There have been quite a few discussions lately around building an AP on a Stick (APoS) rig, and not just any rig, but a professional looking one. Now, I am the first guy to say that if you need something and you can’t find it or it is ridiculously expensive, you should make it yourself. With this philosophy in mind, I have decided to try my hand at designing and 3D printing my own APoS rig. I have been rolling this idea around in my head for a while now but have always hit a snag or a roadblock here and there. As with anything in life, experience is king and I believe now I have enough to bring this project to fruition.
Any good wireless engineer will tell you that before you start a project, you need requirements. What are my requirements for this project? What do I want out of an APoS rig?
- Needs to be able to reach a height of 10-12 feet
- Strong but light
- Mobile, both in use and in transporting
- Inexpensive and use easy-to-find hardware
- Professional looking
Where to start?
I decided to design and build the more complex parts first. These are going to be the most time-intensive and I might as well ensure that it’s going to work before printing a 10-foot pole. So, which part to print first: the base, the AP mount, or the harness for the power source? I decided to start with the AP power mount. Reason being, if this project fails along the way, a harness for the power source and PoE injector could still be useful.
Before I can design I need to know what I am designing for. For this, I turned to my good buddy Sam Clements (@), who directed me to the following equipment:
RAVPower 23000mAh Portable Charger – It is compact and light, inexpensive, has DC output, and – according to Sam – should get you 4-8 hours of charge (depending on your AP of course.)
TYCON DC to PoE converter
10 inch DC pigtail
With the equipment picked, it is time to design a harness. I wanted something light and strong. I also wanted the harness to be easy to print, so I decided to make the it in pieces and use easy-to-find hardware to fit all the pieces together.
The harness is made up of five 3D printed pieces and about 10- 15 dollars worth of hardware.
- 11 – 1/2 inch screw posts (6 were used just for the screw)
- 1 – 1 inch flat head screw
- 4 – 1 1/4 flat head screws (for optional second battery)
- 8 – barbed inserts
- 1 – threaded insert
- 2 – nylon locking nuts
- 4 – neoprene washers
- 2 – conduit clamps or hose clamps
I used 8-32 diameter size hardware. I felt that the 8-32 was a good size, easy-to-find, and had a variety of hardware options in various materials.
The 3D printed pieces are broken down into top and bottom pieces as well as three pieces that make up the handle (which is also optional.) The top piece of the mount has nubs that hold the DC/PoE converter snug. The bottom section has two clips on each side. This makes the inserting and removing the battery easy, while also keeping it secured. The bottom section has mount points for attaching to an APoS rig, as well as attachment point on the bottom for attaching additional equipment, such as the second battery holder as pictured below.
I am extremely pleased with how the first piece of my APoS rig turned out. As they say ” a picture is worth a thousand words”
Next up will be the base for my rig, probably the most difficult piece. I would also like to make some refinements to how the harness mounts the APoS rig.
As always, thank you and I hope you enjoyed reading.