 3D printers for practical
projects on your workbench.
for 3D Print Creations
n FIGURE 1. Customizable cable organizer.