Introduction: Slide Switch 3D

Picture of Slide Switch 3D

The following information is a single lesson in a larger project. Find more great projects here.

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Lesson Overview:

Now we'll do the 3D design for a switch!

Step 1: Intro

Electronics can bring power to simple machines and simple machines can give us control over electronics. The simplest example is a switch! At this point you have already learned how to build a paper slide switch that changes the color of an RGB LED from green to yellow to red with handy paper clips! Let's turn this R-Y-G traffic light into sturdy device by building a two-part slider that clicks onto your paper circuit! Effectively, this lesson uses a simple machine called a Cam to take the place of your paper clip. A cam is a wedge which transfers force and movement (from your finger, for example) by pushing another object.

In this lesson, a big cam will press down the paper, and little cams will lock the switch in to place!


Step 2: Switch Cam

Picture of Switch Cam

The first thing we'll build is the simple machine that will help us do work. This is the part that presses the paper together, for us!

  1. Drag a box from the geometric panel, place it on the workplane, and size it to 6mm along the X axis, 20mm along the Y axis, and 2mm along the Z axis.
  2. Drag a round roof from the geometric panel, place it on the workplane, and size it to 6mm along the X axis, 20mm along the Y axis, and 2mm along the Z axis.
  3. Center the roof to the box on all axes, and then nudge the roof 3mm along the X axis in the positive direction.
  4. Duplicate the roof and then nudge the roof 6mm along the X axis in the negative direction.
  5. Rotate the three shapes about the X axis 90° in the positive (clockwise) direction.
  6. Push D on the keyboard to align them to the workplane.

Step 3: Slide

Picture of Slide

Next, we'll create the slide of the switch. This is the part our fingers will push to move the cam back and forth from position to position.

  1. Drag a box from the geometric panel, place it on the workplane, and size it to 40mm along the X axis, 2mm along the Y axis, and 24mm along the Z axis.
  2. Nudge the box 2mm along the Z axis in the negative direction.
  3. Center the new box to the old box along the Y axis, and they nudge the new box 2mm along the Y axis in the negative direction.
  4. Duplicate this new box, and size the duplicate to 4mm along the Y axis.
  5. While holding the ALT key on the keyboard, scale the newest box to 20mm along the Z axis.
  6. Nudge the newest box 2mm along the Y axis in the negative direction.
  7. Continue to next step.

Step 4: Grip

Picture of Grip

A slick piece of plastic will not have the traction we need to move the slide back and forth. We need to give our slide BITE! Lets add some teeth!

  1. Drag a roof from the geometric panel, place it on the workplane, and size it to be 4mm along the X axis, 20mm along the Y axis, and 2mm along the Z axis.
  2. Set the roof shape to be a hole.
  3. Rotate the roof 90° about the X axis in the negative direction (counter clockwise) and align it with the last box's lower limits along all three axes.
  4. Duplicate the roof and nudge the duplicate 4.5mm along the Z axis.
  5. Duplicate the duplicate 7 more time (so there are 9 copies, in total.) Smart duplicate should nudge the new duplicates for you.
  6. Continue to the next step

Step 5: Cam Lock

Picture of Cam Lock

Most switches you have ever used have two positions, on or off. Some may even have three or more positions. This switch will have three!

When you flip these switches, you can usually feel them POP in to place, making you feel confident it is in the position you want.

This is normally done with another cam and a spring. We're going to add some additional cams to lock the switch in to position.

We will also have a spring! We will use the paper/electronic piece to provide the spring for the cam switch.

  1. Drag a cylinder from the geometric panel, place it on the workplane, and size it to 2.5mm along the X axis, 2mm along the Y axis and 24mm along the Z axis.
  2. Duplicate the cylinder and nudge the duplicate 24mm along the X axis.
  3. Group these two cylinders and center the group to the last box along all axes.
  4. Nudge the group of cylinders 2.25mm along the Y axis in the positive direction.
  5. Group all these shapes.
  6. Continue to next step.

Step 6: Switch Body

Picture of Switch Body

We've finished the slider, now it's time to make the body of the switch.

