3D printed protective coaster for bladeRF

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3D printed protective coaster for bladeRF

Post by piranha32 » Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:38 pm

I have uploaded to Thingiverse an STL file for a protective enclosure for bladeRF. It will protect the board from abuse on the desk without blocking access to the connectors and extension boards. The model can be downloaded from http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:151052
2013-09-15 01.10.36_small.jpg
2013-09-15 01.10.36_small.jpg (213.65 KiB) Viewed 27456 times

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Re: 3D printed protective coaster for bladeRF

Post by dave » Thu May 28, 2015 6:29 pm

This is beautiful. Now, since you've both created this bottom shell, and have also spent some evenings with the USB connector, you're the right person to ask for an opinion:

Do you think that a 3D-printed shell could be a good way to further buttress the USB connector against being wrenched off the PCB by the cable?

(I am picturing something like a top piece that sits down onto this coaster, and is snug around that connector on top and 3 sides. Does that sound reasonable? Or do you suppose that the new piece, if it were able to fit snugly enough to help, would itself be the main danger in terms of force upon the connector? Or does that connector need to radiate heat & doesn't want to be boxed in so close? Or, should I stop over-thinking and just cut a gum eraser to glue into the lid of the stock Nuand shell?)

Dave Aragon
University of Washington, Seattle
Senior Member, IEEE

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Re: 3D printed protective coaster for bladeRF

Post by piranha32 » Thu May 28, 2015 8:25 pm


my initial plan was to make a 3d printed full enclosure for the board and the transverter, but after considering all pros and cons, I decided to to build metal case. The work is still "in progress", although has been stalled by a combination of problems with USB pigtail, lack of time and procrastination on my side. I took some pictures, and jynik was kind enough to upload them to imgur: https://imgur.com/a/Mkx3K
After replacing the connector I decided that had enough fun doing it once, and designed a 3D printed clamp to relieve the stress on the connector from cable crammed inside the case. It turned out to work really well. I can route and bend the cable as necessary to put the case together, and I don't need to worry about ripping the connector out of the board.
The most important thing that is holding me from finishing the build is a problem with finding a reasonably priced, working USB3 pigtail, with angled connector. The one in the pictures I bought on ebay, but it is of so poor quality, that the controller refuses to push any data through it (board enumerates, but the connection crashes as soon as I try to move any data. USB2 works fine, though).

To answer your question: if I still was going to make a 3d printed case, I'd add similar cable clamp to it. I wouldn't try to clamp the plug, as it should have some wiggle-space to adjust to the connector on the board. Stiff-mounted plug would only add stress to the connector, instead of reducing it.
The board does not heat too much in the area of the USB connector. Most of the heat is produced by the LMS chip, and you should make sure to leave some space around it for air circulation.

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Re: 3D printed protective coaster for bladeRF

Post by jynik » Thu Jun 04, 2015 12:09 pm


Any chance I could bother you to put together a "Bill of Materials" for that sexy metal enclosure you had worked on? :)

- Jon

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