Have you ever fished at the bottom of your desk for power cords? I know I have. Over the years I have come up with different concoctions to remedy the situation including a very crude plywood piece with slots. But none have been this elegant and simple.
This solution is to design and 3D print custom holders for each of your plugs which you can stick where ever you think they will be most convenient. Using a generic design will work for most plugs but having a custom design will make your solution much more neat and tidy.
Step 1: Design Measurements
This will greatly depend on the shape and size of you plug. I designed one for a circular plug and one for a rectangular one. Following are some measurements you would want to make.
- Dimensions of the cross section which you want to fit in the holder.
- Height of the strain relief.
- Thickness of the wire.
With these measurements, you can head into the CAD design part of the build.
Step 2: CAD Design
I used Solid Works but you can use which ever software you feel comfortable with. If you are a beginner at CAD, I would recommend Auto Desk Fusion 360. Its free for non commercial usage and capable of a lot of the advanced features. Here is a link to their website. This is a simple enough design that it can be a great first crack at CAD design. Believe me, I was very scared of CAD when I first started out but when I got into it, I got the hang of it pretty quickly.
All the software operate in more or less the same way. You first start with a sketch and then extrude it. I started with a circle and couple of rectangles. I dimensioned them based on the measurements i took. Its a good idea to make a little bigger than the actual dimension to ensure a comfortable fit. You would have to play with it a little to get it just as you like but I suggest going 0.5 mm larger on the measured dimensions. You can follow your gut on the rest and do what looks and feels right.
I would suggest making the opening for the wire, which is smaller rectangle, a little smaller than the wire so that it doesn't slip out easily. But this depends on how you are planning on using it.
Next you will remove the lines you dont need and add curves to some of the edges. Extrude the sketch to the height of the strain relief and then add some finishing fillets. And you are all done. Export them as .stl and move on to printing.
Step 3: 3D Printing
Next you will 3D print the model you just made. If you already own a 3D printer, that's great. I am sure you can handle the printing part. If you dont have a 3D printer, search for a maker space in your area. There are so many of them now that you are bound to find some in your area. If cant find any, you can always use online facilities who offer 3D printing. Here are link to a few of them. 3D HubsShapewaysSculpteo
Step 4: Sanding and Sticking
Now all that is left is to sand the back part flat and stick it on to the surface. If your print comes with a smooth surface finish, you don't need to sand but I print on a raft and the surface doesn't grip adhesive that well. Hence the sanding. Use some Scotch or other quality double sided tape to stick your cord holder to where ever you want to hold the cord. And you are done.
Step 5: Conclusion
This is a fun and simple project to do to make your space just a little more better and efficient. I realized some things I could improve on this such as having a tighter cord entry point so that it doesn't just slip out. I am sure you can find a place for such a solution in your workspace. I hope you found this little guide helpful. As always, comment you thoughts and improvements. Until the next one, peace.