Monday, 26 November 2018

A 3D-printed case for the RX6R

FrSky's latest RX6R receiver is tiny, and offers excellent range. It sounds perfect for F3F, but there's a problem: it comes with a cardboard wrapper instead of a hard case. Maybe okay for a foamie, but not for models like my Stribog.

RX6R with flimsy wrapper. Note exposed conductors!

So I decided to make a proper case for it. To keep the dimensions small, the case would completely replace the existing wrapper. There would be an access hole for the bind button, however for simplicity there would be no access to the multi-function socket (which I didn't intend to use anyway).

Oh, and this would be my first 3D printing project!

RX6R case version 1

The first task was to model the case in the computer. For this I chose TinkerCad, a simple CAD program which generates industry standard STL files. TinkerCad is free and runs in a browser. Thanks to some good tutorials I soon had something resembling a case:

TinkerCad work in progress

As I didn't yet have my own printer, I took the STL file to friend and local printer guru Pete Houghton. He used a 'slicer' program to convert the 3D model to G-code (there are some excellent free slicer programs available, I'm now using Cura). In the final step, the G-code was output to his printer. In less than 15 minutes my little case was born!

First steps!


Magic! A milestone had been reached - and my appetite for 3D printing well and truly whetted.

RX6R case version 2 [updated 22 December 2018]

The first version was functional but the fit wasn't perfect, and it looked relatively crude. So I decided to redesign it from scratch, this time using Fusion 360. This software has some cool features lacking in Tinkercad, for example you can add fillets and chamfers. Fusion 360 is free for non-commercial use. The learning curve is quite steep though.

Version 2 in Fusion 360. Note rounded vertical edges.


By now I had also acquired my own entry level printer. This allowed me to experiment at leisure, and after a couple of iterations I arrived at the final design:

Version 2 of the case

The last task was the easiest - installing the RX6R in the Stribog. The idea was to replace the oversized X8R. The new receiver is much smaller. This means it can lie flat across the top of fuselage, leaving lots of room underneath for the servo cables and some foam packing.

As always, there's a downside: since I was using six servos, a Y-lead was required for the battery. However the space saving made it worth the extra few minutes with a soldering iron.

RX6R + case + Y-lead installed in Stribog. Red gismo next to servo is magnetic switch.

Download STL file

The STL file for the RX6R case is available on Thingiverse. Please note that FrSky have produced two versions of this rx, both based on the same v1 board but with the servo pins soldered on different sides. The case is for the version with the servo pins on the same side as the bind button (see comments).

In conclusion

This little project has been a great intro to 3D printing. Even something as simple as this can throw up some interesting design and printing issues.

For anyone wanting to get started with 3D design, I can recommend TinkerCad, moving on to Fusion 360 as experience is gained. The videos by Angus Deveson ('Maker's Muse' on YouTube) are also well worth a look.

Meanwhile, my next project is rather more complex, it's this digital CG scale published by Olav Kalhovd.

2 comments:

Gerrit said...

Mike,

Just saw your 3d printed case.
Printed it on my 3dprinter.

Tried to mount my rx6r and it did not work..... very strange ....
Then I saw the problem: the pins on this rx6r are on the other side ....!
Does FrSky have two different versions??

The pins on your rx6r are on the bind button side, on my rx6r they are on the opposite side

Could you please share the raw drawing so I can modify it?
You have my emailaddress, so you can mail it to me if you are willing to.

RC Soar said...

I'll email you Fusion 360 file no problem. Could you email me a photo of the board? Thx.