February 2017 59
away easier. That’s another thing I like about Simplify3D. I
can adjust those fine details to get the exact result I want.
I also put support in the hole for the audio jack, but then
realized it wasn’t necessary and just created a messy hole.
Figure 8 was the test to see if all the dimensions were
correct. I obviously needed to make a few adjustments to
get a perfect fit, and during the support removal I found
the separation posts were too thin
and broke away with the support
material. So, all that was corrected
for the final design.
The final design was printed on
my Flashforge Dreamer 3D printer.
It’s my best printer when using
ABS plastic. ABS tends to warp and
split if it’s cooled too quickly. The
Flashforge has an enclosed chamber
that traps the heat, and this helps
prevent any splitting or warping of
the print. The design was printed
in two runs; first I did the base
and then the cover. The cover was
printed upside down, so the slot that
fits perfectly over the top of the box
didn’t need supports.
I am not a design expert by any means but when I
have an idea in my head, I can do a little work in Tinkercad
and get some help from my 3D printer. I can make custom
electronic cases that are far more attractive than notching
out an off-the-shelf box (that I did for years). This design
required a slightly larger 3D printer, and the Flashforge
Dreamer handled this size just fine.
There are so many electronic kits that are already
designed and ready to assemble, but don’t come with a
nice case. Having a 3D printer and a little time can change
all that. I now look at those kits in a new light because
they can be a lot more useful and attractive with a custom
designed enclosure. NV
n FIGURE 9. Final design.
n FIGURE 8. Testing of board fit and finish.
n FIGURE 7. Zig zag support.
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n FIGURE 6. Supports in place.
PRACTICAL 3D PRINTING