I 3d printed a custom lid / back panel

I have finally printed a new and improved version of the lid! It’s main feature is that it now has room for W-LAN antennas.

The last print was pretty good and I ended up using it for a while. But it was too flexible. When I pressed on the lid, it would bend inward and touch the panel. Eventually I got concerned and stopped using it.

To mitigate this, I enforced the model in several places by removing a bunch of empty space. I also printed with 100% infill and 0.1mm layer height this time around. Over all I am happy with the result. The print looks a lot better and is more sturdy.

Since the last print, I also made several changes to the 3D printer in the hope of improving print quality, although with limited success.

I also got a set of specialized soldering iron tips to help with inserting the brass thread inserts. This worked great.

Having the W-LAN antennas in the lid makes a huge difference. In a series of before / after measurements I found the reception improved by 7 to 10 decibel. If you’re interested, the antennas I used are the ones here.

Unfortunately I forgot to draw a channel for them from the left hinge which is why I ended up having to file one out of the print :sweat_smile:

The 3D model I used was modified from the the .step file in the upstream MNT repository using FreeCAD. You can find all the different versions in my Git repository here: Niklaus Hofer / mnt reform 2 laptop lid · GitLab

Modifying the .step file in FreeCAD is a bit like editing a PDF file in Libre Office - it works and the result looks OK, but the state in between is cumbersome and rather ugly.

Because of this I have now started re-drawing the model from scratch in FreeCAD, but these efforts are on-going.

Note that I have a beta model of the MNT Reform which has a different lid design. The from scratch re-draw will be of the production model. This should be better suited for 3D printing anyway since the cut-out for the panel is less deep, resulting in a more sturdy print. But I have yet to convince @minute to sell me a production bezzel to match the production lid… :wink: