Monday, 10 March 2014

3D printed cable tidy

Update 28/12/2017
I've revised the design of the cable tidy, and it's now up on Thingiverse.
The post covering the new design and why I created it can be found here.

For the purposes of testing the 3D printer, I'd just grabbed some files from Thingiverse.

This, however, is my first attempt at 3D printing something of my own design.

The next big choice is to select design software. As I come from more of a programmer background than design, I settled on OpenSCAD.This allows you to design objects with script, rather than manipulate the objects directly.

Once designed, the file is rendered, and can then be exported to STL format, which can in turn be used by Slic3r (can be done from within RepetierHost) to convert the STL to Gcode, which is then passed to the printer.

The inner piece - the cable will pass through the middle channel,
The outer piece - a bolt will run through the central hole to mount the inner piece.

The idea is the cable runs through the gap on the edge of the outer piece, through the middle channel of the inner piece, and out the other side of the out piece. So when the inner piece is rotated, the cable is wound around it.

Once printed, I attached a piece of clear plastic to the top to complete the enclosure (I could've 3D printed that, but as it's a flat plastic disc, it seemed wasteful to do so).

Mounting that was more of a pain that I'd thought. Hot glue alone had too much flexibility, so I added in a few miscellaneous screws to provide additional support (This was also worsened by trying to tidy a fairly thick USB charger cable - this tidy is best left to thin cables, such as headphones)

Some Sugru around the edges of the plastic finished the job:
The finished job - twist the blue edges to retract the cable

A few more lessons learned:
  • Remember RepetierHost has a pause button - handy if you need to switch rolls of filament mid-print.
  • Avoid needing to change rolls mid print in the first-place!
  • Make sure the bed is heated before starting to print, it's more important than you think.
  • Give thought to the integration of non 3D printed parts, make sure mounting holes are there if necessary.

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