Project3DPrint – How I 3D Printed This Amazing Watch

by Jason King on May 3, 2015

Fitness WatchI’ve took on a few little projects recently where I’ve built something from multiple 3D printed parts.

One example of this is the Spring Powered Car, but I’ve been looking to take on more elaborate challenges.

Something I’d really like to make is an RC quadcopter, or drone as they’re sometimes called.

Having written before about 3D printed RC Truggies and Wheels/Tyres for my RC car, a quadcopter seems like a natural progression.

What put me off a little though is my trouble in finding a kit where someone sends me the unprintable parts and the files to enable me to make the 3D printable parts myself.

By the way, if you know of such a kit please let me know because I’d love to buy, print, build and write about such a beast.

Anyway, in my search for a company which supplies similar kits I stumbled upon Project3DPrint. These guys are a new startup company, with 12 amazing kits available at the time of writing this.

They haven’t created a quadcopter yet, but I’m sure as their inventory grows they’ll consider one (I did suggest it to them).

Available Projects and How the Process Works

The current list of Project3DPrint projects is as follows, but I expect this will continue to grow with time:

  • USB Backup Powerbank
  • Portable Laptop Cooler
  • Fitness Watch with Heart Rate Sensor
  • Portable Bluetooth Stereo Speaker
  • Wireless iPhone 4/4s Charger & Case
  • Wireless iPhone 5/5s Charger & Case
  • Bluetooth Headphone Receiver
  • Mini Bluetooth Stereo Speaker
  • Digital Photo Frame
  • Mini MP3 Player
  • USB Night Light
  • Bluetooth Speaker Tube

As you’ll see this list contains some very cool little gadgets, for which you 3D print the casing and they send you the unprintable workings.

It basically works like this, you chose your product and buy it from them at a very reasonable price. They send you the .STL files so you can start printing the parts immediately. In the mean time they ship the unprintable parts to you anywhere in the world with free shipping. They also have videos you can watch to help you construct the products you have chosen.

This sounded great to me and was just the sort of thing I was looking for. As much as I love 3D printing stuff in plastic alone, I’m always looking to create less plasticy looking and more useful products.

The Truth of the Pudding

As they say “the truth of the pudding is in the eating”, so I decided to take the plunge and part with my cash.

This wasn’t a big decision as I chose to make the Fitness Watch with Heart Rate Sensor, which at current exchange rates only cost me £6.20 in total.

I received the .STL files immediately and started to 3D print the parts in different colors. I did have one question and after posting a picture of a woodFill Version of the Watch Casing on Twitter  someone asked the same question:

“Is the strap flexible, even though it’s printed in PLA?”

3D Printed WatchWell, it’s so thin that it is quite flexible and I was able to wear the watch myself.

What I would recommend though is to dip the strap into water that’s about 60 degrees centigrade and bend it to the rough shape you need to fit your wrist.

I find water of that temperature ideal for bending PLA plastic, although with something so thin you can use cooler water if you wish.

Obviously do this with just the strap and not the whole watch with the Electronics fitted, as the electronics and water won’t mix too well.

I was surprised to find that the parts fitted together really well, with only a little trimming here and there with a modelling knife. This was mostly because these special filaments are sometimes a little stringy and always require some post print trimming.

I was so impressed I printed another one in lime green PLA plastic and NinjaFlex black rubber for the strap. I Tweeted a Picture of the Parts Here if you want to see all the components ready to build.

The rubbery strap worked well, but as the strap is designed for PLA and is so thin it could do with being a little thicker when printed in NinjaFlex. Or you could just double back the end of the strap back though the clasp, which worked ok for me.

At the time of writing this, I’ve only just 3D printed these two watches so am now waiting for the electronics to arrive in the post. I wanted to write this first part while it was all still fresh in my mind, so I’ll continue when the rest of this project arrives. Yes, I am excited 🙂

The Postman Has Brought me a Present

Ok so after a few weeks waiting the electronics have arrived! I was happy to wait a little while as the electronics were shipped free of charge (from Sweden I believe) so a little wait was inevitable.

I was a bit unfortunate that I couldn’t get the alarm or pulse counter to work. I wasn’t sure if the item was damaged in transit or whether I was just doing something wrong.

Project3dprint WatchAfter contacting James from Project3DPrint he replied quickly and was really helpful. He helped me try to resolve the issue and will be sending me another replacement item immediately.

Whether the item was damaged or not isn’t much of an issue for me though, as it was good to see their customer support is excellent… and anyway, the point is that this is a 3D printed watch, which is both unique and amazing!

The electronics fitted perfectly, as did all the 3D printed parts for the watch casing and strap. To be honest I don’t know how they managed to do this. 3D printers all differ slightly in how they print items so for the parts to fit so well is quite an achievement.

I can highly recommend trying this yourself, either with the Fitness Watch or one of their other projects. I’ll certainly be trying other projects they have and at £6.20 for a cool 3D printed watch the price is pretty sweet too.

As and when I try their other projects I’ll keep you updated on Twitter, Facebook and in my Beginner Series Section, just as I did with the Fitness Watch.

Thanks for reading and please help spread the word by Liking and Sharing this post. Leave a Comment too if you wish, don’t be shy. I personally reply to all comments.

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