Element projects were quick exploration experiments that were eventually abandon for one reason or another.

Many times when I wanted to test a 3D printed applied mechanical concept (like a simple hinge for example) I would just make up a quick product to build around the test. These projects usually were never really intended to "work" but more to find out about how to best execute a concept for some other more complex product. As a result, most of these were done while I was trying to figure out how to make the mouse.

Element projects are available through online print houses with a set mark-up or downloadable as 3D digital files for independent use. Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


This is a flip down holder for the 6th generation Apple Nano (and my first project!). I wanted something that could make the Nano act more like a pocket watch that clips to your belt. This was also the first complex hinged print test I ever did and it has a pretty neat little "pull up unlocking hinge" mechanical detail.



I was hearing rumblings that the Nano was going to be updated and it made not so much sense to invest a lot of time into product that would need another product that would shortly be discontinued!

First, don't make products that are dependent on devices that have short life cycles and/or are frequently updated (this lesson probably saved my butt on the mouse project).
The second lesson was on 3D printing tolerances for moving parts. I realized I was getting bricked parts back frequently and the turn around time was to long to just keep making random tweaks and waiting for new parts to come back. I decided at this point that I should start making "hinge boards" which turned out to be a huge time saver in the end.




This was a second variation on the "pocket watch" clip for the Nano. This one actually has 3D printed external rocker switches that operate the volume buttons on the Nano.



Same as the Type I, model change for the Nano.

This one was all about messing around with more accurate 3D print to device interaction and seeing how a 3D printed parts can bend/deflect to create interactive parts which was pretty important for getting the mouse right.




The Token was a folding smart phone stand that could collapse into a "stick" and then pop open when the button was pushed...in theory.
I never actually got this one to work though so only the digital model is available.



This was really overkill on the mechanics side for what it does. You could essentially take a piece of wood about the size of a stick of gum, cut a notch in it and functionally end up with the same product. The whole concept really didn't warrant a 6 part articulated spring loaded device.

The whole reason I did this one was to mess around with alternative 3D printed springs, friction locks and to see what kind of slop you would get in an arm with two or more hinges in it.
It turns out that you get quite a bit of movement in the arms which makes the locking system not really work. Also, the arm tensioner thingy's have way (way) to much travel in them and snap off pretty much instantly when you try and close it.
Pretty confident I could get this one working but, for the reasons mentioned above, it doesn't really seem worth it!