This page is about my excursions into 3D solid modelling in general, and specifically about designing a number of radio-related widgets to help organize my shack a bit better. There are a lot of little electronic items around my shack that typically end up either sitting loose on the desk or dangling behind the radio. The models described below will help make things neater and fixed in place.
I started using DIN rails at KU7R a while ago for a number of radio and wiring things, so this is a natural starting point for this journey. These are a good way to neaten things and dress the wiring and interfaces between the many devices.
These are being designed to be used in both my KU7R and VE6TD stations.
DIN Rail Clip
This is the base DIN rail bracket that I found on GrabCAD, and I added a two-hole pattern on the top surface to use to mount the other device brackets I plan to design and print. It is 18mm wide, so it is stable for small devices, or it can be used in pairs to mount wider or heavier devices.
MPPT Solar Charge Controller mount
In my radio room, I am adding solar charging for the shack batteries. This is a bracket I’m designing for the charge controller.
A lot of my radio and power accessories are already DIN rail-mounted at my KU7R station, so this controller made sense to also mount that way. There are two of these brackets for strength and stability, as the controller is almost 8 inches wide.
Powerwerx Power Meter bracket
Another radio power accessory is a power meter display to track and show the entire radio system power usage. This also allows the meter to always be in an easily viewable position.
Buck/Boost Converter bracket
The remote antenna controller interface is based on an ESP32 that requires 5 volts. This converter provides the correct voltage the the microcontroller and the relay board.
The x-bracket is modelled entirely using predefined parameters. This was a new concept for me, and now allows this same model to be modified in a split second to accommodate almost any board size; all I need to do is enter the length and width measured at the screw mounting holes and the bracket is adjusted accordingly to fit.
Looking further at this x-bracket concept, I look at the various little projects on my desk and started to see that this parametric bracket design makes a lot of sense to use for other boards. This is now dubbed the “VE6TD Mounting System.”
In addition, since none of my prototype boards are enclosed, one of the risks stems from the fact that the bottom PCB traces are exposed. Accidentally touching a pair of pliers with the bottom of an energized board may not have a pleasant outcome.
The answer is to make a PCB holder following the same design as the DIN brackets above, but without the need to screw onto a DIN rail bracket. I also opted to add pins to the arms for the PCB screw holes to sit on instead of screwing the board onto the bracket.
The ‘x’ part of the bracket can sit easily on the workbench and raises the board up enough to avoid unplanned contact with wires or tools.
To build these, I enter the center to center hole distance for the length and the width, and the screw hole diameter into the parameter table, and the the model is instantly resized for the board, ready to be exported, sliced, and printed.
OpenSpot 2 bracket
I have an OpenSpot 2 that looks to be a good candidate to mount on a DIN rail also. The hard part of designing this mount is that the OpenSpot is made up of a number of curved surfaces. The only straight part is the bottom surface. Everything else is compound curves. This requires a new set of techniques that I need to learn and practice.
My design plan calls for the OpenSpot to sit at 90 degrees to the rail, and using the common DIN rail bracket from above. The bracket is a saddle of sorts, oriented with the USB cable at the top. In order to keep the OpenSpot from sliding out, I added a little clip that goes onto the molded groove where the OpenSpot opens up. To further index the device into the proper position, I added is a little post that engages into the lanyard hole near the bottom of the OpenSpot. Between those features and the friction against the case, it will be held securely in place. The model and my trial print look very promising.
The model so far looks like this.
Below is the end result. The clip profile is a really good tight fit to the OpenSpot, and the rear retainer clip does a good job holding the OpenSpot firmly in place.
Technically, with the bracket’s 2-hole pattern that attaches to the DIN bracket, it is possible to design a different mount such as a belt clip, for example. That is an exercise best left to the reader.
Other Projects in Play
The battery enclosure faceplate story is documented here
Plus, I have two more projects currently on the table.
The first is an enclosure for the Morse Tutor kits that’ll improve, in my opinion, on the two existing public designs I’ve seen out there.
The other is an enclosure for the battery load tester mentioned in the battery pack build pages. This load tester display enclosure is what got me started with 3D modelling in the first place, and it is because of this design that I started down this path with Fusion 360.
All of these items are in addition to the few little items I designed for the battery pack project.
There will be more, I’m sure…