Welcome to Drone Print!  In this 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!

Similarly, you can also check out our last print by clicking here: GTENG watch mount

This week we are printing up a case for our FPV antennas!

 

FPV antenna case overview

I don’t know about you guys, but we here at Propwashed think backpacks are the most convenient way to travel with all our FPV gear.  Simply load up, grab, and go to the field.  There’s no easier way to keep all your gear in one accessible place.  However, with all the equipment we carry on a daily basis, it’s safe to say that our bags can get pretty overloaded.

backpack with gear

Carrying all your gear can make for a crowded backpack – especially if you keep things like a fire extinguisher on hand! Something is going to crush my antennas one of these days!

While this isn’t an issue for most of our gear, there are a few items that I get slightly afraid of breaking when lugging my backpack around.  One of these is my FPV goggle antenna.  After flying, I usually unscrew it from my goggles, and toss it into my bag haphazardly.  I just know that one of these days I am going to either crush the antenna casing or bend the cloverleaf element.  In an effort to take some preventative action, I thought it would be an interesting challenge to find an easy to use case for my mushroom antennas.

I was surprised to find very little out there in terms of FPV antenna specific storage.  I did find a few people who recommended using a Tupperware case for travel, but I wanted something small enough to protect the cloverleaf and not take up additional bag space.  As always, I expected to come across a pre-designed solution on Thingiverse, but was unable to find anything.  I decided to cast a wider net and look at some non-FPV inspired designs.

 

The print

After searching through Thingiverse for a while, I came across an interesting print design.    It allows the user to enter the dimensions they need and exports a custom sized container and lid.  You simply enter the width and height, and Thingiverse does the rest!  How cool is that?  No 3D modeling or adjustments required.  The Thingiverse customizer spits out the files you need at the sizes you want in seconds.

customizable jar

Gotta love the tools available on Thingiverse. Stuff like this amazes me at the features available in 3D printing.

I quickly measured everything out with the calipers.  I am not worried about this being a perfect fit, as I wanted a bit of wiggle room for different sized antennas.  After a bit of measuring, I settled on a height of 30mm and a width of 35mm.

 

Importing to Cura

After inputting the measurements, Thingiverse went to work and emailed me when the files were done.  I was a little surprised at how many files there were, but it turned out they were all different lid types.  Check out all the options they give you:

cura layout

Way too many lids! Cool options depending on your tastes.

Since this was my first print with this design, I decided to go with the plain non-knurled lid for the test run.  Everything lined up fine in Cura and was surprisingly fast and easy to print on the first attempt.

cura safe print

Based on my luck recently with some prints, I’m going to go the safe route and print the vanilla version.

The completed print looks great!  The lid fits perfectly and screws down tightly!

final print bed

Screws on perfectly!

So now that we have our container printed, I want to drill a hole in the base where I can fit the coaxial through.  The idea being that you open the container, slip the coaxial through the drilled hole, and then screw the top back on.  This more or less ‘armors’ the cloverleaf from getting destroyed in my bag.

I grabbed a drill bit of appropriate size, and got to work.

drill and print

Tools to turn a standard container into an antenna container!

Perfect!  Everything fits exactly as expected.

fit check

Fits perfectly!

 

Review

This little case works great!  It takes up very little additional bag space and is definitely more protective than the skinny plastic casing covering the antenna.  Moreover, the printing process couldn’t have been easier.  The Thingiverse customizer was very accurate and easy to size out exactly what you want.  In hindsight, I probably should have sized the casing exactly, as the process for creating a new case is so easy.

final case

Storage mode activated!

I highly recommend this project if you are at all worried about storing your antennas in your backpack.  If you are like me and don’t have a goggles case that has antenna storage, this is the solution for you!

Speaking of antennas, if you are looking to learn a bit more about how they work, you should check out James’ awesome post on the subject!

Stats

Time to Print: 43 minutes

Final Weight: 17g

Estimated Cost to Print: $0.65

Material used: ABS

The print: Original version and Propwashed version (coming soon)

Post print adjustments: Hole drilled at base of printed container.  Light sanding to remove excess filament.

 

Until next time!

Thanks for reading!  If you want more Drone Print, you should follow us on Instagram!  We post a ton of drone related pictures, including our most recent 3D prints!  You can also join our Facebook group, where we share designs and printing ideas daily!

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!

 

Next Drone Print: Coming Soon!

 

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