I recently picked up an Ubertooth One, which is an open source 2.4 GHz wireless development platform typically used for Bluetooth experimentation - http://ubertooth.sourceforge.net/ for more details. I knew upon ordering an assembled version that they come as-is which means no case. It is just an open circuit board with an antenna and USB plug.
This eventually starts to irk me so I decided to hunt for something I could print at NESIT on our Makerbot. So I scoured Thingiverse looking for various models I could use and really didn’t find any that would do the trick. As this was my first time working with a 3D Printer I wasn’t sure if I could actually design something myself. So what better way to learn 3D printing than to build something from scratch!
I chose to use 123D Design from AutoDesk (http://www.123dapp.com/design) as it was free and pretty easy to learn. There are some weird quirks and lack of features but it gets the job done. There are other apps out there but this was the quickest to jump into and learn. Other items you will need to complete a project like this are digital calipers, scratch paper, a pencil (you remember those?), patience, and a basic knowledge of geometry. Remember when you were in high school and you said “When the hell am I ever going to use this in real life???” I dusted off all that knowledge of calculating area, finding centers, and all that sort of thing.
The full instructions can be found here. Essentially with 123D Design you will want to always start out with sketches. It is much easier to work with their dimensions than it is with the 3D objects. Also if you royally screw something up, you can easily recreate it from the sketch. When measuring out the object you wish to make the case around be sure to allow for some space between the walls and the object. If you measure everything flush it will not fit. You will also want to use millimeters (mm) to take your measurements and enter them into 123D design. It allows for more accurate dimensions and most calipers are set up for mm by default. Once you have all the dimensions start building your sketches. You will use the Extrude command to make your 3D parts. A positive extrusion will create a solid object while a negative extrusion will remove parts of a solid object.
Here are a couple tips and tricks with 123D and working with a print:
- Make sure your parts are even on the main build plane. They may look it when you move them to Makerware but if they are slightly off the 2nd raft won’t start printing at the same time as the first. you will have to cancel the job as the print will not line up. I couldn’t fine a way to get the objects to snap to the grid in 123D, maybe another app has that function.
- Use rafts when setting up the object in Makerware. The first layer of a print likes to curl up a little. The rafts will ensure this does not happen on the actual objects.
- Feel free to flip parts around in 123D and see if your pieces will fit. For capping pieces you want to make sure the male side slightly smaller than the female side.
Check out this gallery below on the current version. It is version 5.2, remember I mentioned patience? There is no guestimation here!
This will not be the final version. Some things are need to improve are as follows:
- Rework the cap so it snaps in place, right now a fully assembled case holds itself together when the antenna is attached. Luckily the measurements were spot on for the usb plug hole so that fits nicely.
- Round out the edges more to give it a sleeker look.
- Print it out in either the clear filament (I ran out) or make a more advanced solid color case with clear tubing over the LEDs on the board. It is kind of important to see these. That way you don’t need to remove it from the case ever.