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Battery box for AA cells

by flummer May 14, 2014
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What we really need is 3d printable contacts with conductive filament.

Hi Carter,

I guess it depends on what you want to archive. As an experiment into what you can 3D print, yes, it would be super cool, but if you try to make something like maybe an IoT sensor that's battery operated, you really don't want the extra resistance in the conductive filament, and you want to be sure, that the contact with the battery is good, also after sitting there for 6 months in a warm room.

In my designs, I usually try to make something that can be used, not just for a quick prototype, but also for a DYI project that you use for a longer period of time, combining different elements, where they work best. You can buy really cheap finished battery holders for AA batteries, but it's usually only the 2 cell, 4 cell etc. and my experience is that they easily break and have no mounting holes.

But please share your experience, if you get something working, I'd love to see that.


A slight redesign for these cheap metal clips would make a huge difference. 2 pairs of contacts for $.25 vs the single contact for $.64. http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/bc-133/battery-holder-contacts/1.html

Nice design! problem is we need a better source for the contacts. there is NO reason we should be paying more than $10 for 500 of them. I mean they are literally nothing.

we need to find a china direct source for them in bulk.Z

Hi Nerys,

It would be awesome to find a really cheap contact clip for this. I have been looking, but haven't found any yet. If you succeed, I'd love to know and be happy to revise the design a little if need be.


I found these contacts much cheaper from Allied Electronics.

Mouser was considerably cheaper as well, but Allied was lowest I could find.

Cool, good to have a cheaper alternative to source these.


Awesome work. I've published a parameterized version for cells from AAA-D. I don't have access to the awesome little clips you have so I haven't been able to test it out yet. It's still a work in progress.

You did all the hard work, I just moved stuff around to make it more parametric.

Aaaaand I forgot the link: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:668210

Customizable Parametric Battery Holder (AAA, AA, C, D)
by txoof

Cool, but it looks like the selection for cell size isn't correctly exposed in the Customizer UI... (haven't checked the Scad file yet).

One cell size that would also be nice to have in there is the 18650, the ones often used in small flashlights.


The cell size is now being handled properly; I had to use some meta variables to get around the limitations of the Customizer. I've added in the 168A (18650) and will post an updated version in a few days.

Because of the variable size, I've decided to make a pattern for cutting out battery clips from aluminum or steel stock to make custom clips. That will be in the next version as well.

Absolutely great design. I was wondering though if you would be able to make a version for an A23 battery. I tried customizing it to a single holder for an a23 battery and had no success. Help would be much appreciated.

That should be possible, the diameter of those are similar and correcting for the length should be OK.

I guess I'll have to make a version 2 that can be customized a bit more, right now there are a lot of constants scattered in the OpenSCAD code, so it's a bit tedious to change cell sizes.

I'll probably look into it at some point, but since I don't have the immediate need right know, it might take some time before I get to it, but maybe someone else want's to have a go at it.


I got you, makes sense. Thank you though.

nice but you probably have to solder quickly before the plastic melts! (ABS is better here than PLA).

I had similar concerns, but since the metal is a bit flexible, you can't bend it to be fully flush with the plastic anyway. Unless you are very slow at soldering it shouldn't be a problem, but its always a good idea to pre solder the wire tips so it's only the end of the clip that needs to be heated up in place.


Comments deleted.

Thanks for this design. I like the sturdy clips and in fact they were the number 1 reason I decided to give this a try. I keep breaking the cheap battery packs, again and again. It has gotten to the point where I won't buy them anymore. Even if I try to repair them, the plastic can't withstand the temperatures of even just a quick application with the soldering iron. PLA, on the other hand, has no issues with this provided you don't touch it directly. So...good quality clips plus a nice thick PLA print and the freedom to use better quality wire? Yay!

The only thing this needs is a cover. The clips do a fantastic job of holding the batteries in but I would still rather have a cover as well. Even just from an esthetic point of view, a cover is nice.

Very nice design! I have a couple suggestions- instead of tabs with holes for mounting, put one or two screw holes in each subunit, eliminating the extra space required for the relatively weak tabs. Right now there's nothing but spring tension of the contacts and gravity holding the batteries in place. I'd add a couple slots to allow use of cable ties as battery hold-downs.

I like the idea of putting mounting holes under the batteries, and to not collide with the connection wires on the back, it should probably be in-between the cells.
Instead of cable ties, a reusable clamp of some sorts would probably be more fun.
But good suggestions.

Cool! could you make one for button cells?

I guess it's possible to use these clips for button cells also.
Good idea!

That's a damn fine looking design, dude!


Elegant design - thanks for sharing.
If you connect batteries in series (as this is) you add the voltages.
If you connect in parallel you add the amps.
Could you please add a wire groove on each side so all the positive/negative can be joined?

