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Wireless Charger Dock for Nexus 5

So, my shiny new Google Nexus 5 arrived a week ago, and I spent the first couple of days just ogling the new device, setting it up with all my favorite apps and tools, enjoying games and videos on my 5″ display and generally wasting the days away 🙂  After years in the iPhone world, it was time to cross over to the dark side (or is iOS the dark side?).

After the initial euphoria about the new toy subsided, I started looking for a good protective cover for my N5, and being a 3D printing nut, I searched on Thingiverse before I even thought of Amazon :-). Unfortunately for me, the phone was very, very new, and there was only one conceptual design on Thingiverse for a Nexus 5 case, with no successful prints yet.  That’s fine, I thought… this is the realm of DIY and Tinkering.

Sourcing the Design

BUT, something else on Thingiverse had caught my eye when searching for the N5 case:

Now, reading the specs for the Nexus 5, I knew that it supported wireless charging, but the Google wireless charger was not available on the Play store when I looked.  However, this charging dock was designed for the Nokia QI Charging Pad, which is available at a few places (like AT&T stores) for $24.50, and the design posted by Joe F on Thingiverse would provide a nice inclined base to match! WOOT!

I downloaded the design files for the dock from Thingiverse and set out to customize the dock for myself a little bit. I just wanted to add something to it myself, to convince my wife that I did not just “download and print” , but had put in some effort myself 😉

Modification/ Customization

I first uploaded the design files (STL format) to TinkerCad, a fantastic online tool to do quick and fun tweaks to your design files.  I then rotated the body so I could lay it flat on the work surface.  Then, I grabbed the letters of my last name from the model gallery, put them in order, grouped them, and stood them up, like a wall.  I then extended the letters along the y-axis so that the letters penetrated opposite walls of the dock, like so:



I then marked this object as a ‘hole’ and the base as a solid object, and then proceeded to use this object to punch a hole through the solid base, resulting in:



With this complete, I finalized the model, and the final render came out looking like:



Voila!  I had just downloaded something from Thingiverse, and quickly modified and personalized it using free, online tools! What could be more thrilling!

Printing the dock

Next, I downloaded the customized model in .STL format to my Mac, and fired up MakerWare, available from MakerBot here.  In MakerWare, I positioned the TinkerCad model on the build platform and exported out the machine code file (.X3G format), selecting options for a Normal Print and ‘Supports’ since the lettering cutouts on the dock meant that I would have a lot of overhanging parts.  I then transferred the .X3G file to an SD card, fired up the trusted MakerBot Replicator2 and loaded it with a translucent blue filament, and fired off the ‘Print from SD’ command.

After roughly 4 hours and 60 grams of plastic, I had my very own charging dock!

[vc_column width=”1/3″]3-QI_dock[/vc_column]
[vc_column width=”1/3″]2-QI_dock[/vc_column]
[vc_column width=”1/3″]1-QI_dock[/vc_column]

Kudos to Joe for a flawless design, as the Nokia QI charging plate fit into the designed groove very very nicely.  The dock now sits nicely on my nightstand, and my N5 rests on it peacefully every night, charging wirelessly without worrying about plugging and unplugging the darn little micro-usb cable!

My dock can be seen on Thingiverse at: 



Technical Specs

  • Printer: MakerBot Replicator 2
  • Software / Services: Thingiverse, TinkerCad, MakerWare (using MakerBot slicer)
  • Settings: Standard mode (15% infill, 0.2mm layer, 90mm/s), Rafts disabled, Supports enabled.
  • Print Time: 4 hours
  • Material: Translucent Blue 1.75mm PLA
  • Mass (Weight): 40 grams

 Final Thoughts

Thingiverse is quickly becoming my first stop to look for new designs, and I was pleasantly surprised to see designs related to N5 popping up there almost as soon as the phone was launched.  This was also my first pass at using TinkerCad for an actual design-to-print project, and I was pleasantly surprised at its usability, considering it is a fully browser-based tool.  I also felt the pain of dealing with small geometries and support structures, as evident from the no-so-clean finish on the final piece and the broken ‘U’ on one side.  Next time, I might try changing the print orientation or cleaning up the model using MeshMixer or Netfabb.

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Practical3DP @ 3D Printing Convention and Expo San Jose !!

Practical3DP is going to the 3D Printing Convention and Expo in San Jose on September 17th & 18th !!!!

We will be bringing you the latest updates from the conference floor so follow us and stay tuned !

If you have any questions for us while we are there, feel free to submit a question or comment!

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‘3D Printing Is An Ecosystem, Not A Device’: Jennifer Lawton, MakerBot

‘3D Printing Is An Ecosystem, Not A Device’: Jennifer Lawton, MakerBot

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Zeus is Not Just a God. He’s a 3D Printing Fax Machine.

Zeus is Not Just a God. He’s a 3D Printing Fax Machine.

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Australia’s newest 3D Printer Store

Australia has it’s very first 3D Printing retail shop. The new 3D Printing Studio is located in the prime Rocks retail location in Sydney. 3dprinter_syd_storeThe 3D Printing Studio will offer training, 3D printers and filament sales and offer a printing service with a range of different systems and a wide range of materials.

Press Release Follows…

Australia’s 1st 3D Printing Shop opens in The Rocks
– Sydney follows the lead of New York and London to open an Australian 1st
15th August 2013 – With interest in 3D Printing booming of late, the 3D Printing Studio founders Stu Grover and Howard Wood have followed the lead of other pioneers in New York and London and established Australia’s 1st 3D Printing Shop in the trendy Rocks area of Sydney.
The founders will officially announce the opening in front of a packed audience of 3D Printing enthusiasts and industry people on Thursday 12th September. At the opening they’ll be demonstrating the ground-breaking technology by scanning attendees and 3D Printing them on their bank of printers.
With manufacturing waning in Australia and 3D Printing going mainstream, the technology is a great opportunity for Australia to maintain and grow its manufacturing base. This opportunity was recognized by the US when Barrack Obama announced a $200 million investment in his State of the Union address shortly followed by the UK’s David Cameron who has committed £14.7m in 3D Printing projects.
Grover and Wood said that “3D Printing promises to make domestic manufacturing more competitive than overseas manufacturing due to its lightweight footprint, high level of customization and speedy delivery”. With the opening of the Studio, Sydney based manufacturers can now order parts and receive them the very same day at a fraction of the cost of having them manufactured in China. The founders said that “3D Printing promises to be the next Industrial Revolution with mass personalization replacing mass production. No longer will we order size 8 shoes – instead we’ll be ordering shoes which are specifically manufactured to fit our own feet in our favourite colour”.
The shop is laid out like a gallery of gadgets with 3D Printed Art, Machines and Supplies which give people an introduction to the technology. “For a lot of people it’s the 1st time they’ll hold a 3D Printed item in their hand and the uniqueness of it is sure to inspire the creative side in every Australian” Grover said.
Training will be a major part of what the studio offers with courses for 3D Printing newbies, Architects, Jewellers, Designers and Artists being run two evenings a week and at weekends.
“Bringing your ideas to life is as simple as sending over a design file,” Wood said “the studio is a one-stop shop for everyone’s 3D Printing needs”.
Released on behalf of the 3D Printing Studio by Stuart Grover
For more information, please contact: Stuart Grover on 0417064644
The 3D Printing Studio is Australia’s only high street shop dedicated to 3D Printing.