Jun.25, 2012

There's nothing more satisfying and fun than building something yourself, especially making gadgets. With Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer you can create a bunch of small electronic devices such as data logging, a GPS-enabled TV remote etc using the .NET Micro Framework and Visual Studio/Visual C# Express, then Gadgeteer gives you the modules to plug together to make the hardware.

Hacker Rob Miles ordered an Ultimaker 3D printer a few weeks ago for making cases for his gadgets. "The Gadgeteer platform provides a lovely way of making devices, but they will still need a box. As long as the box is smaller than 8 inches in any direction (the build volume of the Ultimaker) I can design and print it. "

Using FreeCAD he created a board with mounting blocks for a Sytech processor, power connector and button. Because Gadgeteer devices are all based on a grid mounting, it makes it easy for him to create some pins to be applied anywhere. Using the 3D printer he made his first prototype (photo below).

The problem is, the pillars extruded using PLA was not strong enough and they snapped off. "But for me the really amazing thing was that the Gadgeteer board just fitted onto these pillars. All the dimensions I had carefully put into FreeCAD were being reflected exactly in the finished article. Kudos to the Ultimaker crew, they have made a printer that prints things exactly the right size. "

The second prototype he made has bolt holes through the plastic pillars for screwing the boards down onto. As you can see from the photo below this one is well printed and the Gadgeteer boards fit onto perfectly.

(Images credit: Rob Miles)

"I've even managed to break one of the golden rules in 3D printing, and print overhangs that let me countersink the bolt heads in the surface underneath." "I'm very pleased with the results from just a day of playing with the software and the printer."

Rob Miles will upload his design online for download. But you can read his blog here to know more of his story and see how he spent a quality time with a 3D printer.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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