Well, Not really.
When it comes to building things for Ham Radio, I shoot for perfection. Down to the point where I will reverse engineer every part in CAD and assemble my project in CAD before I even start building. It has saved my butt many times over and if there are people actually following this blog, you’ll see evidence of my pre-planning. Here are some examples of what I am talking about.
This is my dual touch pad code keyer. This took about a couple of hours to make because I was not sure what type of touch pad I wanted. I wasn’t sure if I were going to user a horizontal or vertical setup. So I ended up going with both. The horizontal brass keys are inlayed into a piece of plexi glass. the vertical keys are insulated from each other using plastic grommets.
Here is the actual touch keyer. This project was considered a failure. Everything worked great until you placed the cover over battery/board, which caused some kind of interference and would not allow the “Dah” key to perform well. I ended up mostly using the horizontal key pads. If I decided to attack this again, the Vertical keys will be omitted.
Here is something that most, if not, ALL hams have seen. It’s a PL-259 and SO-239 Connector that I reversed for an amplifier project. Once I have enough small parts designed, I will release just the models (Not editable) for others to use in their designs
Here is a Model of a Mount for the ButterNut HF9V. It’s a 5gal bucket that will be buried then filled with cement and a pipe to sleeve the Antenna. On top of the Bucket will be my Radial plate I designed to attach the ButterNut to.
Here is the plate ready for Action. I will go into more detail about this setup when I install the ButterNut.
Here is a incomplete Vibroplex Bug. I wanted to see if it was possible to reverse the bug and it was almost successful. Things like my family and obtaining my extra class license push this to the back burner. I am saving this to learn how to animate using the software. I still think it looks neat.
You might be wondering how I did this (really?). All of these parts were designed using software called “Autodesk Inventor 2011”. This software is made by the same people who made AutoCAD. AutoCAD is one of the, if not, the most popular software for Computer Aided Drafting (CAD). There is another piece software called “SolidWorks” that I use as well. I find that Inventor separates the Sheet metal modeling from the 3D modeling which is perfect in my trade. These Two pieces of software are the most used software for design and fabrication for a lot of the items that you use today. Most CNC cutting, milling and forming machines uses the files that are generated by this software. After designing the part in CAD, it can printed on a blueprint to be giving to the fabricator, and/or the part can be imported into the software that will convert the information into G-Code for the CNC machine. Once the information is loaded and all the settings are correct, the CNC machine can now do it’s job cutting/milling/forming the part. All of the parts are modeled to 1:1 scale. Meaning if the part is a 12X12″ square piece of metal, I modeled it to 12 inches by 12 inches. That way you can see how it looks compared to other stuff.
If your a ham radio operator, 3D modeling software can be beneficial, even if you don’t have access to CNC a machine. From this software you can generate the blueprints and/or files needed (See my OSJ-Pole prints for example) by fabricators to produce your part. Since you already designed it and gave them the information that they need, it could save money in design/programming. I also think it’s more understanding reading a blue print with proper dimensions than someones chicken scratch or MS paint drawing. My OSJ-Pole print is the most searched and downloaded file on this site because I think how it was presented to the reader.
Autodesk Inventor – Software for 3D modeling parts (They have a free trial!)
Solidworks – Software for 3D modeling parts
MasterCAM – Software used to generate G-Code for different type of CNC machines. (I would not suggest using this software Unless you own and/or know how use the CNC machine your trying to design for)