Welcome to Drone Print! In this bi-weekly series, we find and print awesome designs that we can use with our drones or add to our gear bag! We overview why we selected the design, show the print process, and finally review the outcome.
Hopefully this series can help you find some cool components to add to your backpack. Interested in reading more on 3D printing and drones? Check out this article where we go over all the basics!
This week we repair my quad from a particularly bad crash. Though minor, I crushed my antenna cover and needed a new one. Thus, I hit up the Internet to see what I could find. Surprisingly, this was more difficult than expected.
Ever have one of those crashes where you just know something broke? Yep, I had one of those last week. I exited a loop too late and created a small crater in the dirt. The bounce, followed by the immediate loss of feed, gave me a foreboding feeling as I walked over to assess the damage. Luckily, no major repairs were needed. Sure, all the props were stripped, the camera was out of place, and the frame got a few new scratches, but nothing looked destroyed. That was until I noticed the antenna. After almost a year of use, I finally crushed the plastic enclosure that kept my cloverleaf antenna safe.
Oh well, things happen. As far as repairs go, this is probably as minor as it gets. I figured I would do a quick search on Thingiverse, find a print, and strap it back on the antenna. However, when I started looking around for prints, I just couldn’t find a design that would fit cleanly on my antenna. Most of the prints were sized for a cloverleaf antenna with less height, or a cable with a narrower diameter. Similarly, I was slightly worried that any print I made would be too thick, and cause a loss of range when out flying.
Looks like I have been lucky with my last few prints in finding a solution almost immediately. I continued to crawl through Thingiverse until I hit this print.
Interesting! The print looked more compatible with a variety of cloverleaf antennas than the others I had tried. The mounting style looked cleaner and it required no post print cleanup. Let’s give it a shot!
The print looked like it offered protection while keeping the cloverleaf uncovered. Furthermore, the two pieces secured to each other using two zip ties at the base rather than glued together pieces at the edges. I figured even if it was designed for a slightly narrower cable, I could use the zip ties to tighten it enough to fit.
Dropping the print into Cura was a breeze. I multiplied the model so that I could print two copies at once. Both fit cleanly and had a print time of only 40 minutes.
The final result!
Probably slightly heavier than my last cover, but seems to offer a greater deal of protection long term.
After tightening up the zip ties and clipping the excess, it fit perfectly!
So far, no issues! Everything fits great and I seem to have the same level of reception as before. This was an extremely easy fix that took a few different prints to get right. I love the zip tie system used here for keeping the pieces together. It keeps everything very tight, while also remaining easy to remove if needed. Case in point, I may have forgotten to take before pictures, and had to remove the print to take a picture of the naked antenna. Clipping the zip ties off, and then re-securing new ones after, was a very simple process.
Time to Print: 40 minutes
Final Weight: 5g
Estimated Cost to Print: $0.41 (+ around $0.60 in failed prints)
Material used: ABS
Post print adjustments: None!
Link to model: Thingiverse
I figured since this is such a custom part, we wouldn’t do a giveaway this week. I’ll see if we can find a more widely usable part for the next episode of DronePrint!
Until next time!
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Questions? Check out our FAQ for information on our printing setup and how we reach our cost assumptions. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any additional questions or recommendations! If you print a design that we talk about and want to share it, make sure to tag it #DronePrint so that we see it!