The Adafruit RFID Breakout Board Wand for MakerBot

by Miax, published

The Adafruit RFID Breakout Board Wand for MakerBot by Miax May 19, 2013
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UPDATE! I apologize! I uploaded the wrong back-end model yesterday, and just realized it last night when I tried to print it! :o I've uploaded the right models now, tested and working as of Tues 5/21/13. :)

This is a wand/protector for the Adafruit RFID Breakout Board that I'm using in my RiderScan project: http://www.adafruit.com/products/364

It's one of the best RFID/NFC breakout boards around, and since I'll be using mine in a Horse Barn environment, I needed an enclosure that could stand up to wear and tear, as well as be functional and easy to use. This is my 2nd attempt to make such an enclosure using Blender and my trust MakerBot Replicator - I have ideas for a 3rd design in the works now.

The board is made by Kevin Townsand of Adafruit, and is a particularly well-made product - really ahead of it's time. Branded with both the Adafruit and MakerBot logo's, this is my Nod to both of these fabulous companies - some of the best modelling I think I've done to date, and I hope the community finds it useful for your projects as well :)

And of course, you know where to find the MakerBot Replicator!! http://www.makerbot.com

I'm making updates to the handle today, and will post a new version soon!



I created the models such that they will firmly connect together, and yet pull-apart again when you need to access the internals. You may want to add one or more rubber o-rings around the outside to make it waterproof.

  1. The models can be printed in any type of plastic, ABS or PLA works great. It's designed for single extrusion. The two .STL models are saved in the exact position that you need to print it as, but just in case:

1a. The front model (with the Adafruit logo) is printed on it's Side (either side will do). You'll notice the sides are smooth, just put that on the platform and it will print.

1b. The back/handle model is printed on it's end, with the base or hilt of the handle sitting on the platform so that it's standing upright.

  1. Solder a set of 90 degree bend header to the breakout board (like these: http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/M20-9960645/952-2247-ND/3728211)

  2. Make sure to solder the SEL0 and SEL1 pins on the breakout board (don't use header here, you need the board to remain as flat as possible to fit into the front-end. For default/SPI use, solder the two OFF pins for SEL0, and the two ON pins for SEL1.

  3. Once printed, simply insert the Adafruit RFID breakout board into the slot designed for it on the Front-End of the model and push it all the way in. It's a snug fit, and that's intentional.

  4. If you want to add the optional LEDs, push them through the openings on both sides and run the wires through the center of the handle. As in the pictures, I found it useful to solder male header onto the ends so that I can adjust which pin plugs into where on the Arduino end at the controller more easil.

  5. Connect the wires onto the header on the RFID board and LEDs, and run the wires through the handle. Use waterproof wire connectors if you plan to use this outdoors (like: http://www.adafruit.com/products/744)

Your good to go! I will update these instructions with the Adafruit forum post that shows how to wire it all together, but for now you can look at the RiderScan prototype post for details on how I plan to use it. http://forums.adafruit.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=22139

Thanks and let me know if you have any feedback!! :)

Good luck!


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This is awesome. I see the LED with 4 leads. What do you use the LED for, and why 4 leads?

This is awesome what printer did you use??

StupidQ - Did you use the new Blender 2.67 for this model??

No actually I'm on Blender 2.62, just checked.. I need to upgrade!! (lol), thanks for letting me know. :)

You're welcome. I mention it cause of the included 3d printing toolbox add-on(file/user pref's/add-on/3/4's of the way down check box.)