3D Printed West Marine Panel od

Published date: August 7, 2020
  • Boat Type: MacGregor 26X, Boat Type

I have three West Marine power panels in my 26x right now. I had only one small 4-switch one initially, but my system and needs have grown with my recent revising of the electrical system. I have an issue with these simple and inexpensive panels. Older eyes can’t read 6 to 8 point type in some variant of Helvetica thin. To rectify this I used a label maker on the first one years ago. That was OK until several Summers got to it and the labels are curling. Hmmm, it’s time to King-Kong this.

Revision 1: I started by coming up with a 3d-printed label, but it would have to be glued or screw fastened from the rear as a semi practical solution. Glue was permanent and screws can get loose and wreak electrical havoc. I observed these possibilities after making one as a test. Fussy and sloppy.

Revision 2: So I doodled up something that would sit over the panel and hold labels. Cute, but overly complicated.

Revision 3: Then it dawned on me that I could use the West Marine Carling switches and bus bars in an entirely new 3D printed panel. And that is what I did. You can print a panel in any color, it is non-conductive and you can use ABS as the polymer. Labels can be plastic inserts and hence changeable in color and content, moreover the letters can be multi-lingual and LARGE. about .3 inches is very legible from the cabin and deck. I chose to make this one the exact size of the West Marine unit with a mild swale at the screw mounts to get enhanced performance from the FDM part.

How was it made? 3 hours with my nose in Fusion 360 to gin up a part (a CAD package),10 minutes in a slicer program (writes posts in G-code for a specific 3D printer) then 12 hours on a Printer (Prusa Mk3i). For the first panel I had to make three in total. The first print had settings that were not optimal and the part failed. The next two went well, one in black and one in blue. I favored the blue with black labels and luminescent green letters that show white but glow in the dark. See enclosed pictures.


Model Year: 1998

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