Spring 2017 capstone project from our group in the 3D printing and design class known as CSE 1012 at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.
- Nathan Borowick
- Samuel Newell
- Ethan Och
- John Sampson
- Multiple angles relative to the horizontal in which to position the phone.
- Multiple interlocking positions in which to secure the phone.
- Horizontal or vertical phone orientation.
- Forward and backward facing filming capabilities.
- Easy set-up-and-forget timelapse filming process.
- Custom supports to lessen material waste.
- Phone charging port for exceptionally long timelapse videos.
- Minnesota branding!
Informative 4-minute video on the creation, purpose, and evolution of our project:
SMARTPHONE TIMELAPSE STAND
Ethan Och, John Sampson, Nathan Borowick, Samuel Newell
Hello everyone! So this is our 3D-printed project, the Timelapse Phone Stand. There is a lack of adequate equipment for taking a timelapse of a 3D print, so our goal was to generate a stand accessible by most major smartphones for taking a timelapse video of 3D prints. A brief description of our project is it has a unique ladder design, the total printing time was thirteen hours, it took 172 grams of plastic, the height was 200 mm, the width was 100 mm, and the total length was 230 mm.
We had three main prototypes as we developed our project. The first prototype we started had a few problems: the base was unstable and wobbly which made the timelapse shaky, also there was no way to access the screen, which made it impossible to adjust settings during a timelapse. The last major issue with our first prototype was that the support beam's rut was too shallow and too narrow, which made it unstable. We fixed a lot of these issues with the first prototype in our second version: we extended the base which improved stability, we created openings in the phone holder to make the phone screen accessible, and we widened the support beam. But we ran into a couple more problems with prototype two: the pin clip was too loose and constantly fell off, and the phone holder was oriented upside-down by accident. Our final prototype addressed the flaws of prototype two: we redesigned the pin into one piece that didn't need a clip and was much more secure, we also reoriented the phone holder so that it was the right way up, and we also decided to add a charging port to the bottom of the phone holder because some prints take a very long time and we did not want the phones to run out of battery. Our final design is a very convenient and usable smartphone timelapse stand.
There were three main challenges that we had to overcome while designing and printing this project. The first was printing an adjustable design in rigid plastic. This was overcome through the unique ladder structure, with rungs that served as different phone mounting positions. The second challenge was keeping the fill density low to limit print time. This problem was overcome by choosing a lower-than-normal fill density, but at the same time making sure that it wasn't so low that we were losing structural integrity. The third challenge was that the STL-slicing application that we used, which was Cura, wanted to use an unreasonable amount of support for the phone holder part. To overcome this challenge, we designed our own supports that could be cleanly snapped off during post-processing. This saved on both print time as well as filament used.
(Short demonstration of the project in action.)
Now I will demonstrate how to set up the phone stand. First you take the upper ladder, line it up with the base, and slide the pin in to lock it into place. Next you take the support beam, and set it up so the ladder stands up. Then you take the phone holder, put it into place, and just slide your phone in.
THANKS FOR WATCHING!
Print the parts exactly as they are oriented in the STL files. No supports should be necessary. The only part that needs supports (the phone holder) has manually designed supports in place so as to limit the print time as well as the amount of wasted plastic. However, brim supports are recommended to secure the parts to the build plate during the first few layers of the printing process.
Removing the Manual Supports
After the print is complete and the phone holder part has been removed from the print bed, the manual supports need to be removed to enable full functionality of the entire assembly. There are two approaches to this:
- Snap the supports off at the correct location by bending. Sometimes this works better by using something sharp to cut and weaken the bend location prior to bending.
- Stabilize the rest of the part and use a sharp tool to effectively saw the supports off. Be careful not to apply so much pressure that the phone holder splits down the middle.
View of the phone holder part with the manual supports easily visible.
View of the phone holder part with the manual supports removed.
Printing 2 of the 5 parts. These are the hinged ladder parts.
Printing 3 of the 5 parts. These are the phone-holding and interlocking components.