I created a 3D printed customized hitch cover that lights up by incorporating a store-bought brake light hitch cover.
My project started out as 3D printing a trailer hitch cover like the ones on Thingiverse.com. https://www.thingiverse.com/search?q=trailer+hitch+cover&dwh=175cdf1d3a762cb
But then I spotted a brake light cover in a parking lot in place of the trailer hitch. I really liked that idea better and considered it as an additional safety feature. The brake light version of the cover wasn’t difficult to find and was about $12.
The brake light was easy to install and connect to the electrical wires, but I still wanted to add my personal spin (customization).
So I 3D printed a cover for the light. You may have noticed my personal logo (mashup of G and J) in place of my picture on my social media accounts.
So of course that is the logo I used for the cover. The logo is the negative (empty) part so the light shines through.
Even though I measured multiple times, I still produced multiple iterations of the printed item. I consider it prototyping, until the item fits and I run out of ideas on how to improve it. I went through 3 iterations for this 3D printed project. I tried rounding the corners of the cover, but that was even more difficult to size to fit over the red light.
The light measured 3″ but the cover ended up being 3.32″ in order to fit over the light.
Since the brake light cover itself runs through the hitch with the lock, I just used zip ties to attach my cover over the brake light. The zip ties will have to but cut and replaced of course, when I actually use the hitch.
Have you tried the measure app? (iPhone) It’s cool how it saves the measurement number in the picture.
For pre-existing 3D printable items (.stl files) that I don’t download from thingiverse.com, I design myself using tinkercad.com. A free web-based, easy to use CAD type software with starter shaped objects to drag and drop. Like the square I used to create the hitch cover. The printed iterations were done on my PowerSpec Pro3D printer. No rafts or supports were needed. I prefer to 3D print items that don’t require rafts and supports since they leave rough edges after they are removed. The print time was 1 hours and 52 minutes for the final version with the 2 inch sides. (deeper cover)
Final 3D Printed Project Dimensions
- 3.32″ square, outer dimension
- .03″ wall thickness
- .21″ side hole opening for larger zip ties (so tie can reach around)
- .14″ smaller holes at bottom for drainage
- 2″ side walls
Do you have your own 3D printing project or want to learn more about 3D printing? Stop by Workshop88 on a Thursday night between 7pm and 9pm to share it with us. Select the date you can stop by and RSVP on Meetup.com