3D Printed Action Camera Floaty


Most people when they get an action camera head straight out and start filming crazy things – not me!

I’ve just bought a Garmin Virb X action camera, choosing to avoid the popular GoPro’s for a number of reasons (I’ll spare you the details!) – suffice to say that the Garmin not only records great video, but has a range of built-in sensors allowing you to overlay data on top of video. If you’re curious to see what I mean, check out their promo video.

Since many of my interests are on the water (Kitesurfing and Stand Up Paddling) I needed to add the floatyย  – I lost a GoPro a few years ago in Hawaii by not having one, expensive mistake! Sure I could fork out the $27 for the Garmin floaty, but I already had a GoPro floaty as part of a kit, so why not make my own attachment?

The design of the Garmin Virb X has a range of great little details to snap on to, which is how the USB clips onto the side for charging and data transfer. So I’ve simply used these to create a 3D printed bracket, to which the GoPro floaty can stick. As you can see from the images above, 2 prongs hook around one side, while the snap comes around to the front and secures the bracket around the camera. And gee it makes a good snap sound when is attached! Very secure.

Print orientation is really important for this one, the bracket is printed standing up much like the pictures (you can see the layers in the left image). This means that when force is applied to flex and snap around the camera, the whole thing doesn’t break apart. Also a bit of filing or sanding is needed on the back face to give the floaty sticker a good surface area to stick on to. Otherwise it’s good to go straight off the printer, which took about 100 minutes to print on my Cocoon Create 3D printer. Solid infill, 0.2mm layer height, brim adhere to the platform and a small amount of support material.

If you need this part, it’s all yours for free – just download from your favourite site Thingiverse, Pinshape, 3D File Market or Cults.ย  Be sure to post a picture when you’re done, I hope it helps you get those awesome videos on or in the water.

– Posted by James Novak

3D Printed SUP Paddle Lock

20151215 SUP Paddle Lock

With plenty of my designs available for you to download and make yourself on Thingiverse and Pinshape, this is officially the first product I’ve created through additive manufacturing for retail sale!

My local surf shop, Surf Connect, approached me with a unique problem: popular Stand Up Paddle (SUP) brand Ozoboard uses a snap-fit locking mechanism to allow for adjustment of the paddle length, but many customers have been losing them into the ocean. While it seems securely locked with the snap details onto the paddle shaft, somehow people just keep knocking them off, I guess because it is close to where people may be gripping the paddle with their hands. This is the grey part pictured in the middle image on the left.

A replacement part costs around $20 to buy, and to make things worse, the company making them is no longer able to supply them. So there are people stuck with paddles they can’t use because of this one small part. Well, as anyone who knows me would say, I’m up for any excuse to 3D print something new!

Some digital calipers, some Solidworks CAD software, and an hour or so of time is all it took to reverse engineer the lock details. The only trick is the metal pin which has been moulded into the original part, and takes all the forces of the 2 paddle shafts when they are locked in place. To do this as simply as possible I just used a screw with a matching diameter (a M6 x 12mm in 316 stainless steel) as shown in the top left image, gluing this with Araldite into place and concealing with a little cap. Other than the extra bulge to accommodate this, the 2 parts are identical.

Both parts were 3D printed on an Up! Plus 2 in about 50 minutes, and as you can see in the top right image, fits perfectly! Even I’m surprised that a) it fits first time, and b) it didn’t snap when popping around the paddle! The only thing yet to be seen is how well it holds up to use out on the water…

I will now be supplying these to Surf Connect exclusively to sell, since there is a genuine demand for them and no other way for people to get them. As a keen kitesurfer (and now SUPer with one of these Ozoboard paddles), I can imagine how annoying it is to be stuck on land when it’s perfect summer weather! If you need one, please get in touch. You can also download the design from Pinshape by clicking here.

– Posted by James Novak

Thingiverse Builds of my Designs

150610 ThingiverseIt seems like a good time to look back at some of the designs I’ve shared on Thingiverse, mostly over the last Xmas break when I actually had the spare time to make these sorts of things! It’s really cool to see people making things that you’ve created for yourself and getting some enjoyment from them!

The image on the left is not actually my design at all – it’s a kiteboard hydrofoil (basically a fancy attachment for a kitesurfing board that allows you to ‘hover’ above the water). @danleow did however take my standard kitesurfing fin (you can read all about my design and testing here or even download yourself a copy for free) and modify it to help in the creation of his hydrofoil (the blue 3D printed part). Very cool! I’m actually hoping to revisit this idea soon, after meeting Greg Mark from MarkForged at the RAPID 3D printing conference, and seeing his examples of surf fins 3D printed with carbon fiber, I am hoping it won’t be too long before my university buys on of their printers. I just know this will significantly strengthen the design and stop the fins breaking.

Next image is from @pcarlson of the replacement whisk for an Expressi Milk Frother – it’s such a small part that can be easily lost when cleaning, which is exactly what happened to me and inspired me to create the 3D file. Now I have an endless supply of replacements! Get yours and read my post about the design by clicking here.

Lastly is the most complex 3D print I’ve shared on Thingiverse simply for the quantity of parts and requirement to fit with timber. Not for the feint of heart! The idea was to create a Mario Kart trophy for a bit of fun with my family for Xmas. The one pictured is from @Johns_Monkey, and includes just the basic components for the trophy – if you look at my complete design, there are 7 extra pieces that can go around the outside and act as platforms to hold your Mario Kart characters.

I have a few other designs on Thingiverse for things like a Beer Bottle Lock and Phone Amplifier, if you happen to make any of these please add your photos onto Thingiverse ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy 3D printing.

