On The Utility of 3D Printing

This won’t be anything particularly novel to you old hands at 3D printing, but I wanted to demonstrate to others just how useful that open source tools and 3D printing can be, even for non-geeky tasks such as home improvement.

I have briefly mentioned on Twitter (but I don’t believe on this blog) that I’ve been working on a new ham shack/home office over the last 9 months. Shack 2.0 is now finished, save a bit of work in getting and setting up workbenches. Since this building is going to be my ham shack, I needed a way to to get antenna coax and other cabling in and out through the wall that was built-in right from the start. Based on a friend’s recommendation, I plan to purchase an entry panel that mounts on the exterior of the building around a 2 inch conduit. So as you can see below, I installed such a conduit before finishing the interior of Shack 2.0.

Unfinished Antenna Ingress

The interior of Shack 2.0 is fully finished with drywall, and I had to cut out a bit of a ragged opening for the conduit, leaving an ugly, unfinished transition.

Antenna Ingress at Unfinished Drywall Transition

As far as I’m aware, there’s no commercial bit of trim for finishing something like this, so I was able to make my own by firing up FreeCAD and designing a flange in about 15 minutes, and then printing it on my Ender 3.

FreeCAD Flange Design

The initial plan was to print the flange in gray PETG, but I didn’t quite trust myself to get it right the first time, so I did a trial run in PLA first. That came out nearly perfect, so I immediately reprinted in PETG. It only took about 3 hours for each print, so from start to finish, it only took the second half of the day to go from nothing to finished trim.

A couple of drywall anchors, and it was mounted to the wall neatly and securely, giving a nice finished look to the last bit of the shack that needed it.

Again, this is basic stuff, but it’s still pleasing to be able to close the idea-design-product loop so quickly, plus it gives me a chance to tease the new shack.

Once I get my workbenches, finish them, and install them, I’ll get some photos and create a post to show you what Shack 2.0 looks like. That will close the chapter on an exhausting yet exciting time, and mark the transition to putting full attention back into a couple of new Etherkit product launches coming soon.

4 thoughts on “On The Utility of 3D Printing

  1. It looks great! I love that it’s not 3D printing just for the sake of 3D printing, but rather fills a need that nothing else could. Nice job 🙂 73 de W7RLF

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