First of all: Sorry for random thoughts and bad english. This is not my first language and I am trying to sort my thoughts on this project with this post. It know it might be a far stretch to find someone who has experience with this exact thing, but I would love to hear ideas and thoughts from you guys, even if you did not use the material or printing method before. Maybe you have a completely different idea.
I am planning on a custom case for my niz plum84 for a long time now. I did think about a lot of materials and methods for creating it and was changing the design to accommodate for production process needs a long the way. But I always come back to the question: Why not 3d print it?
My thoughts about 3d printing the case:
- It should have a nice surface finish (not the FDM layer lines)
- Sound good (How would someone now that before the assembled keyboard)
- It should be sturdy
- Should be possible to print in mostly one piece (so no glueing it together)
- It should be somewhat affordable. Maybe below $130.
I am a programmer and I am working on an experience type of exhibition. For this project I designed and printed a piece which will be held by many people that will visit the exhibition and therefore will need to handle a lot of torture. From my research I found that nylon is one of the more resistant materials to print with, so I printed a first prototype with Polyamid SLS at i.materialize (I think it is based in the UK). It came out great. It has a somewhat smooth, but grainy surface. Not as smooth as pieces from a SLA printer I saw before, but still a nice looking finish and it feels nice in the hands. Some layer lines are visible but they are not as pronounced as with a standard FDM print. It also was not too expensive and with SLS Polyamid they offer a bigger build volume than what is available for SLA.
Detail shot of the prototype print
Finally my question: Does someone have experience printing a case with this material?
- Did you encounter problems with shrinkage or other warping?
- How thick did you go with the material?
- How does the material affect the sound of your keyboard?
And maybe some questions for everyone with 3d printing experience: What is your go-to-method for assembling multiple parts? Screws? Magnets? Clips that are included in the printed part?