I recently got a 3D printer. This is a big deal. I’ve wanted one since attending university 20 *cough* years ago where I discovered SLA rapid prototyping. Back then the concept of being able to imagine anything I wanted and then create it out immediately and automatically out of plastic was mind-blowing. Truth be told, now I have one, the magic hasn’t been lost.
So now the huge backlog of projects I’ve had in my head ‘if only I had a 3D printer‘ can finally start to emerge. If you’re reading this Sugru, that also includes the sponsored project I still haven’t finished! I’ve made a few things since getting it a couple of weeks ago but the first once I’m choosing to write about here is this Vivoactive cradle wall charger.
Both my wife and I have Garmin Vivoactive 3 smartwatches. I’m a bit “weird” about wires and them looking untidy so both us having our watches dangling from a wall socket created an itch in my head that I’m now finally able to scratch.
The first design was a print in one go single part concept which had a few issues. The intent is to use an easily acquired USB plug with the official charging cable so that others can also make this if they wish. The plug I used is an Apple-style one, something those close to me will know hurts my soul, but it’s the smallest and cheapest available.
Printing it in one go meant the most sensible orientation on the print bed was upside down. This meant the surface most visible when in use had to be supported to allow for the watch location arcs. As you can see in the images the top surface came out looking pretty terrible because of this.
It was also very difficult to get the charging cable into the channel I created for it and awkward to access in such a small space with just your fingers. Even with a set of pliers it was pretty much impossible to get the cable inserted.
All in all, not what I wanted so… back to the drawing board!
This time I decided not to aim for something that could be printed in one piece, this removed a lot of previous constraints on the design. It also meant I could orient the pieces so the most visible surfaces were a top or bottom wall. The front could be face down on the printing bed for maximum quality.
As you can see, this design is far more refined. The top plate slides in from the back and then is secured in place when the back part, which contains the plug, is screwed on. This means the cable can be inserted easily and securely into the top of the Vivoactive cradle (I added some superglue but this probably wasn’t necessary). The remainder of the cable can then be stored inside.
I had a few issues with the print. It was a 10 hour over night job and suffers from some surface abberations. At first I thought these were Z-wobble but I’m not actually sure, I had to reprint the back piece as I didn’t put enough clearance for the plug the first time and the abberations were the same even though I rotated the part on the bed. Perhaps an issues in the g-code?
The whole design is much bigger but looks in proportion (I think at least) with the watch in place. All in all, it’s much tidier now and far more convenient. If you want one of your own you can get the Vivoactive cradle parts down below. If you won’t have a printer but really want one of these I can do that for you too. Happy making.