Useful 3D prints for SDIY and electronics

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.

Printables page

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.

Thingiverse page

Breadboard Spring Vise

It uses rubber bands to close the drawers automatically! Very clever little item. Exists also in half-size version.

Printables page

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).

Printables page

Soldering Assistant

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.

Thingiverse page

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.

Thingiverse page

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.

Printables page

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).

Printables page

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.

Github page

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.

Resistor drawers

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.

Spaghetti Lunchbox

:dog:

17 Likes

Nice idea for a topic! Here’s some things I’ve made (all these are either by me or modified by me).


A cap that was missing from a knob on my battered old Alesis mixer.


Clips to hold my pocket oscilloscope (a Thingiverse model, modified to clip onto the edge of my tool trolley). Also showing is perfboard holder, again derived from a Thingiverse model.


My version of a holder for one of these tester things, modified from a model I found online so that it can hold a recycled battery and a USB-C charger circuit. At the front, a little holder for some USB C sockets I’ve got, so that they can be attached to perfboard more easily. (Underneath are bumps to line up with the holes, and then there’s holes either side for wire to get pulled through so that it can be soldered into position.


A riser for the Raspberry Pi 400 so that it can be used while behind my normal keyboard (and I can hide crap underneath).

If any of these are helpful to anyone, I’ll share my designs - I didn’t want to add to the noise on Thingiverse or Printables (as you say, the search is awful) but the USB-C socket holder is quite neat and the Pi 400 riser solid enough to have had a year’s worth of use so far.

7 Likes

Nice little knob :smiley:
I printed some too for a project 2 months ago:

Printables link

It makes little sense to print your own knobs, in terms of economics, but if you really want a specific aesthetic or specific colors, they feel no worse than the commercial plastic stuff.

A deburring tool is invaluable for these, I got a cheapo one from Aliexpress that looks like this:

This way I can print knobs with insufficient tolerances and carve out just the right amount to get a good grip.

4 Likes

Here’s where I printed some adapters to use commercial knobs on my Gakken SX-150:

4 Likes

A nice selection of gadgets!

A simple alternative to the ‘Lead Bender - Breadboard Jumper Tool’ is a piece of perforated board (such as Veroboard, or stripboard) cut diagonally. Easily made from a scrap PCB.

3 Likes

These are the knobs I use. I have customized them using the OpenSCAD files provided by the creator

These are the parts storage boxes I use. It is a very nice system with lots of sizes or drawers available.
https://www.printables.com/model/7643-various-size-stackable-resistor-storage-box/

5 Likes

One thing I thought for knobs is, when I bought a 3D pen, I received a small length of a large assortment of colors. Too small to print anything serious with them, but big enough to print knobs and knob caps. For those of us who want to build a full system with unified aesthetics, it’s worth considering. Look up “PLA PEN” to find products like these:

BTW, if you’re buying a 3D pen purely to weld parts together, like I did, be aware that this is a very dirty technique that produces joints that are both ugly and unreliable. Still, in some situations, it’s perfect to mend some prints.

2 Likes

For small amounts of filament, there are also sample packs available.
For gluing parts together, it depends on the material, if you want to bond like to like. ABS and ASA are easy, you can use acetone. I have heard good things about 3D Gloop, but I have never used it myself. They have different glues for each material.
I have laser cut knob caps and attach them with CA glue, which has worked fine so far. I made the fit a little tight, so that helps.

2 Likes

3d printed front panels anyone?

4 Likes

Oh this is neat! The author is very elusive on the details sadly, but the results look good, and the process probably has room for improvement if you’re willing to edit GCode or do some advanced slicer magic.

Looks like this reddit post has a lot more details:

I’ll definitely experiment with that soon. Posted in another thread, I’ve been exploring the possibility of making translucent faceplates with PETG with decent but not amazing results.

3 Likes