– Posted by James Novak

Death of the 3D Printed Fin

2014-11-25 Broken FinThe title and image says it all.

I’m amazed the fins have lasted this well being the very first test (approximately 15 hours of use). I don’t actually know how this happened (possibly 1 of my massive stacks!), it wasn’t until I was packing up my gear that I noticed. But as expected the screw holes were the weak point, with the stresses mentioned in a previous post always a concern.

I may look at thickening the profile slightly and taking a small amount of material out of the holes as there was plenty for the screws to bite into. But for now I have a spare printed and ready to go. No time to rest with perfect weather at the moment!

If you download my file from Thingiverse here let me know how it works for you ๐Ÿ™‚

– Posted by James Novak

3D Printed Fins Update

2014-11-15 Fin after useWith perfect wind conditions lately there has been plenty of kitesurfing – I love summer! But with that my 3D printed fins (check out the full story here) have had a good workout, probably close to 10 hours in the water.

As you can see in the photo the fins are still in top condition, just some grains of sand that have become embedded in the plastic. I have to admit even I’m surprised they haven’t snapped or simply de-laminated when slapping into the water off some huge jumps or being dragged through the sand in shallow conditions.

It’s still probably too soon to call but I’m feeling like this is a success. Remember if you want a lifetime supply for your own kitesurfing adventures, I’ve uploaded the file to Thingiverse for FREE! Just follow the link here.

– Posted by James Novak

Fast and Free!

141109 Kite Fin FinishedAll I can say is WOOHOO!!!! The fins work perfectly, just like a new set – I have to admit even I’m surprised! Since they work so well I’m giving them away for FREE so anyone can print a set and let me know how they go. Just follow this link to my Thingiverse page.

I might print a few more so I have spares in my kit, but the next step is to try printing some different shapes and sizes so I can really compare what works, which conditions, how fast, how high etc. 1 or 2 top secret ideas as well ๐Ÿ˜‰

Great little 1 week project, if you do print these fins out please let me know how they go.

– Posted by James Novak

Huffing and Puffing

141108 Fin InstalledFinal update before I test this thing out – The fins screwed onto the board nicely. These were just holes (unlike the real fins which come pre-threaded) as the ‘Up! Plus 2‘ wouldn’t create the detail of a fine screw thread. The only thing I’ve noticed is slight stress marks on the outside surfaces where the screws are, and very slight bulging. Perhaps the next version could be slightly thicker to increase strength around the screw, and maybe even try increasing the diameter of the holes by 0.2mm as there was plenty for the screws to bite into.

Wind forecast: Avg 12.9KT, maximum predicted 17.2KT – Fingers crossed just enough to get out this afternoon, otherwise the next few days are looking pretty dead!

– Posted by James Novak

Fin Printing Success

141107 Kite FinsSo far so good – I have printed 2 fins (to use on the heel side of the board where the most force is applied) on the ‘Up! Plus 2‘ printers. I oriented them laying down diagonally on the plate in order to fit the small size (140 x 140 x 135mm), and also for strength of the final product (layer orientation). I’m really impressed with the top surfaces, and only a small amount of cleanup required on the bottom – a bit of acetone or sandpaper should clean this up nicely. All that’s left to do is make sure the screws sufficiently grab into the holes, and then bring on the wind!

– Posted by James Novak

Acetone High

141105 Acetone TestFirstly, capturing these fine details on my phone camera is a real challenge!

What I’ve done is brush acetone directly onto 1 side of an old 3D print to see how well it cleans up the layers. Having done some reading (Makezine, Airwolf3D, Solidoodle) ย  I was expecting the surface to melt very quickly, maybe even go a bit soft and squishy – Nope! I’ve brushed on about 15 coats of acetone onto the model (leaving a few minutes drying time between coats) and at no time did the model do anything exciting. However there is a clear result, with the layers clearly blurring together and remaining glossy. It’s certainly not perfectly smooth, but running my fingernail along the surface there is a noticeable difference to the back-side which remains original.

A few thoughts from this: 1. the ABS plastic we use at uni is premium quality, so no crappy other materials mixed in to potentially cause issues. 2. By just brushing on acetone it appears to evaporate very quickly and limits any effects, which in some ways is a good thing to control how far you want to go. 3. The 3D print itself has a thick 3mm wall, so there isn’t a high risk of the acetone seeping through to the inside and causing the entire wall section to soften.

In terms of the kiteboard fins, this seems like a worthwhile outcome to smooth them off and potentially strengthen the outside surface. Cool.

If you have your own experiences smoothing out 3D prints using acetone, I’d love to hear them, this is new for me. Please leave a comment or link.

– Posted by James Novak

First Project, First Post

Kite Fin MeasurementAs the first post on this blog I thought I’d just jump straight in with what I’m working on right now. Being a kitesurfer I’ve been dying to find the time to try 3D printing some new parts to test out on the water. It begins today! I thought I’d start with the fins since they’re a nice manageable size for the small desktop printers at uni (starting with the ‘Up! Plus 2’).

The first tests will be similar to the original fin to compare how it holds up in the water compared to the original (Liquid Force GTS 2.0). Some of this will certainly come down to the print orientation to minimise the chances of de-laminating while skimming across the shallows and scraping the sand. I’m also thinking about using an acetone finish to help bind and smooth the outside surface when I get this printed in a few days. Some of my students have started trialling this with success, so worth considering.

If it works, the next step will be to experiment with the fin geometry. I’m definitely expecting some spectacular crashes on the water through this process, but that’s half the fun!

– Posted by James Novak