Four Years and Two Jobs Ago
I actually first made this design about 4 years ago when I started a new job. I went from an enclosed cubicle to a more open space, and everyone was wearing headphones all the time. The annoying thing about wearing headphones is that it’s harder to notice if someone walks up to your desk. So, of course, I put my 3D-printer to work to solve the problem.
I found these cool little adjustable mirrors on amazon. They have a sticky pad on the back of them, but there wasn’t room to stick it on the monitor. So I decided to make a mount to set on the top of the monitor that could hold the base of the mirror.
Confronting the Ghosts of CAD Past
I recently switched jobs again and found that the brackets I made years ago don’t fit my new monitor. So I logged into Fusion360 to see what I was working with. I was relieved to find that I’d created parameters that could be used to adjust the fit without changing the design. I thought. Except that 4-years-ago-me did a bad job of modeling this thing, and changing the parameters quickly broke it.
I have to say, if you are doing any CAD, I highly recommend using parameters. You don’t want to have to go change all your dimensions by hand if you have fit issues when you print it, or measured wrong, or want to put the design to a different use.
You also really have to think about everything you draw and how it relates to the other things you have drawn. Did you make that part 2 in. long because it needs to be exactly 2 in. long? Or did you really want it to be about ⅓ the height of some other piece that’s already 6 in. long? Because if it’s the latter, you’ll be a lot better off if you set up that dimension as a function of the other measurement. That way if you change that value later, the other related values will change along with it. Otherwise, you may change a value and end up with broken geometries, or things that look really lopsided. Then you’ll have to run around changing every other dimension by hand to get things straightened out.
Success – Or Close Enough
I eventually got it looking ok and even added to it a bit. It was admittedly sloppy work though. The thing that broke it was changing the parameter for the part that holds onto the front of the monitor. The edge of the monitor shorter on the new one, so it would have cut into my screen space otherwise. I was too impatient to clean up the design, so as a quick fix I just did a cut extrude to shave down that part without changing the parameter.
Here is the new monitor mirror in action:
Possible Future Improvements
If I get a chance, I would like to re-draw this from the ground up. That’s the easiest way to make sure that the parameters and relationships are set correctly. That way when I need to make new ones in the future – due to getting a new monitor or changing jobs – I can simply change parameters and print.
While I’m at it, I might round off some of the corners to make it look a little nicer. I could also look into thinning walls out to increase the range of movement for the mirror. So far it hasn’t really been a problem though. I’ve always been able to set it to the angle I need.