I often forget which USB cable is which. Since I often move my laptop around, I have to plug in a lot of USB cables. This results in me wondering why my keyboard or drawingtablet is not working because I plugged in my mouse or a printer.
Of course, I could use some colored tape to label them. But that would be too simple and boring. I want my USB cables to make me smile. Therefore, I designed these decorations that can be ordered at 3D printservices such as Printr and Shapeways.
Step 1: The Drawing
- The first step is to measure your USB cable. You need to know the size of the black cover, where the decoration will be placed.
I measured a width of 15 mm and a height of 7 mm. The length differs per cable, some are longer than others.
I added some space as tolerance in order to make sure the decoration won't be too tight, resulting in a square of 7,5x16 mm
- Next, the wall thickness should be set. I chose 1,5 mm since most 3D printers and materials can handle this. I also don't want to make this much thicker, since that would be overuse of materials. And not to forget: the decoration should not interfere with the spaced needed for the USB cable next to the decorated one.
- In this example, the drawing is made in Solidworks. Free tools such as Google SketchUp or Tinkercad can also be used.
Step 2: Extrude
- I used the function 'extrude' in SolidWorks.
- The length of the decoration is set at 14 mm
- Two fillets were made to round the edges
Step 3: Decorate
- You can use for example the topside to sketch and decorate your piece.
- Little legs can be given (make sure the decoration won't be in the way of any other cables)
- You can get as creative as you want. Add text, your logo or make it a crocodile!
Step 4: Save & Upload!
- Save your file as .stl. If you have multiple bodies, save all of them in one file. There are other file extensions you can use, stl is however recommended since it is widely used.
- Upload your file on the website of a 3D printservice. This can be for example Shapeways or Printr.
Step 5: Order!
- When the design is finished, you can order your model. Make sure the model fulfills all of the design guidelines for the material you want to have. Strong and flexible material is recommended, and it comes in the cutest colors.
- Once the order is placed and payment is made, it's time to wait. In one or two weeks you can enjoy your own USB cable decoration!