A Tale of Two Holders

Our Wii-motes usually sit in a bin with other game controllers, boxes for games, miscellaneous box art, and a handful of small disc binders- it’s a mess. Finding the Wii-motes is cumbersome, they randomly turn on when the bin gets jostled, and batteries run out constantly from always turning on and off.

I had a rough idea of what a decent Wii-mote holder might look like; space to stand four motes up vertically, a through hole for the wrist band, a mostly open face plate so buttons don’t get accidentally pushed, and pre-sized holes for mounting the entire container on a wall or shelf. I quickly jumped over to Thingiverse to browse for ideas, and unsurprisingly someone had thought of the same features and, most importantly, created an amazing model for a Wii-mote holder.

First Attempt

My first attempt to print the four Wii-mote holder was overly ambitious: I wanted an exceedingly high quality print that wasn’t an eye-sore when it got mounted in a highly visible place in the basement near the Wii-U. I let the print go for 22 hours before stopping the print:

It was an incredibly high quality, smooth, and clean print. The only problem was that the entire print would have taken upwards of 100 hours to complete. Not only did I not want to wait that long, but the chances of unrecoverable failure (most likely due to child related impact with the printer) was too high.

Second Attempt

The second attempt was much less ambitious, and much more successful:

Seven hours for a print that has nearly identical visual quality from a few feet away. Fast printing at 0.35mm layer sizing was almost flawless. Almost. The first print attempt had noticeable detaching of the base layers from the print bed, resulting in one of the corners of the container looking “peeled up.” I applied a thin layer of glue to the print bed with a glue stick prior to starting the second print attempt. The glue was fantastic at adhering the model base to the print bed. Almost. While the glue worked well, I did not. My estimation of the size of the model on the print bed was off by a few centimeters (despite having a partially printed base which I could have compared my estimate too, c’est la vie), and the second attempt has a similar, if smaller, “peeling up” corner.

I purposefully didn’t add support structures to the print – cleaning up the open back of the print and the mounting holes didn’t sound like fun. So I watched in amazement as the printer laid down 20cm long perfectly horizontal bands for the top of the rear opening on the container, with no supporting structure. By the time the layers had fully cooled and the print was complete, the bottom most strands of the long horizontal opening had sagged and separated. Cleaning them off would be a toss up – they aren’t visible when the container is mounted, and cutting them off might delaminate more layers.

In the end I’d call the print a success; a lesson is choosing print quality wisely, and a sturdy, usable Wii-mote holder that will stand up to the rigorous beating it will receive from kids pulling Wii-motes out, and slamming them back in place in the panicked cleanup before dinner.

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