Printed Nexus 7 SIM Tray is Good ‘Nuff

When repairing something, there are in effect two schools of thought: you can craft a repair that seamlessly blends into the original hardware and doesn’t look like a repair, or you can slap that thing together and keep it moving. A lot of variables go into this decision making process, such as the complexity of the repair, the available materials, and of course whether or not you need to keep the fact you broke the thing from your significant other.

When the SIM holder on his Nexus 7 tablet broke recently, [Alex Whittemore] did the mental arithmetic and came to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth his time trying to figure out how to model an exact replacement. But he was able to print something that works well enough for his purposes, which is all that matters in the end. A perfect entry for our ongoing “Repairs You Can Print” contest.

You must be this small to ride

Apparently the SIM holder in the 2013 Nexus 7 is notoriously poor, and of course since this is a known issue, online retailers are trying to get as much as $100 USD out of you for a tiny sliver of plastic. Sometimes it really seems like Google was determined to run the Nexus line into the ground before bailing on it.

Printing such a tiny part, especially with the little details like the channel for you to hook your fingernail into, requires a fairly well calibrated printer. If you can’t muster up a 0.1mm first layer you might as well sit this one out; and if you haven’t mastered the art of bridging, that little valley to help you get the SIM back out may end up overflowing into a river of tears.

For [Alex], the piece ended up working perfectly. It might look a little weird, but if you’ve got the tablet in a case you’ll never see it anyway. It’s also worth noting that this design may work on other devices with a similar SIM arrangement, or at the very least, might be a good starting point to work from if you’ve got to come up with your own.

Remember, there’s still plenty of time to enter your own printed fix into our “Repairs You Can Print” contest. The top 20 repairs will take home $100 in Tindie credit, and for the best repair done by a Student or Organization, there’s two Prusa i3 MK3 printers with the Quad Material upgrade kits on the line.

9 thoughts on “Printed Nexus 7 SIM Tray is Good ‘Nuff

  1. “requires a fairly well calibrated printer”
    Well, its very hard to have a well calibrated FDM printer. Plastic will shrink in hard to predict ways. But one can always tweak the design or the slicing parameters to reach the desired end result.

    1. If this requires well calibrated printer, I don’t want to see discalibrated printer. Such small bridges are easy even on my stock unmodified anet a8, but the biggest problem is first layer, 0.1 is hard without glass plate because heated bed likes to warp in center.

    2. Just learn to calibrate your printer properly. If you’re messing with the design just to get a good print, you’re heading down the wrong road.

      Check the extrusion multiplier, make sure the bed is properly leveled, maybe measure the filament to make sure it’s a consistent diameter, it’s really not that difficult. No more difficult than properly using any other high-accuracy machinery like a CNC or laser.

  2. Wow be VERY careful with this type of device. I got one and there was too much clearance between my sim card and the carrier (it was very little tolerance). The sim reader pins managed to get caught between the carrier and the card and there was no way to get it out except yanking.

    Guess what? It snapped some of the sim card reader pins. Woot that’s a hell of a repair for such a minor workaround. Not worth it. Get the right sim card.

          1. Or use a plastic card (from the sim) and cut it to shape with cissors and stack to the required height, glued with cyano (10min, not even the time needed to heat up the printer)

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