58 August 2016
PRACTICAL 3D PRINTING n BY CHUCK HELLEBUYCK
I’ve shown in previous articles that 3D printed
circuit board holders can be designed and printed or
downloaded from Thingiverse.com. So, I decided to look
for any options to hold wires in place. I found a design
from Thingiverse user, Landin81. He calls it the Solder
Cableholder. The design is rather simple but very useable.
He designed it with three separate sized angled slots. This
allows it to automatically fit and hold wires of various sizes.
A little bending and the ends of the wires are touching and
ready for solder.
The design is small enough to print on just about any
3D printer. I printed one on my small Fabrikator Mini that
I’ve shown in previous articles. I printed it in green PLA
plastic which is actually a low melting point plastic, but
certainly well equipped for this design. The wires shouldn’t
get hot enough to melt the plastic.
I’ve printed ABS plastic on my Fabrikator Mini, which
is the same plastic used in LEGO Blocks. It has a higher
melting point than PLA, so that is also an option if you
are worried about temperature. So far, however, PLA has
worked fine for me. I find so many small useful designs
like this that I can print on this little desktop printer. My
only complaint about the Mini is they sell out fast at
Hobbyking.com and they take forever to get more in stock.
I added an LCD and SD card module to mine so I can print
disconnected from the computer.
For years, I’ve used a third hand (also called a helping hand or extra
hand) for holding circuit boards and soldering wires. The adjustments
on the third hand make it difficult to get wires to line up just right.
The wires sag or bend away from where you want them to be. The
alligator clips on the wires can also cause damage to the insulation.
Using 3D printers for practical
projects on your workbench.
with a 3D Print
n FIGURE 1. Third hand.