This page is part of my Model Remodel series of articles.
DISCLAIMER: If you choose to attempt any of these modifications, you assume all risks thereof. I just wanted to share my experiences here. Neither Fanhome, nor myself, are responsible for any damages that may occur.
Creating Custom Saucer Electronics Mounts
In order to secure all of the electronics I planned on using inside my Enterprise D Saucer section, I considered a few different options. However, I finally decided that I just needed to make my own custom mounts. I had already purchased an Anycubic Mono 4k resin 3D printer for my RMS Titanic build, so I figured I could also put it to work here.
NOTE: I will not be getting into how to 3D print as there are plenty of helpful articles and videos on the Internet that will do a much better job explaining it than a novice like me could.
To make things easier, I wanted to use the original mounting posts inside the saucer. This included the eight posts for the two stock center PCBs I removed as well as four posts at the left/right edges that I believe are where the two Saucer battery boxes would normally be mounted. Since I will not need those battery boxes, I can use them to create a larger footprint and stabilize the mounts. These outer posts sit about 1mm higher than the PCB posts, so I would need to adjust the design for that.
Initially, I cut some pieces of plain paper and laid them inside the Saucer to figure out how much room I had to work with and where the various posts were located. I left a small gap in the middle to allow for the Bridge/Nav Beacon wiring to pass up through:
Using these pieces of paper, I then checked to see if all of the electronics would fit. Happily, I discovered there would be plenty of room:
Next, I used the paper guides to cut sheets of 1mm styrene to create a stiffer mockup and zero in on the correct hole locations. If you look closely, you can even see how I stacked two sheets together with the lower sheet cut narrower to adjust for the 1mm post height difference:
Before I tested placing my Arduino Uno, I wanted to mention the OONO GPIO Screw Terminal Block I have attached to it. This secure platform allows me to connect to the Arduino pins with screw terminals instead of friction pins. This should help keep wires secured:
While this Terminal Block includes nylon standoffs so the Arduino can easily be mounted, it does increase the overall height of the Arduino. I accounted for this height in my design process:
With both sides of my mount cut from styrene sheet, I once again tested the placement of the various components, but this time inside the Saucer itself. This was to check for: easy access to the mounting screws, enough room for all of the upcoming wiring, and clearances to the Lower Skeleton Frames that will soon be installed:
I then outlined the screw heads and Arduino Uno with a marker, removed the components, and super glued the two mounts together with another piece of styrene to keep them aligned to each other:
After removing the styrene mockup mounts, I drew holes and brackets for the various components and figured out where I could trim extra material off to make these mounts smaller, cheaper, and easier to print. I did this with a marker pen:
To double check my hole placement, I used pieces from a M2 nylon standoff set to temporarily mount the Uno and speakers to the styrene:
With the initial design settled, I enlisted the help of a great friend to help create this design in Autodesk Fusion 360. He has way more experience with 3D modeling than I do, so with his assistance we were able to create this initial prototype design:
As the first time using my 3D printer, the first mounts failed to print correctly. As I knew nothing about resin printing, rotating models, drain holes, support placement, etc. I gave myself a break and let myself learn to do it right. I stayed with it and they finally come out OK:
However, as I started to assemble the components to the mount, I realized there were improvements that could be made. Therefore, we went back to the design to change a few things:
The Final Product
Since there are some inaccuracies regarding the exact locations of the stock mounting posts of the Upper Skeleton, I realized my mounts should have some built-in adjustability. For this, we changed the outer holes and the Arduino holes into slots.
At this point, my friend had to leave, so I imported the design into Sketchup Pro (which I am familiar with), reshaped the footprint, and added embossed labels to the various parts. This became our final product:
By this time, with a few prints under my belt, I was able to print these new mounts without any major issues. You can see how the various attachment areas are now labeled. The two 3W 4Ω Speakers I will be using fit onto the tall round posts on each mount:
I mounted my Arduino Uno to the center of the two mounts, but did not tighten the screws completely. I wanted to let the mounts move under the Arduino a bit to allow for adjustability:
The HC-05 Bluetooth module slid in between these upright tabs and is firmly held in place by friction alone:
We created this vertical mount for the DFRobot DFPlayer Mini so it can slide down into the mount with the pins exposed. The upper tab of the inner upright catches on the PCB to hold it securely in place:
The reason we orientated the DFPlayer vertically was so the Micro SD card would be easily accessible (hopefully through the battery box panel on the bottom of the Saucer once the model is complete):
Finally, we added a flat block with holes that will hold one of the 5VDC MOSFET boards I plan on using. This board will be mounted later:
I am simply blown away that these days it is possible to come up with an idea in your head and spit it out of a 3D printer. Over the last few years, the prices of these printers have made them accessible to almost anyone. How cool is that!
As always, I try to share my efforts with other builders, so I am including download links below to my Saucer Mount STL files. You are welcome to modify and print them for your own personal model, but please respect the effort involved. These are still of my design and they may not be sold under any circumstances.
SAUCER WIRING – Installing the final electronics and finishing up the Saucer wiring