I'd be careful about that - connecting batteries in series is pretty straightforward and has been done forever, but if they are in parallel then all the batteries will be forced to have the same voltage. That can be a BIG problem if you're mixing types (alkaline, standard, any of the rechargeable chemistries), but even if you're using the same type, batteries will have different voltages - the higher voltage battery(s) will be forcing current into the lower voltage battery(s) and most non-rechargeables aren't supposed to have current forced into them.
This is probably not a problem if you use identical batteries from a new pack (mismatch will be minimal and drain will even out/become balanced after a short amount of use, but I'd be really wary of throwing in mismatched batteries or used batteries with different levels of charge.
Disclaimer: I'm not a battery expert (but I am an electrical engineer).

Good idea, I'll look into that!

I like this, but I wish the price point was lower, at sixty cents apiece for the contacts it is more expensive to make this than to just buy a battery holder. There is a similar clip priced at 1/3 the price at Jameco. http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/BK-209/BK-209-ND/2242938http://www.digikey.com/product... . I'm curious if these cheaper clips would fit after bending the lower portion straight.

Yeah it should have some printable springy parts with normal wire for the contacts. Tough improvising something that will work from junk you have laying around is not that hard.

Do a remix and have it accept a standard paper clip! :)

Good Idea, actually I bet a paper clip could be made to work with this design.

Hi James,
You are right, the clips are a bit on the expensive side. I think I got some of the clips you link to, and they won't fit in without modifications to the design, but I might do another design that can use the cheaper clips.
There are also contacts that are purely made out of springy wire, which are very cheap, but they are a bit more tricky to use/design for.

Just tried making a couple versions and received this error...

<json::parsererror: a="" json="" text="" must="" at="" least="" contain="" two="" octets!="">

Not sure what I did/didn't do properly.

Was that when using Customizer? My guess is that it's just a glitch with the web system, and will work if you try again, maybe after restarting the browser. If you continue to get this error, trying another browser might help, but I'm just guessing.
Valid values are integers from 1 to maybe 15-20 or so... there isn't a limitation in the script, but Customizer might use too much memory/CPU when making large versions and crash in the progress.
If you need to make a larger version, please download the OpenSCAD file and do the compilation on your own machine.

I was actually just trying to make a 2, 4, and 8 cell holders...then I retried for a 3 cell and same error.

Hmm.. sounds weird, I can't reproduce that, works for me every time I try it.
If it continues to not work, contacting Makerbot Thingiverse might be an option, they made and run the Customizer, and will probably be interested in bug reports.

Hey Nice object! I was actually looking for a 12V version though, so I downloaded both your boxes and combined them into one 8-cell box. Here's a screenshot of it: http://i.imgur.com/MHC2zmd.jpghttp://i.imgur.com/MHC2zmd.jpg
If you like I can send you the STL or SKP file for it and you can add it to this object. :)

Cool, another option is also to open up this design in Customizer (Open in Customizer), where you can write in the number of cells you want, and then download the STL file for that.
Looking forward to see photos of your print and project!

oh cool. That's the software? I used Sketchup. Not familiar with Customizer.

Well, I designed it using OpenSCAD, which is code (the file is also available for download if you want to look at it) and if you add in some parameters, Customizer can "recompile" the code with changed settings, which allows people to make their own variations of the design.

This is really cool but I wanted to modify this to fit 18650 batteries.. seeming to have trouble adjusting the size of this.

The way the code is, with 47 translate statements using hard coded values, it is a perfect example of un-fathomable, un-maintainable and un-extendable code. Also seems to me if batteries positions were inverted every other one, like most battery holders work, then series wiring would be simpler. And 60 cent battery terminals are a bit steep, might be better to use a cut up soda can. Grats on getting featured anyway, it is pretty, I'll give you that.

I agree that the code could be a lot cleaner, the reason I haven't spend the time cleaning everything up is mainly because the clips, that this has been designed around, isn't really useable for other cell sizes.

Why on Earth would you need twenty thousand AA batteries?!!

18650 is a battery size, he is not referring to the number of cells ;-)
When playing with roughly 30KV, I don't thing the plastic isolation and the small wires are enough, so please don't try that ;-)

yeah.... I haven't gotten around to having it fully customizable in regards to cell sizes... and with the larger cells it gets a little tricky if you want to use the same metal clips, since the solder tabs might not be long enough to go out in the bottom.

Soon to be leaving thingiverse because of Makerbot's behavior towards open source.
Details: http://www.fabbaloo.com/blog/2014/5/25/has-makerbot-crossed-the-line-for-some-yeshttp://www.fabbaloo.com/blog/2...

Thanks for this, will come in handy for those unique sized projects

Very nice.
Where did you get the metal battery contacts?

They are from DigiKey: http://www.digikey.com/product-search/en/battery-products/battery-holders-clips-contacts/393250?k=5209http://www.digikey.com/product...
If you buy 10+ they are 50 cents a piece, cheaper if you get more...
There is also a link on the instructions tab.