RogerBW's Blog

Vape Stand 18 February 2016

I've been working with my new 3d printer. My first major design/construction project was a stand for charging vape batteries.

The basic idea is to be able to attach a charging cable to the thing while keeping it vertical, so that one doesn't have to disconnect the tank. The batteries in question have USB micro-B sockets on the bottom.

Rather than have captive plugs built into the design, I thought I'd have a cableway at the front of each socket, with a ledge inside the socket to hold the battery above desk level: thus one can attach the cable to the battery, then put the thing in the stand.

There are three different shapes of battery involved: iTaste, iStick 30W and iStick 40W (the latter two being sufficiently different in shape that they don't fit each other's sockets). So the first thing to do was to define the shapes of those sockets individually (in OpenSCAD), print test pieces, and make sure they worked:

Once that was done, I integrated the code into an overall stand design. This is fully tweakable: the same source file can be used to produce different numbers of sockets in different configurations.

Then it was a matter of exporting to STL, and slicing with Cura to produce tooling instructions.

The build took about 34 hours. I wanted to know if things were starting to go wrong, so I pointed a camera over the edge of the printer and used fswebcam to take a picture every minute.

And because I can, here is a time-lapse video of the later stages of the build. (Music, inevitably, by Kevin MacLeod at incompetech.com.) Now I'm wondering how easy it would be to mount the camera on the edge of the bed, to get the proper impression of the object being built upwards… but there's not a huge amount of clearance available.

But: it works!


  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 01:52pm on 18 February 2016

    34 hours seems, well, astonishingly excessive. I've often thought a 3D printer would be good for DIY, but at 34 hours unless I start the print before Saturday lunchtime I'm not going to get the result so I can use it the same weekend.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 02:11pm on 18 February 2016

    That was a particularly long task, because of the size of the thing. The test pieces at the top took about ten minutes each.

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