Pinecil Case

The Pinecil is wonderful little soldering iron from Pine64. In April 2022, Jarkman tempted me to design a case for the Pinecil. This is the outcome – a tiny and very portable pocket case. If you want to make your own, the 3MF files are shared on Printables.

I timed myself on this, I took a total of 7h 30m from start to finished working design.

This is the way I start almost every detailed design project I do, by pulling out my digital calipers to take measurements and create the space claims for the internal parts in CAD. I modelled the tip, and found a grabcad for the handle, although this was not as accurate as I would have liked which caused me a little delay later.

Hand sketches onto 1-to-1 printouts to explore the over geometry and configuration. These are not beautiful, just a bit of thinking to firm up some thoughts before moving into CAD. Thinking: Where is the split? What is the overall envelope?

  • Concept sketches

Next, I smashed through some parametric CAD. It felt good to be back and up to speed on Solidworks. All the excitement was on the inside here, I wondered about modelling a negative and then a boolean cut, but in the end opted for internal modelling with a lot of use of section views and cuts. I’m not sure which would be easier, next time I will try the boolean. 4h 10m into the project and version 1 is ready and sent to print overnight.

The next morning over my breakfast coffee: 30 minutes of Rapid Sketches exploring fastenings, 8 different ways to hold 2 halves together. in the end I chose a friction fit. You can see that I’ve got more certainty about this design, so the quality of the mark making in my sketches is better. 1 hour more to clean up the print and make a list of improvements for version 2.

Refined the internal details, added the lip and groove and sent the final version to print. I had a play with Solidworks visualiser while I waited. It’s OK for quick renders – it’s not Keyshot.

What!? You don’t take your favourite soldering iron to the beach? It’s a “travel case.”

  • Pinecil Soldering Iron case

For the moment it is done. Maybe in future, it would be fun to do a little project exploring the styling.