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)

3. Access to a 3D printer (or use a service like Shapeways or 3D Hubs)

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.

Don't have a 3D printer? Check out 3D Hubs or Shapeways.

I also shared the file on Youmagine and Thingiverse.

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.

Comments

author
KenW4 made it! (author)2015-05-21

It looks like you drilled straight through but the wires go through at an angle to hit the pebble on the inside.

Would have been nice to know.

Also I have tried - staples, wires, paper clips, and they all seem to be too thin and disappear in the channel of the usb plug. Or they seem to pop up and out of position.

can anybody help me get this thing positioned right. Maybe some HD pictures of all angles?

Also what's up with 3D printers online charging $20+ to ship a key chain!!!

author
jswink made it! (author)2015-05-19

Used some solid core cat5e cable, a mulittool, tape to help keep the back from shorting, and an Afinia H479 at .15mm to print it off. I found that when I printed it at anything higher than .15 it was too flexible and the polarity tab didn't

I'd recommend a slightly thicker wire if using copper due to how easily it will flatten out when pressed in by the pebble.

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author
KasperH1 made it! (author)2015-04-04

Will it work with a Pebble Steel?

author
zjenja made it! (author)zjenja2015-04-04

Yes, I have designed a modified charger for the Pebble Steel as well. You can find the file on http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:295226

author
veniamin.vodopyan made it! (author)2015-02-07

Thanks! Works perfect)) I've made it using polyamide 3d printer.

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fstedie made it! (author)2015-01-02

Dude, that is brilliant.

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LairdP made it! (author)2014-08-07

I made one and it works great. One thing to be aware of it took some fiddling with the wire to get all the contacts to line up, but I am now charging my Pebble despite having lost the cable a week ago. Thank you!

author
aejnarr made it! (author)2014-06-25

straightened a coupe of staples for the leads

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emblazon12000 made it! (author)2014-06-22

Dude you should sell this with the charging cable....jus saying

author
Ilovemypebble made it! (author)2014-06-07

I run www.ilovemypebble.com and Facebook.com/ilovemypebble @ilovemypebble. Would be really interested in that

author
capricorn made it! (author)2014-06-02

I do not know if i have the nerves to try this, but this is a cool object.

Thanks for sharing :)

author
LunaEros made it! (author)2014-06-01

Very cool and professional looking design!

Almost makes me want to go buy a Pebble!

author
andrea biffi made it! (author)2014-06-01

that's a very smart application of 3D printer technology for many gadgets that need proprietary plugs, congrats!

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