Friday, 8 March 2013

Pragmatic Printing

So far the projects I've described have been fairly whimsical. This isn't a coincidence - as a person I'm pretty much entirely driven by whimsy. Today though, I'll talk about a couple of things I designed and subsequently printed that may actually have added value to my life. Not a lot, mind you. A little.

I'm not especially musical, but surprisingly I have three different musical instruments in my room. I used to play the piano (I got lessons until I could play my favourite piece from the film "The Piano", and then immediately stopped), so I have a keyboard. I occasionally tinker on a very old, warped guitar, passed down by my mother. My favourite, however, is my ukulele, which my friends gave me on my 20th birthday. The first mini project was a wall mount for this. Pretty nifty.

The second project related to my recently bought Nexus 7. I wanted a stand so it could be proudly displayed on my bedside table. I found a lot of nice looking stands on Thingiverse, however I needed something more - a wire slot so it could charge, whilst in the stand. Ground-breaking stuff. On to design. I've tried a few different CAD design programs; OpenSCAD is good if you're into coding or want the potential for very quick customisation, but for one-offs, I use SketchUp. After measuring the dimensions of the tablet and the charger, it wasn't long before I had a nice looking model.

I printed the stand in black PLA, popped in the charger cable, and we were away. Looking smooth, Nexus.

I also uploaded the file to Thingiverse here - I was really quite proud of it. A few days later, a very cool thing happened. Someone, stumbling upon my design on the web, printed one of their own. In Texas. The thought of something I designed from start to finish, sitting on a table so far away, always makes me smile.