Why the hoopla over a humble door-bell button? I mean you can grab one for as low as $3.99 from home depot. The problem is finding something to retro-fit the existing one. Our doorbell kept disintegrating with every press of a guest or halloween vagabond, and I was looking for an excuse to explore how to design and print a custom model of something; the doorbell afforded a perfect opportunity.
Along the way, i discovered a whole eco-system of tools ready to come to the rescue! So in the spirit of the sharing economy, I decided to publish my first instructable showing what I learnt along the way.
Step 1: Remove the Existing Doorbell
I mean, you've gotta take it off the wall first :)
Unscrew the doorbell from the wall.
Unscrew the terminals powering the doorbell. Mine was wired with a red and black wire.
Mark the wire polarities (R) for Red and (B) for Black in my case...and also the orientation of the door bell (T)op and (B)ottom
Step 2: Remove the Doorbell Button
The button is located on the top side of the circuit board, so it has to be removed to extract the button.
My doorbell had a couple of 'rivets' holding the circuit board down. Use a screw-driver to pry the rivets apart to remove the door bell.
Step 3: Make a Model of the Button and Print
I realize this step is rather huge, and you need access to a 3D printer or a 3D print service. I used tinkerCAD to create a model of the button. Here is the link to my particular file. TinkerCAD is amazing, in that it is totally web-based and you can import and export STL files. I knew nothing about it and was able to get up and running in a couple of hours. I used a pair of calipers I got from amazon to accurately measure and create the model in TinkerCAD. I exported the STL file to my 3D printer software to print out the new button.
Step 4: Put It All Together
After the button printed, simply reverse the steps to reinstall the bell back
Step 5: Epilogue
....and it all worked without a flaw....
wish I could say that!
Once I put it back together, the bell worked well, but I had somehow managed to damage the bulb that lit the door-bell; Also, when I attempted to access the board, I broke the circuit board clean in 2.
So this story will continue...and I will hopefully put together another instructable in how to rescue this board and bulb...I already learnt that the voltage to my doorbell is 20VAC and ...also, replacement bulbs are not easy to find. The closest one I could find was here, for only a dollar, but shipping is 7 bucks!
Another delicious problem to solve...maybe use cheap white LEDs instead? Challenge will be how to cheaply tame the 20VAC!
Anyways, IF you are careful you will not have additional problems to solve :)...but whats the fun in that?? :)
Till Next time.