Tuesday Two-Fer: Battery Cases and ABS Lettering

These are both interesting, unrelated, and can’t quite stand on their own so we threw them into one post.

On the left you see the product of using toner transfer on ABS plastic. [Bogdan] tried this out as a way to make front panels for his enclosures. It really shouldn’t work very well because ABS has a lower melting point than toner does. But it seems that it takes a while for the ABS to heat up. If you’re quick, ironing for about 10 seconds, you can get the toner to stick to the plastic and then soak the paper off, leaving your printed design looking nice and clean.

To the right you see a printed battery case. [Nikolaus Gradwohl] ran across the same problem we’ve face many times: how to attach batteries to your projects? We’ve duct-taped them together, used the blister packs they’re sold in, Dremeled them out of thrift-store toys and just about every other thing you can imagine. He decided to make them easy to manufacture with a 3D-printer. This is accomplished with an OpenSCAD file he wrote. Plug in the size and number of batteries and a printable package will be automatically generated.

Comments

  1. nes says:

    That toner transfer onto plastic is very neat. I wonder if it would work as well with color toner onto black abs.

  2. IsotopeJ says:

    I’ve had great results transferring toner to powder-coated surfaces too. The powdercoating and toner melt together so it’s really durable.

    I wonder how much the plastic costs to print a battery pack like that. (really, I have no idea what it costs to run a makerbot) I’m sure it’s cheaper to just buy a battery holder. But I know the motivation here isn’t to save money, so I appreciate the project. It’s probably also a nice resource for makerbot owners who might have just ran out of their last AA holder.

  3. JC says:

    Good idea with the toner transfer, I may be able to use that sometime… Not sure how many of us have a 3D printer to make our own battery cases though.

    Nice post though.

  4. Urza says:

    @IsotopeJ: May be more expensive than buying one online, but I doubt it costs more than getting one locally, especially if your only option is RadioShack. Those guys will charge $2 or more for a single battery holder. And if you need something like 3 AAs, you’re screwed – you’ll have to buy two, and it’s gonna be close to $5. If you keep a supply of plastic for your Makerbot, I can see this being cheaper to get one _right now_ than going to a store.

  5. Makerbot plastic need not be expensive. You can use recycled milk jugs:

    http://blog.makerbot.com/2010/08/03/recyclebot-makes-hdpe-for-your-makerbot-from-milk-jugs/

  6. fartface says:

    Many craft stores sell Tshirt silk screen kits.

    Silk screening works on Project boxes as well. I use the Tshirt kits to make case or panel silk screenings.

  7. osgeld says:

    Urza, they cost 99 cents for the single and double models, maybe 2 bucks for a 3X AAA

    um yep 2 bucks

    http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2102735

    please keep your bull to yourself we can look at radioshack prices too

  8. Mikey says:

    @Osgeld that’s online… I’ve bot tons of battery cases at radio shack — you have to deal with the fact that they never have the one you need. You may well be stuck with buying two $2 cases (1 AA + 2 AA)… plus they have different models of the same cases, the cheap ones are always gone, some of the cases are $3 or more… I’ve spent $8+ around halloween to get a 6 C cell holder… (2x 2 cell + 2x 1 cell — that’s all they had in stock!)

  9. bogdan says:

    @nes I don’t know if color toner will work on black, but it should work on white(light color) quite well in terms of visibility.

    @IsotopeJ it seems to me that the toner got fused to the ABS.

    @fartface got any pictures with the results. I’d like to see.

  10. osgeld says:

    yea ok, I just call before I go istead of being suprised when I get there (cause radio shack is 40 min away for me and Im not driving that far to hodgepodge something that only takes about 3 days from digikey)

  11. DeadlyDad says:

    I’ve used battery storage cases ( http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.3558~r.44625746 ), flashlights, and the ends of remote controls; all work just fine, though a minor hassle to convert. For future projects, I will be switching to 5v, USB based power. There are a lot of inexpensive, external, rechargeable battery packs available, in a wide range of power ratings. ( http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.29590~r.44625746 http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.45799~r.44625746 ) By going with the USB standard, I will be able to choose whether to power directly from PC/power adaptor, or a battery pack.

    (How can you tell that I’m a huge fan of DX. ;-D
    )

  12. antonio says:

    ok, congratulations.

    your proyect is creative, i use the toner trasfer method for make PCBs, but i dont know aplicate in a plastic box.

    regars from mexico.

  13. Jordan says:

    “I wonder how much the plastic costs to print a battery pack like that. (really, I have no idea what it costs to run a makerbot)”

    Same here.

    Of course, <5 min. of Google can get the answer. As some would say, I RTFM. Here's a link.

    http://wiki.makerbot.com/faq-frequently-asked-questions#toc10

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