Making a Pinecil case

I got one of these nifty wee Pinecil USB-C soldering irons for Christmas

They’re really quite cool: temperature controlled by an embedded RISC V processor, USB-C powered (using modern high power supplies). I even got some extra pointy tips for it:

This left a problem: what do I store them in? The boxes they arrived in are all very nice, but they’re not a long term solution. The answer? Fusion 360 once again!

Design

I put a quick design together to store them all in one canister with a lid:

The body goes in the middle and the tips all hang out around it: the ends poke up into the lid so they’re easily removable.

Printing It

Several hours of 3d printing later, it was done…

Well, actually, no. For the first attempt, the holes for the tips were not quite big enough: I added 0.4mm to their diameter. Several more hours of 3d printing later, it was actually done!

It was good, but there was something missing: some sort of identification. What’s needed is a logo! There’s quite a nice one at the top of the pine64 page: handily, its even in SVG format!

Ever since I bought the die cutter, I’ve been dying to use it with some vinyl designs: I even had some shiny sticky vinyl sheets in the cupboard waiting. One of them was a nice shade of shiny blue: perfect.

I ran the SVG through inkscape and adjusted it to size. Before any sort of cutting, I tested the design with a cheap ballpoint pen and paper to make sure all was well. Then I loaded the vinyl into the die cutter:

I sent the file to it and cut it, resulting in the following (This picture is actually slightly later in the process):

  • I’ve removed the unwanted excess vinyl
  • I’ve stuck a small square of transfer tape on top of it.

Transfer tape is used to transfer the design from the original vinyl onto the item you want to attach it to. It was relatively easy to transfer, but needed a bit of bending of the backing to ensure all the small pieces came across ok:

Finally, I could transfer it off the transfer tape and onto the pinecil case:

Final Result

The final result looks pretty good!

Extra Notes

  • I added a small 5mm groove around the outside (except on the top of the lid) so I can put an elastic band round it to hold the top on, but not have it wobble about.
  • I stuffed some small offcuts of felt into the holes in the top so the tips wouldn’t rattle about.
  • I’ve put the canister designs up on thingiverse (BTW, the logo design is not included).

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