This week’s selection is the enormously useful iCableGuards by Pinshape contributor Sergio Romero.
Mexico-based Romero, who provides 3D print services near Mexico City, designed a set of easily printable add-ons for common cabling for smartphones. These “guards” are rigid plastic surrounds for the ends of certain cables to reduce wear.
The idea is to solve the most common cause of dead cables: wiring breakage due to flexing. One can prolong the life of a smartphone cable by carefully pulling it out of the socket by holding onto the hard end, but many people simply yank the flexible cable, placing great strain on the point where the cable enters the rigid end connector. This is where the breaks typically occur.
But if that flex point was held firm, breakages could be at least delayed, if not avoided. This means you would get far more life from your cable and not have to replace them - usually at exorbitant cost.
Romero explains that the guard can even help a cable where the outer layer of the cable has already broken. The rigid guard keeps the potentially exposed cables from flexing and breaking.
There is an economic case for this: printing a guard for a cable might cost only pennies worth of thermoplastic, but could save you the cost of one, two or even three replacement cables, depending on how vicious you treat your equipment. That would easily pay for an entire spool (or two) of 3D print material, let alone the cost of the print.
This could be the most valuable Design of the Week yet!
Romero has designed guards for Apple Lightning connectors, which are found on their smartphone series. He’s also provided a 3D model for a typical USB type A connector, something that also suffers from cable fatigue and breakage.
These could be the best 3D prints you’ve ever produced.