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Advice for USB dongle enclosure

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I'm working on a USB dongle adapter designed for a niche audience. I've reached the point where I need to figure out how to encase the device in a cost-effective manner without sacrificing quality. The adapter is comparable in size to a very small USB flash drive or a YubiKey. My plan is to use a 3D-printed, two-piece shell that snaps or glues together around the circuit board.

So far, I've tried using PLA for the 3D printing, which is functional but doesn't have the premium look I'm aiming for. When I try to improve the finish with a bit of sanding, it ends up leaving unattractive white marks on the PLA.

The SLS Nylon option looks and feels better, although it has a slightly rough texture that seems acceptable. I'm leaning toward using the nylon material for the final product.

I have a couple of questions:

1. Are there any disadvantages to using nylon for the enclosure that I should be aware of?
2. Are there any other materials or techniques you'd suggest that might give the product a soft, rubber-like feel?

I appreciate any guidance you can offer.

You can try to use Plasti Dip to get the rubbery surface you want. And in that case the base plastic does not matter. You can even try to not use any plastic at all and just dip the whole PCB.

I've also seen people attempt using multi-filament-head printers w/ a combination of a rigid material for the structural core and an outer layer of tpu... the results looked mixed, but might be something to try if you're up for an adventure.

I love nylon as a 3d printing material but it has an important limitation; things don't usually stick to it. So if you go nylon, you may not be able to coat it; or at least no durable coating. Best you could do would be some kind of sleeve over it.

Synthetic rubbers include TPU TPE and silicone rubber. Silicone is easy to mix and coat but i'm not sure on how to get the best adhesion. I've used PVC pipe primer to bond TPU to PLA which worked pretty well.

The white mark problem with PLA (and many other plastics) can be fixed with a heat gun. Just be careful not to heat it up too much.


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