Saturday, March 23, 2013

Canolite D flash unit: Fixing the batterycover using 3D printing

Time to write a few lines to this blog and boy has it been a while. Last time I wrote was in October about rooting my phone.

This time I want to revisit an old topic. Over a year ago I wrote about how I fixed my Canolite D flash units battery compartment. The flash became much better but there was still one problem, the battery cover itself was broken. Two little bits had broken off from the cover that used to lock it in place. Since the cover was broken I had to use a piece of tape to hold it in place. This was not a very elegant solution so I started to thinking about how I could fix it.

I had read and seen videos about 3D printing and was terribly excited about this new technology. I saw an advertisement that Sculpteo offered a free 3D print if you registered to their site. I decided to try it and see if the printing resolution would be enough for my project. I placed my order and after a week I got my android key ring. The key ring had pretty elegant and fine structures which meant that there was a fair chance that my project would be successful.

Then it was time to find the tools that I would need to create a 3D model of the battery cover. As a software tool I chose Autodesks 123d since it was (and still is) free software and it would most likely be enough for my purposes. Of course, I also had to pick up a calibre and start taking measurements. After a while started to get a hang of from what kind of shapes the battery cover was comprised of. Then it was time to start playing around with 123d and start putting together an stl-file. There where a few hurdles in figuring out the best way for doing certain things, but mostly the whole process was quite easy. Of course, I had to be very precise. 

Anyway I managed to make an stl-file and uploaded it to Sculpteo. The solidity checker showed that my design was solid enough to survive the printing process intact so I placed my order. 

This is what I got back:

Canolite D: Perfect fit! Success!!

Canolite D: 3D printed battery cover on the left

Canolite D: 3D printed battery cover on the right

As you can see the project was total success. The part fits perfectly to the flash unit. This really proves how cool 3D printing is as a technology. You can manufacture spare parts to stuff have not been in production for a long time and make them usable again. It is not much short of a miracle. 

Now all I need to is load some film to my camera and start taking photos. Yes!!!

If the battery cover of your Canolite D is broken, you can buy the one I designed from Sculpteo. Here is the link to the model:

PS. One more thing (this is so cheesy and what makes it worse I'm wearing a white turtle neck), I also had figure out how to make the contacts for the batteries. I went to a local store that sells spare parts for cars and started looking. I came across these things:

Diesel fuse.
They are fuses for a diesel motor. They are made from thin sheet metal and are easily bendable, very cheap and thus prefect for my purposes. Little cutting and bending I had working contacts for the batteries.


  1. Hi! I have a similar issue with my Canalise D cover. Is there any chance you could share the stl file? I'm based in the UK and was thinking of heading to a local 3D printing shop and getting one made!

  2. The design is available at Sculpteo webstore.

    1. Its no longer available. Is it available anywhere lese? Thanks.