Shade for the Garage Door Opener

blindersAll modern garage door openers have a safety feature: a small light beam to detect objects that might be in the way. Most of the time this feature is unobtrusive working in the background for my safety.

Occasionally, though, the sun would be at an angle that blinds the beam receiver. When the sensor is blinded, the garage door opener defaults to safety and behaves as if there was an obstruction in the door. Great for safety, not great for actually getting the door closed. What we needed was a sunshade.

The tolerance requirements were very relaxed relatively to the other projects. I didn’t even need the precision of a caliper, a ruler was enough to get me in the right ballpark.

I rotated the shape 90 degrees, so that it faced down, to enable easier printing. By doing this the shape could support itself as the 3D printer built up the layers, no need to waste material printing supports. Aligning the object in this manner also resulted in a cleaner inner surface for the tube.

At the time of this project, my 3D printer was loaded with transparent filament. I decided to perform a test print even though a translucent shade would be counterproductive to the goal of shading light. I thought I’d make a few test prints and iterate to the final design as my 3D projects usually do, and load a different filament for the final print.

My plan was foiled by the realization it fit and worked right off the bat. Even though the end result is not opaque to light, I suspect it breaks up enough of the sunlight. If the transparency ever becomes a problem, I can always spray paint the exterior of the object.

Good enough! I declared the project complete and moved on to the next thing on the to-do list.

Update: I’ve printed and installed an opaque replacement.

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