Apr 8, 2018 | By David

Here’s a round-up of three more exciting DIY 3D printing projects that have been posted online recently. The hobbyist community has been busy as ever, with a 3D printed car key, a weather station, and a workbench light arch.

1. 3D printed car key fob

A Hackaday user called Jeremy has used 3D printing technology to solve an everyday annoyance that many car users will be familiar with. Proximity key fobs such as the one for his BMW are convenient in many ways, but they tend to be unnecessarily bulky and take up a lot of pocket room, causing all kinds of discomfort. A smaller key fob design was what Jeremy set out to realize, and his results were impressive.

The first stage was to carefully take the fob apart, and Jeremy decided that he could get rid of the buttons which allowed the car’s lock to be activated at a distance, as it was a proximity fob anyway. This drastically reduced the thickness of the fob. Next, he experimented with various 3D printed prototypes, trying out different designs for the shape of the structure that would house the internal PCB.

The final key was 3D printed to be thin and compact, but strong enough to not break, and the original battery case was re-used. He managed to cut the thickness down from 18mm to 11mm, and the key fob is now barely noticeable in his pocket.


2. Workbench light arch

A Thingiverse user known as Spencer Owen posted his design for a workbench light arch on Thingiverse. It’s an arch shaped structure, with LED lights fitted into it in order to illuminate a workspace, in this case a DIY workbench.These lighting solutions are becoming very popular in the miniature and model making communities, as they put a lot of light where it is needed without the shadows that can be thrown by purely overhead lighting. Those same characteristics make it excellent for electronics work as well.

Owen’s light arch was put together from a number of flexible tiles, with store-bought LED strips fitted on  to the inside face of them, and a power supply hooked up to make them light up. Fixing this all in place on his bench was where 3D printing came in handy.

Two bench brackets were created using 3D printing technology, with a specific structure that enabled them to hold up the arch. The holes were specially designed to match up with the size of the tile edging, so the tension of the plastic is enough to hold the arch up without the need for glue or fasteners.


3. 3D printed Weather Station

Sometimes you need to know which the way the wind is going to blow, and one Thingiverse user called Rob Ward decided to put together his own weather station, taking advantage of 3D printing technology to customize it according to his own needs.

What’s most impressive about this is that almost every part is custom-made. Every component was designed in OpenSCAD, before being 3D printed and put together. A series of reed switches and magnets were used to create the various mechanisms which allow recordings to be made of climate conditions. The weather station comprises a wind vane, anemometer, rain gauge, and a few other important pieces of kit. The only part of this that wasn’t completely built from scratch is a barometric pressure gauge, as this type of sensing is a little outside the reach of even a resourceful hobbyist and amateur electrical engineer like Ward.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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