3D Enclosure and Felt Knobs for the Bitty
The Bitty is a pocket drum machine by Curious Sound Objects. I 3D printed an enclosure to help it sit flat on the table, and I encased the knobs in felt so they are soft and squishy.
Thanks to Digi-Key for sponsoring this video!
Supplies & Tools
For this project, in addition to a Bitty, you will need:
- Felting needles
- Wool roving
- 3D printer– I’m using a Creality CR10s Pro
- Filament– I’m using PLA in purple, yellow, and silver
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I used Tinkercad to sketch out my idea, which is basically a box the same shape as the Bitty, with openings for the switches and knobs. It’s flat on the front to print with that side to the build plate. I punched out the Curious Sound Objects logo from the speaker area. You can grab the file on Tinkercad.
There are openings for the four main buttons, and for the smaller mode buttons. I modeled small bits to extend the mode switches to the outside of the enclosure.
I put some posts inside to brace against the board and created a matching bottom lid.
After printing the first revision and playing around with it, I missed being able to feel the edges of the fancy button caps. See, the speaker front is flush with the buttons, so in order to lower the enclosure so the buttons stick out, I needed to figure out something else for the grille.
I split off an additional piece that’s just the grille with the CSO logo, and the lower part has an opening big enough for the speaker to pass through. This new revision gives me more options for mixing and matching colors too.
As a treatment to dress up the knobs, I brought back a crafting idea I first worked on many years ago– needle felting over the surface of the knob. A felting needle is barbed to catch the fibers of wool as it passes through, tangling and matting the fibers together along the way. So with hundreds and thousands of tiny pokes, a solid shape is molded. The fibers get denser and the whole thing shrinks as you continue to poke. After shaping with a larger needle, switching to a finer needle refines the surface texture and stiffens the whole thing so it’s very strong but still soft to the touch.
Felting takes a while, but it’s a fun and easy craft you can do while you’re watching TV… so long as you’re careful not to stab yourself too many times.
If you’re looking for more needle felting inspiration, I highly recommend my friend Moxie’s book, I Felt Awesome.