Hardware

3D printers are a miner’s best friend

I’ve been a hobbyist miner for years now.  I started with a old Nvidia graphics card mining Litecoins, and rolled my profits up into new hardware.  Since then, Stan and I have purchased and played with almost every miner that actually shipped, and we’re always on the lookout for mechanisms to help the machines run cooler in the shed.

Last year we had a friend donate an ‘old’ 3D printer for our lab, and since then we’ve dug into all the freely available designs created by miners to help manage the machines.  We’ve also made a few of our own designs which I’ll share with everyone today as well.

Diving into Thingiverse

I don’t think anyone would argue that Thingiverse is the current hub of the 3D printing design world.  The site contains thousands and thousands of user uploaded designs that you can download and print for free.  If you search for the right thing you can find dozens of designs made just for crypto miners.  Since 3D printing is much less expensive than other types of fabrication and pretty easy to create, many of the designs on Thingiverse are specific to individual ASIC miners.  There are fan adaptors for all models of Antminers, mounting brackets for power supplies, carrying cases for USB stick miners, and a number of silly things too.

There are a ton of GPU mining prints too.  Why buy an expensive open air case when you can print this one?  Only have a few cards and want to skip the case?  There’s a thing for that too.  There’s even this thing if you’re looking for form over function.  Not sure where you would put that in the lab.

The point I’m trying to make here is that smart people have been building custom tools for miners and you can download and print them for free.  There are even some online companies that will print the design and ship it to your house if you don’t have a printer handy.

Our first, not last, design

After I setup our “new” printer, Stan and I got to brainstorming.  Removing heat from the lab in my shed was the top priority.  We decided to use vents on the roof to extract air, and we wanted to move the hot air up towards the vents and way from the electronics.  We spent some time learning Tinkercad, the free online drafting tool for 3D print designs.  We designed a stand for our (then) new Avalon 741s to point the exhaust towards the ceiling.  Here’s is a look at the designs, plus a few prototypes:

As we learned through trial and error, the PLA we used in the thickness we selected wasn’t up to the task.  The thin base of a few of these have broken, probably because of the heat.  The great thing about 3D printing is that you can change and test your design the same day.  Here’s a copy of the stand we created if you would like to play with it–uploading it to Tinkercad or other software should just work.  We’re working on building a hot aisle setup to further cool our devices.  I’ll post that design as we build it over the summer.

 

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