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Picture of 3D Printed Decoy TV Remote

"Baby, stop stealing the remote!"

Hmm... doesn't work.

Our 18 month old always picks the smallest remote (Amazon Fire TV Stick) from the bin and carries it around. Then she proceeds to lose it in the most random place in the house that will take us a day and a half to find!

Ah! Anyone else have this problem? If only we had a decoy remote! Something that looked and felt like the real thing?

Let's get started!

Note: If you are brand new to 3D printing/modeling/design like me (less than a month now), or maybe never touched a 3D printer before, these instructions show the basic steps needed to complete a 3D product. I hope this helps! In reality this project turned out way better than I thought it would!!!

Step 1: Discovering the Real Deal

Picture of Discovering the Real Deal

How in the world are we going to replicate this perfectly manufactured remote by Amazon? Where do we even start?

First thing to replicating an object with a 3D print is discovering everything we can about it. We use good digital calipers (or a ruler) to take measurements as best we can of all the major parts of the object. For something like a TV remote we sketch it out on paper, noting the basic shapes, measuring the dimensions, buttons, and distances between each component.

Once we've gathered the info on it, next step is reproducing the sketch in a 3D model.

Note: Besides PLA filament, the first thing I bought to go with my printer was a good set of digital calipers. Here is a link to the ones I bought from Amazon: Vinca Calipers

Funniest project i ever saw here.
Probably because i am a father too (3 year old boy), so i know the feeling.
As someone else (pierrard ) said, nice excuse to buy a 3d printer.
Where did you find all of the upgrades on your ender 3
JonathonT (author)  tolmachev.matthew5 months ago
Pretty much all of the upgrades are listed on Thingiverse. I think this link should work to a collection of things I've printed or planned to print:

Also, here are two links to Reddit pages that are more new user guides for the Ender 3. Most I found listed there or in youtube videos.

There is also a facebook group, but it isn't easy to sift through to find what you are looking for:

Good luck!
m9136 months ago
Instead of free-hand paint the white symbols, could you have used the printing program to create an embossed space? Then, just fill in the depressions with paint and sand off any excess above the short "rim". It would be neat, and easy (with the design and printer doing the fine work). But, I do not know the program, so I do not know if it is easy to add specific "negative space".
JonathonT (author)  m9136 months ago
Yes, certainly doable! I did something similar with the Amazon logo. Will have to try something like that
pierrard 6 months ago
My 20 months old steals my motorcycle keys.. and there is no way I could fool her with cheap printed materials to impersonate metal keys, not twice.. I see you did manage to trick your wife in letting you buy a 3D printer, this is something I should try with more chances of success :)
CraftAndu6 months ago
Haha, awesome!
misterxp6 months ago
Remote control is the first thing that kids break when they start to even crawl! Mine still manage to drop it even now they are much older....not to mention fighting over the thing! Wish I had one a few years ago but may be worth making on even now ☺ thanks for sharing. Useful Tinkercad lesson too!
JonathonT (author)  misterxp6 months ago
Thanks! And I agree on Tinkercad. I found just watching someone else use the program helped me learn so much quicker what it is capable of. That’s why I included those. Hope it helps for those new to it!
themanwoaname6 months ago
i have this issue with my 18 month old. but i think it has more to do with "this is dad's remote" than it being a toy. when we're watching tv together, he'll fake wanting something so i get up and he moves to my spot and takes my remotes and pushes buttons like he sees me do.
yves.vanhal6 months ago
I just wonder how much time you spent in total on the project. It seems like a lot of work; although the result is really nice. In the end, you still have to go and look for the decoy in order to fool your kid time after time again. ;-)
JonathonT (author)  yves.vanhal6 months ago
:) Haha, there was some time involved (mostly in the modeling and sanding) but since I was learning how to 3D model and print while doing it, it was mostly to learn and just see if I could do it! If I started from scratch now on another similar object it would probably take less than an hour to prep and start printing a prototype, then an hour to sand and paint after it is printed. Printing an object like this does take multiple hours too. So it could be done in a day if you only have to print once. Cheers!
Mrballeng6 months ago
Great idea. Your daughter is adorable. You got my vote and good luck in the contest.
bgreen36 months ago
This is so funny!
RaymondR66 months ago
Nice idea, but I find it cheaper to buy those Chinese clone remotes for a few bucks each than buying a 3D printing machine and making them. Or make all your remote unreachable by placing then on high shelves, then make all adult users remember to return the remotes to the shelves after using them.
JonathonT (author)  RaymondR66 months ago
Haha, thanks. If only... I have older kids that also use the remotes and therein lies the problem. :)
mattcintosh6 months ago
Of course a real remote costs about $8-$10. What I would be interested in is being able to print a battery cover for any remote out there.
JonathonT (author)  mattcintosh6 months ago
It is certainly a possibility. When I was looking at how I might model the battery cover I saw multiple projects on thingiverse for remote battery covers.
wannabemadsci6 months ago
Wonderful job and great instructable. You got my vote.
I have one concern... dead batteries leak. I would suggest picking up some large steel nuts at the local hardware store to provide your internal weight.
JonathonT (author)  wannabemadsci6 months ago
Good call!
Whitney Fabre6 months ago
This is so funny, and I'm glad you showed a picture of her not giving the fake remote back. VICTORY! Also, I enjoyed that you showed all your iterations and making it better and better each time.
JonathonT (author)  Whitney Fabre6 months ago
Haha, she knew this one was hers!
leggs19596 months ago
This would also be great cache for small valuables like mad money or something small that you want to hide in plain sight.
Haha thanks!
KipA46 months ago
Maybe not appropriate for an 18 month old, but I am envisioning two metal strips embedded on the back side and buttons that activate some shocking results. ;)
How did you get the "Amazon" logo embossed into the print?
JonathonT (author)  TheOriginalNerd6 months ago
Great question! In the linked Tinkercad version 3 project you can ungroup the final design and look at the logo. It is just text that was set as a hole with the arrow shape added underneath. I inset it about a mm or so and the 3D printer responded beautifully to show the text.