Designing, programming and printing replacement parts

Discussion in 'My Favorite Mods, Tips, Tricks (and Blunders!)' started by GrueMaster, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. GrueMaster

    GrueMaster Member

    May 22, 2013
    Saint Helens, Oregon
    Last month, I designed and printed a replacement tent pole tip for one of my Shepard's Hooks (see

    Now I am working on a far more complex component. A few years ago, I bought a Furrion 30amp Power Inlet and 'Smart Cord' from the local Camping World (clearance sale in the off season - couldn't resist). The next year, while boondocking on our annual Man's Weekend campout (8-15 guys doing guy things - what could go wrong?), I started looking over installing this unit. Unfortunately I didn't get the conversion kit, just the power inlet. No easy way to mount it over the mouse entrance (especially 30 miles from the nearest town), so it sat in the cupboard until I had 'free time' to work on it.

    NOTE: The following text uses metric values. Readers that are sensitive to this or have small children in US public schools please be warned.

    This year, the Ductape over the mouse trap finally fell off. Time to get this thing mounted, even if I only use it while parked in my driveway (hence the lack of urgency). With the seemingly successful tent pole tip replacement, confidence is high. So far, I have spent the better part of this week designing a 3mm thick adapter plate, with screw holes and even a beveled edge. The idea is simple enough, make a ring ~21mm wide with screw holes and a square bump at the top for the hinge area.

    Except I have never used a cad program. EVER.

    Being a programmer, and an affinity towards Linux, I thought I would try OpenSCAD ( The 'fun' part of this is that instead of drawing an object like a circle or square, you describe it in a programmatic way (example: cylinder(3,d=117,d2=115) will create a cylinder 3mm high with a base of 117mm diameter and a top of 115 diameter for a nice beveled edge). The hard part is when you want to do things like screw holes in a set pattern (like the triangle pattern of the 3 holes to mount the original electrical hatch). You define a screw hole by subtracting (difference) a cylinder that is the diameter of the screw you want placed at the exact XYZ coordinates of the main object.

    I am just finishing my 4th (and hopefully final) test print in PLA (easier to work with and bio friendly) to see if all of the dimensions are correct. If it is good, I will do one full test print in ABS before making the final product.

    Will post pictures and links once it is finished and mounted.
  2. SHFL

    SHFL Member

    Jan 6, 2015
    Thanks for sharing this -- we've been thinking about printing replacement/improved parts also. (Shipping is usually more than the part for these small parts!) We look forward to seeing your results.
  3. xvz12

    xvz12 Active Member

    Apr 6, 2017
    New Plymouth, ID
    Interesting....I haven't messed with 3d printing yet. When I changed our PUP's shore power 'mouse hole' over to a marine shore power socket, I drew the bezel i needed in AutoCAD, then used our template cutter at work ( a small CNC mill) to machine it out. I also made 4 plates to cover the holes where the original clearance lights went, as I replaced them with smaller LED lights.
  4. drowland

    drowland New Member

    Mar 1, 2012
    I just printed curtain tabs for my Jayco on my 3D printer except mine have a hole in them to hang the curtains from.
  5. swordfish

    swordfish Active Member

    Sep 27, 2010
    Very cool.
    Similar idea. I made these wedges out of delrin by CNC. These parts require higher strength, so 3D print might not work well for this app.
  6. drowland

    drowland New Member

    Mar 1, 2012
  7. BrianRosenthal

    BrianRosenthal Member

    Feb 23, 2011
    Perhaps we should start are repository of 3D Printable designs for PopUPs?

    If I look on Thingiverse for parts tagged "popup", I get a lot of other stuff. Searching for both "camping" and "popup" works better.

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