Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Finding the best way to find north

The compass clip being printed
Orienteering is unfortunately also a fairly obscure sport in the USA, and mountain bike orienteering even more so. Coming from an adventure racing background, the gear requirements are much less demanding for mtbo (a bike, map board, compass is about all one needs) but I still found that I was lacking that certain something, namely, a convenient method for attaching my Moscow Compass to my fancy new AutoPilot map board.

Coming from an adventure racing background, I'm fairly familiar with modifying or making new gear to fit my needs as it's rare to find a piece of gear that does everything one wants. In the past I've made sails for canoes, extra pouches for packs, tow straps for kayaks, and numerous other crafty things. With all that experience, I figured the engineer in me could find a way to solve my problem.

The finished product attached to my Autopilot map board
Enter the world of 3D printing. One of my co-workers recently got a Cube 3D printer and I figured I could use it to make what I need. I popped the compass I had out of the thumb baseplate, took a few measurements, and came up with a 3D model using the free Sketchup Make software package. That design was exported to the Cube printer, and 4 hours later I had my part. 3d printing isn't perfect yet, so I did do some cleanup with a dremel, but overall it came out great! I've done a few test rides with it so far, and am excited to try it out in training and competition during the next two weeks. If it works out really well maybe I can make them for the team.

-Peter Jolles

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