Making an enclosure for AD2


#1

I just got started here at CE and received my Analog Discovery 2 + BNC kit in the mail yesterday. As this was Yet Another Bare Board sitting on the bench, something needed to be done! Here’s what I’ve knocked together:

Download

You can download the STLs and Sketchup source model from Thingiverse here.

Models

There are two parts to this model. The file Analog Discovery 2 BNC base.stl snaps over the feet on the AD2 to hold it in place and provides a platform for the BNC Adapter Board. This leaves the top of the BNC Adapter Board exposed for easy access while still providing a rigid platform for the two devices while assembled. It also braces the BNC connectors a little to help reduce strain on the PCB as cables are plugged/unplugged from the device.

The file Analog Discovery 2 BNC cover.stl fits over the BNC Adapter Board to provide additional rigidity, completely enclosures the BNC connectors for maximum strain relief, and leaves the top open for access to the jumpers (but making them a little harder to reach). The cover is optional.

Assembly

This enclosure will require 4 x M3 nuts press fit into the bottom of the base, and either qty 4 M3x10mm screws if you’re just using the base, or qty 4 M3x25mm Socket Cap screws if using the top. I picked up this set a while back that has worked well for me.

Printing

Printed with Atomic Filament Bright White Opaque PETG Pro. I’d strongly recommend using PETG for this print as you’ll need a little bit of flex to snap the Analog Discovery 2 device into the retaining clips (problematic with PLA), and you’ll also want the dimensions to be reasonably accurate (problematic with ABS).

This model was printed at .15mm on a Prusa MK2.5S.

Background

I bought a 3D printer a couple years ago for the express purpose of making enclosures for all the bare boards I had kicking around. While print quality can be pretty darn good with a well-made and well-tuned printer, it still won’t match the overall fit and finish you’d see from an injection molded part. So, if you can work with an existing enclosure by making simple modifications you’ll probably find project boxes an easy solution to implement for nice looking results.

The (obvious) benefit to 3D printing is that you can design custom enclosures specifically for your own projects. However - this requires being able to effectively use 3D design tools. I run into a lot of people who buy a 3D printer but never learn to model in 3D, which is kinda like buying a regular paper printer but never learning how to make your own documents. Fine for printing out stuff other people made but… you’re missing the primary value. Being able to knock out enclosures custom fit to spec is crazy handy if you take the time to learn the tools!


Project box question
#2

Brilliant. That looks very good so far. Like others I have had mixed success with a 3D printer partly by being useless with the CAD software. The scope board for the Analog Discovery 2 screams out for something like this. The multi-way connector is all well and good but I never like things wobbling around in the breeze as Dave J would say. This would look particularly good with a clear print.

A big thumbs up of encouragement from me. BTW what 3D software are you using? Maybe it will be something I can make proper progress with.


#3

I’ve been using Sketchup for ages as it’s very popular with the woodworking crowd. That said, I wouldn’t recommend it for 3D printing, there are several problems with the core functionality that make it poorly suited for print requiring workarounds and constant checking of the model. If I didn’t already know how to use it, I wouldn’t be using it.

Autodesk Fusion360 is free for non-commercial use and for commercial use up to $100k revenue. It integrates well with Eagle if you’re into that sort of thing (I’m not, KiCad is why I’m here). It also provides a CAM solution which makes it much better suited for a project I’ve built and which I’m using to build a larger version.

F360 has become the community standard of sorts in the 3D print world in the last year or so, and as a result there’s a lot of educational material on youtube/etc to walk you through it.

edit: if you like watching paint dry then boy do I have a treat for you, livestream 3d printing!


#4

I like Fusion360 as well. The EAGLE integration is interesting, but I think the STEP export should allow working within it just as well, with a few extra steps. Those extra steps aren’t worth the switch to EAGLE, obviously :slight_smile:

I like the idea of a case for the AD2! You’re looking to protect it from the cruft of the bench? Or simply have a better solution for transporting?


#5

For the AD2 BNC thing I’m mostly looking to reduce strain on the pin header and BNC connectors as they’re otherwise kinda flopping around. Blocking out foreign object debris from the board is the typical reason I’m doing something like this, but as I need access to the jumpers on top it’s going to need a big hole in the top which kinda negates the FOD argument. Maybe a project to design a PCB that slots onto those jumpers on the bottom and 4 push-button toggle switches up top might be a solution down the road :smiley:

For now, I have one last print to run and I should be ready to drop the STLs onto Thingiverse later today. I’ve designed the case to work with just the base platform which will provide the needed rigidity, or with an additional top piece for the BNC board to add yet more rigidity and protect the internals a little bit and maybe make it look a little more like a completed project.

Sadly the embossed CE logo isn’t really working out as the line detail is a little too fine for my Prusa to replicate :frowning:

I think this should be the final model. I’ll post a thread here about it once it’s tested and available for download.


#6

Awesome, I’d love to try it out! My printer has been woefully underutilized (shocker, I’m sure)


#7

I was watching your intro video about the AD2 and you mentioned wanting a case for it and then well… one thing lead to another and here we are. I think this means you are now obligated to dust off that printer and print it out, because this is entirely your fault :stuck_out_tongue: