Still kind of on my 3D printing kick, except for two roadblocks. The first is that I’m out of resin. I spilled what little I had (into a safety bucket) when attempting to empty the printing vat back into the resin container. I must not have had as good a handle on the filtered funnel as I thought I did, and though I was able to clean up the mess, I could not salvage the spilled liquid.
Second issue is that I need a larger printer. I have managed to print some minis, which came out pretty OK; not pro-grade-printer quality, but I’d use ’em because I’m Basic like that. I could carry on printing small statues and whatnot, but I feel that I need to up my game in order to make this whole printing thing worthwhile.
For a while now, I’ve been playing Star Citizen with both the GameGlass tablet software and a few, more immediate commands set up on my StreamDeck. To be honest, I prefer the StremDeck because it’s more responsive, and I don’t have to work hard to customize it. One concern that’s started plaguing me ever since I’ve been expanding my “simpit” setup — reach. The iPad sits atop a damn near invincible armature which is clamped to the left side of my desk, and right now, the StreamDeck is strapped to the extended arm of my right flight stick’s mounting bracket.
This works OK, but the forward-and-down placement of the SD sometimes makes it difficult to get to, as I either have to reach around the right side of the stick or pull my arm back and reach around the left side. “You’re an idiot,” you might be thinking. “That’s a problem?” I use the buttons on the SD all the time, so I’m constantly ducking here and there to stab a button, and it’s just ugh [Rolls eyes in First World Sim Pilot Problems].
I went looking for a 3D printed holder for the SD, but while there are a lot of projects out there, there’s not a lot that fit my particular circumstance. I’ve seen holders which clamp to keyboards, and to desks, and a whole lot which are made to attach to more “professional” mounting systems like those from Monstertech. I have a cheap knockoff called (snickering required) J-PEIN which works extremely well, but it’s not designed to work with Monstertech and similar modules (although it really could).
I found a SD mounting opion that I really liked, though, so I downloaded the STL file and decided to see if I could make modifications to it to work kinda with my system.
I had some extra pieces that came with my mounts, so I added them to the left stick for testing (the right has the SD bracket firmly attached, so I wasn’t going to remove it).
These rails have a single, squared channel cut into them, opening along one side. Any items to be mounted use short, heavy-duty screws with square nuts (snickering required). The nuts slide into the channels so when the bolts are tightened, the module is securely attached.
I added two upright posts to the left mounting bracket with the channels facing outwards. There is a distance of 60mm between the outside of the two uprights, so that’s how wide my custom bracket would have to be.
Here’s one part of the original STL, downloaded from Printables.com.
The SD fits in there, and there’s a nice, beveled cover that sandwiches it in. The original project has a bracket which attaches to the back of this, which in turn attaches to this guy:
The two-hole riser attaches to the Monstertech railing, while the intermediate bracket screws into the singular hole on the horizontal arm (this is technically upside-down from how it’s supposed to be used). This wasn’t going to work for me (…or so I thought), so I went over to Blender to see what I could put together.
Here’s the part I care about: the container for the SD. What worried me the most was how to ensure that whatever I made would scale accordingly, because I could not re-scale the original design, as it had been made to accommodate the SD with all the proper measurements.
In Blender, Under the Scene tab, I could change the “units”. Blender is unit-agnostic, and only offers measurements to give you a vague Idea of how to keep things proportional. It doesn’t care whether they are inches, feet, meters, or millimeters. I had opened the original bracket file in TinkerCAD, which does care about units, and verified some key values so when I got to Blender and adjusted the unit settings as seen above, resizing items in Blender matched them up to the originals as expected.
After some futzing around with different ideas, I came up with this:
Because the original model was all tris, I had to erase some edges and separate a face to get a clean geometry to work with. The inner distance between the two brackets is 60mm (actually about 59.9-something millimeters), and each bracket is 2mm thick — this is based on measuring the length of the screws plus the nuts that need to be used to fasten this to the rails. The whole object was re-exported as a copy of the original.
Unfortunately, when I loaded the model into Lychee, I was greeted with this:
The print is too damn big for my current printer, which really sucks.
I thought about it a bit, and looked over at my test setup with the left flight stick and realized that I didn’t have to do all of this.
Remember this guy?
This is the way it was intended to be used:
After a few seconds of trying to connect what I was seeing to what I was seeing, I realized that if I only secured one rail to my stick mount, I could attach this bracket to the side of that rail, effectively creating this (mock-up for visualization purposes):
A single rail is pretty sturdy, and since the original, untouched design looks like it can swivel a bit, I could get the whole thing not just secured at a height I want it at (somewhere at the top of the flight stick, and not near the base like it is now), but it’s also more to one side of the entire mounted assembly, making it easier to reach.
I had actually spent about 2 hours redesigning the original mount, but in the end had I looked at it a bit longer, and realized what I had already at my disposal, I could have saved myself the effort. On the up-side, I might be able to print the original project if I can re-orient the parts properly.