In earlier posts ( here and here), I discussed needing some custom parts. Specifically, these were custom standoffs between the Nybble frame and the NyBoard and also between the NyBoard and a Pi. At that time, I made the parts from wooden dowel material. This got the job done and fit the Nybble organic (wood) vibe. However, when I recently got access to a 3D printer, I thought I would revisit the topic from a more general customization perspective.
In Thingiverse, one can find items that can be customized, including various kinds of standoffs. The customization makes use of OpenSCAD, a script (.scad file) based 3D CAD modelling application. Members of Thingiverse have created and posted .scad files which are parametric descriptions of the models for the customizable items. When you change parameter values (width, height, etc.) OpenSCAD will render models and create an .stl file for printing items customized to your specifications.
MakerBot (the owner of Thingiverse) host a web app called "Customizer". This web app allows you to change and visualize the effects of different parameter values in a .scad file and to submit a job to the server that will do the actual rendering and conversion to a .stl file. The visualization is ok though a bit slow but the server jobs can take a very long time to complete (server seems to have chronic problems). In this post, we will use OpenSCAD directly rather than deal with such server delays.
Locate customizable items in Thingiverse by searching with keywords like "customizer", "customizable", etc. We will use the "Customizable Standoff Generator" (see this link).
On that Thingiverse page, click on the link "Thing Files" to get a list of files available. Download the ".scad" file. Note that without a .scad file, the item cannot be customized.
Start OpenSCAD. If the "Welcome to OpenSCAD" splash screen appears (initial default), click the Open button and navigate to open the .scad file you downloaded. Otherwise, use the menu sequence File > Open to do the same thing.
In the Customizer panel of OpenSCAD, expand the different parameter sections by clicking the "triangles":
In OpenSCAD, for each parameter, enter the desired value. Here we will build an array of 4 identical round standoffs that are 11 mm high x 8 mm wide with a 3 mm through-hole.
Use the menu sequence Design > Render then File > Export... > Export as STL... to save the rendered model as an .stl file.
Slice and then 3D print from this .sfl file.
The accuracy and precision of the printed items depend on your printer but here is what I got on an Ender 3 Pro FDM 3D printer for a single print job of the 4 "identical" standoffs targeting the dimensions of 11 mm high x 8 mm wide.
Length: 11.37, 11.38, 11.43, 11.42
Width: 7.90, 7.88, 7.89, 7.91
So here, the accuracy could be better but the precision is good.
If you find this post interesting and/or useful, please click the like button. If you have other ideas on how to create helpful additional parts for Nybble, please post them.