During November, we suffered loop array wind damage. Fortunately, repairs are pretty easy with a 3D printer on hand.
Well, it had to happen sooner or later. During mid-November, both loops in my wideband loop array were damaged during a strong wind storm here in Calgary. You may recall that I have two switchable loops arrayed on a 100 foot baseline. Together with diversity reception, my array does a wonderful job with beamforming and noise cancellation.
You can check my previous articles for details. My loops are made with lightweight aluminum core PEX, and mounted with 3D printed structures. The system has now been in operation for more than 3 years.
During the storm, both loops came down. For one, the only damage was on the plastic mount holding the AAA-5 amplifier. But for the other, the base mount was completely split as the plastic splintered from loop array wind damage. See above right.
When I designed the system, I split everything into modules that fit together, and allowed a single part to break without damaging other parts. That is what happened in this case.
Everything is now back up and running.
Loop Array Wind Damage Repairs
Since all the mounting structures are 3D printed, making replacement parts is quick and easy. However, with my wife’s illness, I have not done much 3D printing since last winter. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when I fired up my Prusa i3 last week, it worked perfectly the first time. As shown above left, replacement parts were produced easily in a few hours.
It’s a good reminder that anyone who prints things should make sure they have safe backups of all their models and STL files. It’s also a reminder that when you print structures for outdoor use, make sure to use strong filament and design with repair and replacement in mind.