The RACAS Handheld Device


Task: Model design and 3D print handheld device prototype

Our client SHEPHERD approached our company to 3D model and print a prototype of a handheld device housing they required to link to their Road Asset Condition Assessment System (RACAS) used to measure and monitor the texture and camber of road surfaces. The concept sketch and the required electronic components were provided from which we designed the prototype using our 3D modelling software.

The many functional aspects of the design, fitment and containment of the electronic components were considered as well as the ergonomics for a handheld device. The product had to be robust to withstand its work environment and protect the internal electronics, UV resistant as it would be used outdoors, and be light and easy to handle and operate. The client decided to print the prototype from onyx rather than PLA so they could experience this new material and approved it for its light weight, UV resistance, strength, durability, and quality surface finish.

The onyx plastic is strong enough that one side was drilled and tapped for SS metal threads rather than cheaper plastic self-tapping screws and the device is light because the housing was printed using a triangular infill pattern rather than solid plastic. Onyx has the highest quality surface finish of any 3D printed plastic and is more UV resistant than most other plastics able to deflect temperatures up to 145°C, perfect for outdoor use or storing inside a vehicle.

Several alterations were made from the original design with edges being rounded, an extra slider included, and some slight design changes to best suit the print process. The threads were tapped post print because the diameter and pitch of the thread were too small to print effectively.

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