Print your own header shrouds

Don’t get us wrong, printable whistles are cool and all, but these printable header shrouds make us think that filament printers like the Makerbot and RepRap might just be worth their salt. This utilitarian purpose is a departure from the souvenirs, toys, and art that we’re used to seeing from the expensive development toys tools.

The six and ten pin header shrouds are designed for a snug fit that makes it easy to glue them onto the plastic spacers of male pin headers. We use IDC plugs and ribbon cable all the time in our projects, but never seem to order shrouded connectors; this is perfect for us. It makes us wonder what other PCB-friendly printable designs we’ve been missing out on? Surely someone’s been printing stand-offs with threaded inserts, right? If you know of something useful that we can share with the rest of the readers, don’t hesitate to send in a tip.

[via Dangerous Prototypes]

Comments

  1. mess_maker says:

    Great idea. I always want to order shrouds, but for some reason I always forget.

    Funny that I was thinking of stand offs as well, though the threading was not in my mind. That would be a great addition.

  2. Elias says:

    Good idea!

    As you said I’m sure there are plenty of small parts that can be reproduced for this purpose.

    Maybe plastic covers for not so nice looking wire antennas would be doable for one example.

    Small tabs could left on the bottom and matching holes made to the PCB to be able to melt the tabs from the bottom to mount it permanently.

    Another thing would be plastic covers for unused pinheaders and other protection plugs for various connectors.

    Maybe also some sort of thruhole LED stands and thin LED diffusers could be done.

  3. Grovenstien says:

    Hell why not go further and invent your own standards. Ahh another reason i want one!

  4. MRC says:

    I’m with Grovenstien. get the 3d printing guys started on open std connectors as well.

  5. nimitzbrood says:

    Custom LED mounts comes to mind for when you want to do a flat matrix of cheap LEDs.

    @MRC – hell yes we should be getting 3D printers working on open standard connectors.

    Hmm…easily weatherproof connectors also come to mind. Heck you could produce a coupler with a groove for a neoprene o-ring pretty easily.

    I’m suddenly sad that I don’t have the cash for a RepRap. :-(

  6. jtl3 says:

    This doesn’t really make any sense to me. Shrouded headers are not significantly more expensive than their non-shrouded counterparts, and they have sharp edges meant to mate solidly with matching connectors. The printed version here looks flimsy and the tolerances appear poor. It doesn’t even have a way of attaching onto the 2×3 header!

    I don’t want to sound discouraging, I just don’t see the point…

  7. nimitzbrood says:

    @jt13 well for one you’re not limited to a square header. You can print any header shape or design that you want so you can custom fit a header to an odd shaped board.

    The other thing is you don’t have to wait for shipment. You need a header shroud just print it yourself.

  8. Scott says:

    I can’t afford one, but I’ve been surprised how the 3D printing community have not had many discussions with the retro-computer community.

    Many of the connector plugs and shrouds for old Atari, TI, and Commodore computers are rare. People will “do without” and simply hack up printer cables, which is ugly. Scrounging forums to find someone with a pile of junk parts who will then sell you one is also costly and time consuming.

    For example, the Atari SIO connectors are dearly sought by collector/makers who want to craft a hard drive emulating SD card reader. Sometimes these parts are available as NOS for $5 to $10. I think shrouds for NES controllers are also difficult to source.

    I’m sure there are lots of communities needing replacement parts, and printer owners can’t be everywhere at once… still if you have one of these printers and the time,please stop by atari.org etc. forums and (in a non-spam way) let folks know you’d like to help.

  9. nimitzbrood says:

    @Scott – not to mention even older systems like printing connectors for the PDP unibus and qbus boards on old DEC hardware.

    Then there’s things like missing buttons, covers, bezel pieces (though you’d have to print them in sections and epoxy them together) and a ton of other things missing on older systems. Not completely clear covers unfortunately.

  10. Renosis says:

    @jt13 I designed and printed the shroud. It is actually about as sturdy as a real IDC shroud. It doesn’t look as pretty but it is much better than no shroud at all. The reason I created it is because the pololu stepper carrier kit I bought didn’t come with the 6 pin variety that I needed. It takes approximately 3 minutes to print and costs pennies in material. Yes header pins are about the same price as a mass produced shroud, but I guarantee you are probably going to have alot more header pins laying around than IDC shrouds.

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