Apr 29, 2016

Replacing a Broken GoPro Drone part with 3D Printing

One of the most exciting things about 3D Printing is when you can use it to replace or fix something that breaks. Last time this happened, it was a clock which fell off the wall (no , I didn't knock it off the wall). This time, it was a small GoPro camera part.

Is it strange that I felt lucky when I had something break that gave me this opportunity again? Yes, it's strange. But at least I didn't break it intentionally ;)

The Problem (the broken thing)

I have an older model Drone (DJI Phantom 2) which has an older GoPro Hero 3+ connected to it using a Zenmuse gimbal on the underside of the aircraft. The GoPro is held to the gimbal with a hard plastic strap. That hard plastic strap broke.

As you can see in the image, the break was right at the part where the screw receptacle fits. As soon as I saw this, I knew that I could likely re-use the screw receptacles and fit them into a new 3D Printed plastic strap.

The Solution

I measured the inside spacing of the plastic strap and the thickness of the plastic in both dimensions. It was pretty simple to design a solution here.

First I created a rectangle block to represent the outer measurement (which was the inner measurement plus times the plastic strap thickness (times two for the width measurement since there are two sides to account for on that dimension but only one on the height). Then I created a similar block for the inside measurement to be used to SUBTRACT from the first block. That gave me the basic shape of the strap.

For the ends where the screw receptacles would go, I created a small 7mm x 7mm x 7mm block and then tweaked one edge to make a slightly angled side as you can see in the image. This was an almost exact replica of the original strap design. I duplicated that block for the other side.
I combined those parts so that I had one part for the whole strap.

Then I subtracted holes into the ends of the blocks where the screw receptacles would go. This was the only area where the model needed some precision - so it took a couple of tests to get it right. These holes were 2.1mm radius (4.2mm diameter) and 5.5mm deep.

The Model

Having the metal screw receptacles from the original part made this really easy. If I didn't have those, I might have just left a tiny hole in the plastic ends and hope the screws would hold on to the plastic, but I'm not confident that would work for very long.

If you plan on printing this part, be sure to get a hold of screw receptacles, or modify the model to have a different connection design.

You can find the GoPro Hero 3+ Gimbal Strap on my Thingiverse page.


  1. Order as many inserts as you want....http://www.mcmaster.com/#brass-inserts/=127qsoh

  2. Super helpful link, Mike - thanks!