Monthly Archives: July 2016

Box for GoPro batteries


IMG_2200I recently bought a GoPro and wanted to make a box to store the batteries. To be clear, my model is Hero 4 Silver and is using these (AHDBT-401) batteries. It’s easy to find the electrical properties (3.8V DC, 1160mAh, 4.4Wh), not so easy to find the physical size. Here is a quick overview of the key dimensions I noted:

side size top

Out of this unreadable post-it, the important to remember is

  • the full battery measures 36 x 10.9 x 32.5 (in mm)
  • the bottom part of the battery, where GoPro is written measures 30 x 10.9 x 30 (in mm)

The design will be symmetric, to allow to store the battery facing the lid or the opposite side, to distinguish between full and empty ones. I also decided that 4 spare batteries is a good number.

I usually draw my laser-cut design with inkscape but I decided to follow a different path this time. I recently discovered fusion 360, which is free (as in free beer, not free speech) to use for hobbyist. So, for the first time, I did a full 3D model, that can be found here. You can play with the model online and explode it to see the various components.

This is one of my first parametric 3d design, I learnt quite a lot. It’s then definitely time for a pro vs contra using Fusion360 vs inkscape.

Pro fusion 360 / against inkscape:

  • design is fully parametric, changing thickness of material or size of the battery does not involve to restart the design from scratch. I typically had to move from using an m2.5 to a M3 screw (to match what I had in my inventory)
  • you can use standard parts in your design (I used a M3x12 bolt and nut)
  • You got full mechanical constraints, so you can play with your various pieces and check. I discovered an issue that way (there was not enough place for the nut) and avoided a prototyping iteration
  • There is friendly support on forums and a lot of very well made explaining videos (tutorials) on a youtube channel.
  • There is a CAM module, to do machining with a CNC (not tried yet)
  • the web viewer has support nice features. You can explode the components, select specific components (using design button, top left). Time to check the model again 😉

Pro inkscape / against fusion 360

  • inkscape is open-source, uses a standard format, stores locally. This allows to use version control and have lots of freedom (and is future safe)
  • fusion 360 has a 1-year long license that you can renew, courtesy of autodesk and is storing its data in autodesk cloud. It might stop at any time, locking you out of your own designs or forcing you to pay an (expensive) license
  • inkscape’s use of splines is more common for computer users (rather than bezier)
  • Doing a full 3D model currently takes me ~3x more times than drawing in inkscape. I think on complex design, the reduction in the number of iterations evens this out.

Overall, I’m super glad I tried Fusion 360, it’s quite easy to use and has super nice results. side

About the design itself, I wanted to have a design with a lid and it’s the first time I really have moving components. the trick I used was to deport the axis of rotation on the top-left to make the rotation work.

I used 2 bolts and nuts for the rotation (M3x12). Tightening them is enough to have a lid not opening.As usual, the box is also posted on thingiverse.

For bragging rights, some more pictures:

IMG_2171 IMG_2151 IMG_2206 IMG_2203