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Making custom designs is FUN :)

Submitter: Paula Fusiara
Description: From time to time mechanical engineers at ASTRON are faced with unusual requests. Apart from designing functional parts for radio telescopes, we also have fun addressing and answering questions like: "Paula, can you come up with something and design a custom made creative farewell gift?", "Do you have anything specific in mind?", "Nope. It should be nice".

What a question! "Creativity" is my second name!

Such speed/rush assignments are fun, because there are no limits - beside the time, and I can let my fantasy go wild. Try to combine the two - zero limits but design something cool looking and have it ready within 5 days.

End of March we bid farewell to our colleague RF engineer Martijn Brethouwer. I worked with Martijn within the MFAA team and I got familiar with his PCB design for the MFAA beam-former board. Hence, I decided to make something mechanical on basis of his beam-former board design. Obviously, the other main aspect that should be incorporated was ASTRON logo! What should the gift be made of? 3D printing offers the most design freedom hence the choice was self-evident.

The only bottleneck was the time, because although 3D printing is most of the time associated with "rapid prototyping", the meaning of word "rapid" is also relative. It is not that you send a file and one hour later you have it delivered at your desk. 3D printing and post processing products externally also takes some time. That was the reason why Martijn received only some photos of the finished CAD drawing of the gift.

The real deal has finally arrived and was printed at Shapeways. The pictures of the tactile gift are shown above. It is a 3D printed business card holder with an incorporated mechanical rendition of 1/4 of the MFAA beam-former board on top.

The holder is made of 2 layers. The inner pocket construction is based on a rectangular mesh with an incorporated spring for holding the business cards in place. If you look closely, you can also see the ASTRON logo at the background of the beam former board. The outside shell as you can see is mainly to remind Martijn of ASTRON, and one of the many assignments he completed. Moreover, the content of the holder should remind him of the people he worked with at ASTRON!

Enjoy your gift Martijn, it will be shipped to you soon!
Copyright: ASTRON Mechanical Group
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