The body will act as traintracks for the slide and as a protective housing for the delicate circuit.

  1. Drag a box from the geometric panel, place it on the workplane, and size it to 60mm along the X axis, 4mm along the Y axis, and 30mm along the Z axis.
  2. Duplicate this box and then size it to 6mm along the Y axis in the negative direction and 4.5mm along the Z axis.
  3. Duplicate this box and size it to 14mm along Y axis in the negative direction and 2.5mm along the Z axis.
  4. Duplicate this box and size it to be 4mm along the Z axis and 4.75mm along the Y axis in the positive direction.
  5. Group the last three boxes, but not the first.
  6. Continue to next step.

Step 7: Feed Slot

Picture of Feed Slot

We are going to make a feed slot for your paper circuit. Your paper will loop through the housing like a belt and the housing will hold it in position.

  1. Duplicate this new group and rotate this duplicate about the Y axis 180°.
  2. Align the duplicate to the box's upper Z axis limit.
  3. Drag a box from the geometric panel, place it on the workplane, and size it to 52mm along the X axis, 1.5mm along the Y axis, and 32mm along the Z axis.
  4. Turn this box in to a hole and center this hole box to the other box along all axes.
  5. Nudge the hole box 2.75mm along the Y axis in the negative direction.
  6. Continue to the next step

Step 8: Feed Slots

Picture of Feed Slots

Just two more slots!

  1. Duplicate this hole and rotate it 45° about the X axis in the negative (counter clockwise) direction and nudge it 10mm along the Z axis in the positive direction.
  2. Duplicate the original hole and rotate it 45° about the X axis in the positive (clockwise) direction and nudge it 10mm along the Z axis in the negative direction.
  3. Continue to the next step.

Step 9: Cam Lock Recievers

Picture of Cam Lock Recievers

Now, we've make cams on the slide to help give your switch discrete positions when you slide it.

But before this can work, we need to add position, or holes, to the body of the switch for the cams to pop in to.

To get the spacing and size just right, we're going to just copy the cams from the switch. That way, we'll know they fit!

  1. Duplicate the slide, ungroup the duplicate, and then delete all the parts of the duplicate except for the cams.
  2. Scale the cam group to 25mm along the Z axis.
  3. Duplicate the cam group and then nudge the duplicate 10mm along the X axis in the negative direction.
  4. Duplicate the original cam group and then nudge the duplicate 10mm along the X axis in the positive direction.
  5. Group the cams and then turn them in to a hole.

Step 10: Cam Lock Receivers 2

Picture of Cam Lock Receivers 2

Because the slide has two small cams, we'll need to make sure there are two receivers for the cams to fit in to for each position. However, for the two end positions, we want to share one of the receivers so the slide can only fit three different ways!

  1. Center the cam group to the original box shaped hole along all axes.
  2. Nudge the cam group 4.5mm along the Y axis in the negative direction.
  3. Group all the shapes that make up the switch body.
  4. Continue to the next step.

Step 11: Prepare for 3D Printing

Picture of Prepare for 3D Printing

We're going to reorient the slide and the body for the best 3D printing results. If we put them on end, they should print beautifully, despite their overhangs. None of these overhangs are very large or very steep so they don't need support. Make sure you turn support OFF!!! It'll just make a mess!

  1. Rotate the slide and the switch body 90° about the Y axis and then drop each to the workplane using the D button.
  2. Continue to the next step.

Step 12: Print Your Switch

Now that the switch design is done, you are ready to print your two switch pieces!

Make sure you do not use support material. Everything is self supporting

  1. From the design menu in the menu bar, click the 'Download for 3D Printing' button.
  2. Select the STL print option.
  3. Upload the file to your 3D printer.
  4. Print!
  5. Continue to the next step.

Step 13: Circuit Scribe Traffic Light

The plastic slide switch that you created will be combined with your Circuit Scribe traffic light.

In the video tutorial you will learn how to snap the two switch components together and use it to change the light from green to yellow to red!

In the next lesson you will learn to print the design we just made!

Next Lesson:Slide Switch 3DP

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