Tablet holder, entirely 3d printed.

Jason Westfall

Tablet holder

CC BY-SA 3.0

Now that we have built some confidence printing small models created by the community, it's time to take on a more ambitious print.

Timothy Lee Russell | 6/26/2018 6:42:11 PM

With a smidge of confidence built, time for a more ambitious print

After printing a number of models, it seemed like it was time to take on a more complicated project so we decided to print a useful household object. One of the promises of decentralized manufacturing is that by democratizing access to this technology we can potentially reduce the environmental impact of a worldwide supply chain. Ordinarily, if you were to purchase a product like this, the various pieces used to make it and the final product would have traversed thousands of miles. With access to a virtual library of models, we can cut out all the middlemen and build it ourselves.

We plated as many parts as would fit on the bed, crossed our fingers and hit print.

So far, so good. we have a problem. One of the issues with printing a lot of parts simultaneously is that a failure, for whatever reason can cause other parts to fail to print. As the software / hardware improves, it is easy to imagine that a camera hooked into some AI could determine a portion of the print was failing and remove the failing part from the print in order to minimize your losses.

As you can see, there was some layer sloughing where the previous layers collapsed, perhaps due to inadequate cooling or under extrusion. In this case, because the "tallest" part in the print failed, the rest of the pieces printed correctly.

We plated the part that failed and printed it solo.

After the print was completed, we cleaned up the parts, removed the support pieces, assembed the tablet holder and installed it.

The one issue with this particular design is that due to the weight of the tablet, the fulcrum of balance is a bit off and so by default the tablet hangs at a slight downward angle. While the ability to print the entire tablet holder in plastic is neat, it really needs a more robust locking mechanism to hold the tablet at an angle. This would likely involve replacing the primary hinge with a bolt and a lock washer that could introduce a higher degree of friction.

Overall, a very functional piece and we thank Jason for this fantastic model.

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