This week’s selection is the Bike Reflector Hidden AirTag by Printables contributor heartbreakballer.
AirTags are those coin-sized thingies from Apple that can be used to track locations. They’re incredibly simple: they bounce a signal off of nearby iPhones, which then report the location to the cloud. There are billions of iPhones walking around the world, and that makes for a pretty extensive search network.
The idea is to put an AirTag inside a valuable item, like a suitcase, purse, etc., and you’ll be able to find them when they’re lost. If stolen, and you have some courage and big friends, you can even track down the perp. However, it’s usually best to report the location to authorities.
One personal item that is at significant risk of being stolen is the common bicycle. Almost everyone has one, and due to the lack of effective protective options they are frequently stolen. Sometimes stolen bikes are actually shipped overseas and resold in third world countries. Most cities have big problems with bike theft, and in some places the game is to have the worst possible “beater bike” so that no one will want to steal it.
But maybe there is a better way. You could hide an AirTag on a bicycle and then track it if stolen. The problem is some thieves — believe it or not — actually have half a brain and remove the AirTag, thus thwarting your novice detective activity.
Enter heartbreakballer, who has considered this problem and come up with a rather practical 3D printed solution.
The idea is to place a reflector mount on the bike — which is often required and always a good idea. The difference is that the reflector mount has a hidden spot where an AirTag can be securely hidden. Thus the AirTag is very likely to stay with the bike, even after the theft.
heartbreakballer writes that only three parts comprise the reflector, and you’ll need only three screws to hold it all together. But the design is pretty sophisticated. heartbreakballer explains:
“The top part is printed in Hatchbox Transparent Red PLA with 30% honeycomb infill to mimic the reflective pattern found inside real bike reflectors. I made the top layer 0.7mm thick so that the honeycomb pattern was still partly visible without showing the AirTag underneath. The ideal layer height for this print is 0.05mm because the top is slightly angled to look like a real reflector, and a large layer height will show it was 3d printed, a giveaway that it’s not a real reflector.”
You need only apply some commonly available reflective tape to make this reflector function.
This is a highly practical and easy to implement solution to a real problem for many. The best part is that the design is freely available for everyone at Printables, where you can download all the files to print this item.