In this Part 3, I’m extending the CAD-focused theme and up the ante substantially by showing you how to design a clam-shell style enclosure with a removable faceplate and front panel that has connectors protruding through the face plate. As always, the design has to be printable so there’s a proof-point by 3D printing the resulting design and, as previously offered, the design files are all available on Thingiverse so you can download and print them directly or play with the designs and modify them at-will if you have ViaCAD. The 3D print will be handled by my trusty LulzBot AO-100.
As before, the objective isn’t that this enclosure is specific to a real-world board, but the main objective is to show you what the process is to create an enclosure for an arbitrary PCB with connectors. That way, you can adapt these techniques your specific board and hopefully, the tutorial will be much more useful to you. There are many other details involved in making a real-world enclosure that we’ll get to in future tutorials, but just trying to make the first major leap from a simple clam-shell to an enclosure that has real functionality.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.