Are you using 3D printed items in your workshop?
Some people are printing faceplates, but let’s also talk about everything that’s not faceplates: electronics tools, storage, rails, structural elements, knobs, etc.
What has worked out for you? What didn’t? Have you created any originals? Any good STLs you can’t live without?
The search feature of 3D print sites like Printables / Thingiverse / Thangs etc. is worse than worthless to discover the good stuff buried somewhere, especially the sort of clever items you didn’t realize you couldn’t live without. So let’s make a little repository of good files and advice. It will be particularly useful to those of us who don’t own a printer but can access one, so they can focus on getting the most useful stuff made.
I’ll start, here’s some junk I extruded, I have a few more I forgot to post later. I’ll start with other people’s creations, then post a few I made for myself. For most of my originals, STLs are upon request only, I don’t want to pollute the ecosystem further with poorly designed and undocumented uploads, but if you want one of them I’ll take the time to clean it up for proper release.
I will only post items I actually printed with original photos, so you’re not deceived by a render or a sample print from a super high end printer. I print everything on a low-budget Ender 3 V2 with a few upgrades such as a depth probe.
Cool STLs from the web
Print in place PCB Holder
Let’s start with a very cool one to give you a feel for what 3D printing can do for you. It grips things strongly and is 100% printed without supports—a compliant spring is built into the model.
Lead Bender — Breadboard Jumper Tool
A classic! Print it at home instead of buying the injection molded version that will perform no better. Note that my printer was poorly tuned for this print so the lettering turned out nastier than it should.
I am not actually 100% sure the model I’m linking is the one I used, as there are many versions… Look around for your options.
Breadboard Spring Vise
It uses rubber bands to close the drawers automatically! Very clever little item. Exists also in half-size version.
Case for LCR-T4 Component tester
This tester is sold under many names and in many forms. Mine came with a low-quality acrylic case that broke almost immediately. There are many small variations on it, and many people made printable boxes to fit, so look around for other options. Linking to the one I used only (I made small alterations to the model offered on the page).
Cleverly made, but I didn’t much use out of it yet, so I can’t tell if it’s frustrating to use if you need to join a lot of wires. Very unforgiving of poorly tuned printers.
Mini Container with PET Bottle Cap
A nice way to store a handful of components for a project for future use! They are very tiny, so it’s not for the bigger parts. I use those a lot, but I still collect new LIDL Store Brand Cola Light bottle caps much faster than I can fill up new boxes with junk.
Dremel Tool Bit Organizer
Leaving behind electronics, there are a TON of useful DIY items you can make. I will only post one random example, or they’d take over the thread and make it less focused.
Customizable filament swatches
Never buy a new brand of filament without printing one of those! Don’t be afraid of OpenSCAD, using it to customize a model is easy.
Another item I always print when I get a new color of filament is a pair of my trademark Cool S earrings (zoom in my profile picture).
My original models
Most of those were learning projects, and are flawed in some way. For most of those, STLs are upon request only, I want to clean them up and document them before I pollute the internet with them. I post them more to encourage you to consider 3D printed solutions to your SDIY problems.
9V Battery holder
A cute little hat for those bad boys. “Secured” with adhesive putty.
Dual rail 9V battery power supply raft
To get -9V and +9V. A bit of of stripboard in the center. I added little notches to support rechargeable batteries with a built-in USB charger, but it turns out those kinda batteries refuse to work in a dual supply configuration.
STL upon request.
Jack breakout support
It’s too lightweight, so half the time, it’s actually hovering above the circuit more than it is a support.
STL upon request.
Jacks for breadboard
This support has the same “hovering above the circuit” feature as the last item, lol.
STL upon request.
Rafts for DIY stripboard modules
Just a bit of plastic and glue to insulate them.
STL upon req… hahahaha lol no do you seriously think I kept the STLs around after printing those?
Jumper wire organizer
Made to learn SolidPython. I am decently satisfied with it, but I want to revise a bunch of things and make a V2 before I release it.
What’s the stray LED doing there? I suck at glamour shots.
V1 STL upon request, V2 will be published one day.
Another SolidPython learning project, that gave me a lot of trouble. It’s a TON of effort to print, it doesn’t snap together well, it requires a fair amount of manual processing, and it requires welding parts together using a 3D pen, which is the 3D printing equivalent of Hot Glue DIY projects. The labels are painted using POSCA markers.
STL: please don’t.