Using a few 3D printed parts, you can re-purpose a portable meter into a low cost bench meter. It’s nice to have the readout at eye level while you are taking measurements.
Normally I use a cheap digital multimeter at the workbench. It’s a great little device which measures voltage, current, resistance, and capacitance. Most of these little meters have an integrated stand, so you can adjust the display for easy viewing. Last week the stand broke. It’s inconvenient to try to view the display when the meter is resting flat on the table.
So, I thought maybe it was time to get a real bench meter, something that can sit at eye level in the lab. But bench meters are typically quite expensive, running from $200 to well over $1,000. Yes, they have better precision than hand-held meters. However, for the type of work I do, a cheap $50 multimeter is “good enough” 98% of the time.
My next idea was that maybe I could find a way to mount the hand-held meter on the workbench. This would give me a low cost bench meter, more useful life for my old device with the broken built-in stand.
Low Cost Bench Meter – 3D Printed Shelf Mount
Not surprisingly, 3D printer to the rescue. As shown at the top left of the picture, I designed a holder for the meter. Then, I printed two shelf brackets to hold the mount firmly. These pieces are attached together using 12 millimeter long M2 screws. Works like a charm. The holder and brackets place the meter at eye level. I can also slide the meter along the front edge of the shelf for better positioning. The brackets are held in place as by “press fit” against the shelf.
Total cost of the plastic parts was around 35 cents. Measurements were easy with digital calipers. CAD design of these plastic parts took around half an hour.
The neat thing about this low cost bench meter solution is that I can remove the meter from the holder and use it portable, when necessary.