Intro: 3D-printed Strain Relief for Apple 60W Magsafe Power Supply
The original Magsafe power connector for the MacBook series is pretty slick. It offers a choice of wall plug or long cord and the quick-disconnect connector makes this an especially attractive item.
Until it breaks.
That unfortunately can happen if tripped over or yanked on too frequently. When it breaks, you need to pull the connector apart to solder wires back in place.
Step 1: An Old Problem
When the connections inside this magsafe connector went bad, the only solution was to pull it apart and fix it, which broke the cover. It could have been repaired with spit and chewing gum but, hey, there's a 3D printer in my office, and when the only tool you have is a printrbot, everything looks like an opportunity for stereolithography.
If you're looking to repair the connections, joecap5 offers help.
Step 2: A New Shell
After taking a few basic measurements, I created a series of prototypes in Sketchup Make, exported them in STL format and printed them on the printrbot in white ABS. Each prototype refined a measurement, tested an idea, confirmed a decision, and brought the design closer to its end.
Step 3: Anatomy of a New Part
The cyan/aqua surfaces roughly match the interior dimensions of the old shell,
The two orange nubs catch the metal tabs on the back of the magsafe connector board, and keep it anchored in the shell.
The shell is thinned at the green circular depressions, to allow light from the indicator LED to shine through. It's not so necessary when the shell is printed in white ABS, which is fairly translucent.
Yellow marks the path of the cable, providing strain relief as it passes through and around the chamber.
The red surfaces mate, forming the connector shell and cable strain relief. The tooth-and-socket pattern that separates the two chambers keeps the halves from sliding.
The hole (blue) passes through the part, and is sized for a 3/8" #4 self-tapping screw (which to be honest, is a little long).
Step 4: Installation, and Done!
The connector gets fitted into the open end of the shell, and the cable is wrapped round the inner post, then out through the corner. The mirror-image half is added, and a 3/8" #4 self-tapping screw holds the two halves together.