3D Printing a Serial Connector?

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3D Printing a Serial Connector?

Post by KingCrazy » Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:14 pm

So, I've mentioned a couple of times in another topic that I'm currently in the process of acquiring a coder's cable. I first plan on making one through some of the DIY methods I've found on the internet (assuming those are still good ways of getting my hands on one). But while researching information about the connector, I had a thought: Would it be possible to essentially re-create an official serial connector by 3D printing the head, and outfitting it with the proper pins?

I'm not a hardware guy, my degree is in Computer Science and not Computer Engineering for a reason! This might be impossible, but I'd like to bounce the ideas off you guys.

Essentially I'm talking about 3D printing the connector head only (obviously the pins have to be conductive, and you'd need to be able to solder out the back). I've seen people take HDMI cables and modify them to make functioning serial adapters. Their coder's cables are essentially just that, from what I can gather: plastic housing that's large enough to fit comfortably in the serial port, with 10 pins that are soldered to the back.

From what I can gather on my research of HDMI cables, the PCB is literally just large pads to small pads (Please correct me if I'm using the wrong terminology! I'd love to learn what the proper terms for this stuff are!) and also seems relatively easy to replicate given the proper materials.

There's two tricky "gotchyas" so far, which I'm sure will seem trivial if I get further into this project and discover a minefield of other problems. The first is that there's little to no documentation on the serial port, itself. I can't find any schematics or diagrams indicating the dimensions for the port. I've taken some myself, carefully testing out some sample connectors (making sure I don't break the port), and I think I've figured out some rough dimensions. I realized the AV port looks almost identical, so I'm basing the shape and size off the AV connector, but shrinking it down to fit in the Serial port.

The second thing is that the 3D printers I'm working with may not be able to create an object that small with enough accuracy for it to be usable.

Has anyone tried something like this before, and would this even be possible given all the proper components? Or am I just wasting my time? I'm not very educated on the actual manufacturing processes of connector heads, so I may be missing something that'd make this literally impossible! Haha.

Would love to hear other peoples' thoughts on this!

Edit: And if anyone is curious why even bother doing this when I can just rip apart an HDMI cable, there's no real reason aside from possibly giving people another way to create a coder's cable!
DCEmu Crazy Poster
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Re: 3D Printing a Serial Connector?

Post by mrneo240 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:17 am

I'll chip in if working connectors are the end goal
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