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Making Your Mass Production 3D Printed Products Indestructible

What if you're tasked with protecting an electrical PCB as fragile as an egg, but it's destined for a harsh environment, like a warehouse where accidents with forklifts could occur? You might consider creating a protective enclosure that is hard yet rubbery, capable of flexing and absorbing shocks without breaking or causing internal damage.

When designing an enclosure with 3D printing in mind, it's crucial to adapt the design to the specifics of the technology. Starting with the basics, the enclosure should have rounded, dome-like shapes to deflect forces and avoid direct impacts. The design can include thick outer walls for added protection and integrated standoffs that merge into the walls, enhancing durability. For added ingenuity, the PCB could be mounted on a shock-isolated platform within the enclosure, allowing the standoffs to absorb any external shocks.

Designing a 3D printed enclosure that is indestructible

The upper shell of the enclosure can be designed with a cavity of any size, eliminating the need for thin walls and thus avoiding issues related to shrinkage. This allows for a robust design that can still be produced efficiently using 3D printing in mass production settings. The real innovation comes in the slicing phase, where the interior infill of the enclosure can be adjusted. Using a material like TPU, which can be both flexible and rigid, the design can feature a lower infill percentage in certain areas to provide stiffness where needed and flexibility to absorb impacts.

Designing a 3D printed enclosure that is indestructible

The upper shell can be made more rigid to ensure it withstands impacts while maintaining a slight flexibility inherent to the material. This combination of features ensures that the enclosure can protect its contents effectively, even in environments prone to accidents, such as warehouses or industrial settings. The design not only prioritizes durability and protection but also aesthetics and cost-effectiveness, avoiding the need for expensive molds or machining processes that are less suited for producing soft, durable parts.

Despite the advantages, 3D printing does have its drawbacks, such as the manual removal of the printed part from the printing bed, which can increase production costs. However, the ability to produce durable, reliable, and visually appealing enclosures without the need for custom molds or machining makes 3D printing an attractive option for creating protective casings for delicate electronics. The design process is faster and generally more affordable, even considering the higher cost of materials like TPU.


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