3D printing 19″ card rack parts

I like 19″ card racks and have made use of them in several projects including a custom computer and an extendable bench power supply unit. The only real problem with them is cost.
The basic 19″ frame is reasonable enough, but the card front panels and some of the other bits are really expensive.

So, several months ago I purchased a 3D printer kit. Historically I’ve been really unlucky with CNC type machines and to me have always been more trouble than they are worth. However, I’ve been wanting a 3D printer for ages and I’ve been really looking forward to being able to print some custom parts including these PCB mounts for my 19″ racks.

These plastic parts are used to mount the PCB to the card front panel, and I’m amazed at how much they cost; talk about daylight robbery. So, after a lot of fiddling and experimentation, I managed to print a reasonably accurate version of the above. It even worked and this then got me thinking if it would be possible to print the front card panels as well.

So, after some hacking around in Microsoft 3D builder (which is a really primitive 3D building tool but does the job) I created a model that prints a front plate with integrated PCB card mount bracket.

The next step is to print the front with all the holes pre-made for the switches and LEDs etc. It will save a small fortune in buying metal front plates, and a lot of time in prototyping and building as there should be no more drilling and endless hours at the bench with a file trying to make pretty square cut-outs for displays. 

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