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3D Printing - "It's all about design and quality output. Not how fast the printer can run."

DSC07542Keyboard Solution

The fun part of inventing is creating exactly what is desired for a particular application. Inventing is discovering a need and finding a way to fulfill that need. I recently did that sitting here at my computer.

I often pull out the drawer in front of the screen to prop the keyboard at an angle and at a lower position than setting flat on top of the desk surface. It works well in that position and I decided I needed a more reliable system.

If I moved the drawer out a bit too much, the keyboard would flop down flat on the drawer. If I push the drawer in too much, the keyboard was forced up at a poor angle for typing. Looking at the pictures, the problem can bee seen.

When the keyboard was at the proper position, the keyboard cord coming out the top of the keyboard is what provided the top edge support. This isn’t a good long tern task for the cord.

I studied the setup for awhile and decided I needed some sort of support brackets to hold the keyboard at the proper angle and not require a critical drawer position.

I immediately realized I could 3D print the needed supports.

I sketched an initial design and took critical measurements. I wanted a U shaped bracket that would slide down over the side edge of the drawer. Depth would be limited by the drawer slides mounted on the sides, So I designed a tab that protrudes along the front edge of the drawer that will stabilize the bracket from tipping. I need both a left and a right bracket that would be mirror images of each other.

I also wanted a design that would print well on the 3D printer. The U channel is the only area requiring printing support.

I created the 3 dimensional drawing using Autodesk Fusion 360. It produces very reliable STL files for 3D printing.

The first example I printed was a bit warped and due to plastic shrinkage and the U channel was a bit too narrow. I made adjustments to my dimensions and chose a plastic with less warping tendency.

The second attempt was a perfect fit as I had envisioned. I mirrored the STL file on the 3D printer and produced the companion bracket. With one trial and two additional prints I created exactly what I desired.

The brackets are no-tip and clip securely to the edges of the drawer. They prevent pushing the drawer too far in and will continue to support the keyboard when the drawer is pulled out too far. Mission accomplished!

A411 keyboard ramp v5
The usual very rough dimensional/idea sketch. Dimensions subject to change This is the final working drawing produced in Fusion 360. An STL file produced from this.
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Original way I positioned keyboard on the pull out drawer. The cable was the main support at the top. Not a good use for the cable.
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With the drawer pulled out farther, the keyboard would lay flat. Not the most comfortable for me. The finished 3 D printed brackets. Only one drawing required. Flipped (mirror) image in printer to make left and right brackets.
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Depth limited by side slide brackets. Front tab to increase stability. Both brackets fit snugly on drawer sides. Very stable and secure mounting.
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Showing how keyboard sits on brackets. All strain is off the keyboard cable.
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Keyboard renmains stable even with drawer pulled out. Flat sided design easy to produce on 3D printer.

The Author

Ramblin' Dan Kautz

dankautzThere is no doubt one of my hobbies is writing about my hobbies. I read somewhere a long time ago, the best things to write about are the things you know very well. I have been writing and publishing long before the personal computer became the tool of choice.  My first printed and published club newsletter was created in the late 60's.

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Our Mission

The intention of this web site and “Ramblin’ Dan’s 3D Print Design Studio” is to promote creative design thinking and demonstrate how ideas can be changed to tangible creations through the proper application and use of Three-Dimensional Printing systems.

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