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Thread: 3D printer clips for vinyl picket fence

  1. #1
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    Default 3D printer clips for vinyl picket fence

    I'm already brainstorming ideas for next season. I have a vinyl victorian picket fence that has 20 1 3/4" pickets between the larger 4x4 posts in 8 ft sections. I'd like to string C9 sockets along the length of the fence and I could perhaps create a plastic square ring that goes around the picket with something extending inward that can house a C9 socket.

    view from above
    _________
    |..............|
    |..............|
    |..............| - picket fence hollow square
    |..............|
    |________|
    \ /
    \ /
    ( ) - C9 clip
    / \
    \ /

    Is this something that could be feasibly done? If I want to get started in 3D printing, any recommendations to get something similar to the feel of the all-in-one clips that have a little spring-i-ness to it where I can punch in a socket.

    I could do something to try to insert an existing C9 socket clip into a slot on the plastic jig that goes around the picket. Of course the perfect option would be something all one piece that goes over pickets, but can't seem to find anything resembling that online.

    Any ideas?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 3D printer clips for vinyl picket fence

    Quote Originally Posted by MerlinsBeard View Post
    I'm already brainstorming ideas for next season. I have a vinyl victorian picket fence that has 20 1 3/4" pickets between the larger 4x4 posts in 8 ft sections. I'd like to string C9 sockets along the length of the fence and I could perhaps create a plastic square ring that goes around the picket with something extending inward that can house a C9 socket.

    Is this something that could be feasibly done? If I want to get started in 3D printing, any recommendations to get something similar to the feel of the all-in-one clips that have a little spring-i-ness to it where I can punch in a socket.

    I could do something to try to insert an existing C9 socket clip into a slot on the plastic jig that goes around the picket. Of course the perfect option would be something all one piece that goes over pickets, but can't seem to find anything resembling that online.

    Any ideas?
    First, if you can think of it, you can print it. All my lights are mounted on 3/4" 1/2" pvc and I've printed hinged clips to hang them on my garage ceiling in the off season. I've printed many things from remote control holders, cases for things like the raspberry pi and Beagle bones that control my lights and various other useful items. I'm not home so I can add pictures later. Just check out www.thingiverse.com to see what people are creating.

    3d printing is another hobby in itself. Prusa printers are some of the best, but super expensive. If you are looking to try 3d printing, I would recommend the Creality Ender 3. Relatively cheap, yet very capable printer. I have the CR-10 and I am extremely happy with it. The only reason to get the CR-10 over the Ender 3 is bed size. The larger the bed size, the larger the prints you can make. The filament comes in many make ups, PLA, PETG, ABS, others. For outdoor use, you would probably have to use PETG. PLA is the cheapest and easiest to work with, probably what you'll start with, but tends to be more brittle and less flexible before breaking. Stay away from ABS due to, you need a temperature controlled enclosure and venting. ABS produces some toxic odors. Each material is printed with different settings. So, when you get good at PLA, you'll have to figure out the best settings for the other materials. It will take you a while to figure out the settings and technique of 3d printing, so you won't have your clips this year.

    As far as the creating your items, I use FreeCAD. #1, it's free. #2, there are many tutorials on youtube to get you started. I mostly stick to what they call constraints. But, I've been able to make some great items. It certainly helps if you have some coding experience or at least understanding. Not that you have to code anything, but the concept of variables is variable calculation help a lot. Setting a variable for something like a box width or height allows you to change a size and have it recalculate through the entire object.
    Then after creating your 3d item you need to "slice" your object. For this, I use Cura. That is what slices your object into the individual layers for the 3d printer to print.

    And... just like this light hobby, there are better front end controllers that manage the print while printing. Raspberry Pi running Octoprint.

    The hardest part, I think, is the actual printing. You need to level the bed and make sure the print head is consistently equidistant from the print bed. Then there's the temperature settings of the print head, print bed and the multitude of settings, such as print speed, retraction distance...

    Then there's the time for the print. I've created a box and holds 4 drawers for my electronics components. Printing the box, which is about 10"x8"x6" took about 36hrs to print. The 4 drawers take about 13hrs each.

    To sum up, I recommend:
    FreeCAD
    Creality Ender 3
    Cura Slicer
    Raspberry Pi w/ Octoprint
    Last edited by Cmndr Brain; 12-10-2021 at 06:17 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 3D printer clips for vinyl picket fence

    Thank you for your detailed recommendations. Definitely some good stuff to explore. I have coding experience so no issues there, just time!

    Edit: Also, I am interested in your PVC mounted socket lights as I'm looking to do my roof line which is too steep for foot travel and my wife is too nervous for me to ladder up there. But if I can mount sockets in a PVC strip and punch them into mounted clips attached to the soffit or fascia board, I think I can do that without making my wife cringe.

    Do you have a thread that shows your technique? Been looking at some youtube ideas and haven't settled on anything yet. I'm more interested in mounting C9 and C7 sockets to PVC, or building a frame and clipping or zip tying a socketed light strand.
    Last edited by MerlinsBeard; 12-07-2021 at 11:34 AM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 3D printer clips for vinyl picket fence

    I had to correct my previous post where I said my nodes were mounted on 3/4" pvc... they're mounted on 1/2" pvc.

    All my house lights are Ray Wu c9's w/ the rectangular mount. I zip tie them to 1/2" pvc. The lights mounted directly to the house (mostly verticals) are mounted to the siding using the HolidayCoro Lexan clips (HolidayCoro Clips). So far after 3 seasons, only 1 has broken. So they seem to hold up quite well. I leave those clips up year round. When it come time for mounting, just push the 1/2" pvc into the clip... done. I use 3 clips/section, each end and middle.

    For my roof line, I zip-tied vinyl siding J-channel to the pvc and just hang them. I don't have a problem getting on the roof so that works for me. I notched the J-channel so it's notched around my gutter nails. The curl of the J-channel clips under the inside of the gutter and prevents them from coming off in high wind. (Don't recommend that for you cause they tend to be a pita getting them off). All my lights are limited to 10' sections for easy storage, but I have to plug the sections in. You might be able to use something like an S-Hook and raise your lights up using extension poles, but I don't know how well the S-Hooks will hold the lights in wind or how high your roof line is.

    The reason my lights are limited to 10' sections is because I 3d printed the storage mounts. One of the images show my spare pvc mounted to the ceiling. They mounting clips are hinged and have a notch to accommodate the wire. The green pins are just 12awg wire that insert into a hole to hold them shut. If any of them break... just print another. They are printed with PLA. They are indoors and not exposed to the weather so that works quite well for my storage purposes.

    One thing I've found about this hobby is ingenuity. There is no wrong answer for how you hang your lights. It's what works for you. I hope you at least got some ideas.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Cmndr Brain; 12-10-2021 at 07:02 PM.

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