Introduction: 3D Printed Pebble Charger
This little charger for your Pebble Smartwatch can be made within 30 minutes. We are going to make the entire charger (yes, including the USB plug!). Instead of using magnets, this charger snaps nicely on your watch. This allows you to leave it directly in the USB port.
It works great as an alternative charger if you lost your original cable, or if you want to have a second charger when you are on the road.
A little background
I have seen great applications of 3D printing throughout the last years, often using expensive high-end 3D printers. Therefore, I have been wondering how I can use a low-cost desktop 3D printer instead to make a new, functional product that will be useful for a large group of people, something they would use on a daily basis.
Things started to move when I lost the charger cable for my Pebble Smartwatch and I decided to challenge myself. I wanted to come up with a solution that is 3D printable and works better than the original. It had to be small, cheap, and easy to make, preferably without soldering. Above all, it should not compromise the usability of the Pebble.
Considering the worldwide development in 3D printing, we will be printing fully functional parts with conductive inks sooner or later, but for now we will have to do some manual assembly for the leads.
What you will need
1. Something to cut and bend thin metal wire (any type of pliers or wire cutters will do)
2. Single-core jumper wire (or any metal wire with a diameter between 0.5 and 0.7mm)
Step 1: Get the Printed Part
Orient the part in your printer as illustrated, I designed it to be printed this way. A support structure is not necessary. Adding a brim helps to prevent warping.
Step 2: Make the Connectors
For the connectors: you will need a metal wire that is flexible enough to shape it nicely, but rigid enough to maintain its form in the end. I found that single-core jumper wires do this job just fine.
Please see the video for the actual steps for making the connectors. Don't forget to bend the ends of the metal wires slightly downwards into the plastic part on the USB side. This will make sure that the part is guided nicely into a USB port.
If you have difficulties putting the wires in place, you could use some tweezers.
Step 3: Enjoy and Share!
That's it! Now you can enjoy your tiny Pebble Charger. I never leave home without it :-)
Probably the DIY USB plug can be used for other hacking applications as well. I am looking forward to see what you come up with!
Two important notes:
I found that the DIY USB plug works very well. However, as with any non-certified plug, there is always a risk of damage to your equipment. Please be careful and use at your own risk!
Before using, check your print for any sharp edges, especially on the side opposite to the USB plug. Burrs or sharp edges might slightly scratch the plastic housing on the right side of your Pebble.