I’ve made a lot of replacement parts and toys with my Makerbot since I got it February 2011 and I’ve seen some really creative uploads on Thingiverse that solve problems I was not aware even existed. This time around I think I just might have created one of those uploads.
I was recently asked to design a cable adapter for the Big Grips iPad case. It’s a big squishy foam case designed to be “kid-proof”, and while it succeeds at that, it also makes administrative tasks like charging a real pain. The case is super squishy and good for kids but the case is so large it makes the dock connector inset by nearly 2 inches. While I’m sure this provides some extra protection from tiny hands, it also makes plugging the wiggly USB cord extremely difficult for adult fingers.
My initial goal was to create an adapter that would both incorporate an easier way to plug in the device and keep it in line with the original design ascetic. I started by taking caliper measurements of both the iPad USB sync cable and the hole in the case that allowed for dock port access. The finished adapter press fits over the Apple USB cable, it takes a good bit of effort to squeeze the cable in, but once in place you can tell it’s not going anywhere (which is important when you’re designing something for use by/around children). Once installed, plugging in the USB cable is as easy as sliding the adapter into the dock port opening. The USB cable is automatically lined up, no muss, no fuss.
This small batch order was for 22 adpaters, one of my largest “production runs” to date! It was pretty amazing to see a big pile of these adapters ready to be unleashed on the world and I can’t wait to see my creation out in the wild.