My 1st real, useful print: deck/patio umbrella clamping bracket

I’m sure this will be something of a letdown for some people. “Really, he made an umbrella bracket?! How boring!”.

However, this is one of the projects I bought a 3D printer for. I have a number of such projects; ones that will be very useful but cannot be purchased anywhere, because no one makes them. Where on earth would I get a bracket like this, that will fit my umbrellas and my deck rail balusters?

So, first, here are a couple of views from Fusion 360:
[ATTACH=JSON]{“alt”:“Click image for larger version Name: UmbrellaClampV3-04_rear.JPG Views: 0 Size: 31.3 KB ID: 1976”,“data-align”:“none”,“data-attachmentid”:“1976”,“data-size”:“medium”}[/ATTACH][ATTACH=JSON]{“alt”:“Click image for larger version Name: UmbrellaClampV3-04.JPG Views: 0 Size: 30.2 KB ID: 1977”,“data-align”:“none”,“data-attachmentid”:“1977”,“data-size”:“medium”}[/ATTACH]
Now, here they are installed:

[ATTACH=JSON]{“alt”:“Click image for larger version Name: _MG_3382_UmbrellaClampInstalled-overview.jpg Views: 0 Size: 814.8 KB ID: 1979”,“data-align”:“none”,“data-attachmentid”:“1979”,“data-size”:“medium”}[/ATTACH][ATTACH=JSON]{“alt”:“Click image for larger version Name: _MG_3382_UmbrellaClampInstalled-closeup.jpg Views: 0 Size: 661.5 KB ID: 1978”,“data-align”:“none”,“data-attachmentid”:“1978”,“data-size”:“medium”}[/ATTACH]

My wife is very happy with them. She wants me to print another couple so she can use them on another umbrella.

A bonus will be to get rid of the rust on the umbrella pole. The pole isn’t rusting – it’s aluminum. The rust comes from it’s former stand. Hopefully, all I have to do is wipe the pole down.
I still have to design and print a ‘foot’ for the pole: one that will hold it the right height off the deck, so the top rail doesn’t interfere with the crank. Just about where it is now should be good.

That has to be super satisfying. Well done!

Nice! Did you print the bolts too?

Yes indeed. I even knurled the heads for better finger gripping.

Yeah, thats the right way to do. There is no better feeling than creating or repairing something that would otherwise cost a fortune or got thrown away.

That is what 3D Printing was make for :smiley:

Nice work.

Excellent work. Thanks for sharing.

Kudos. I always dream of making things that I “imagine” whether useful or just decorative, and now at the age of 75 maybe I’m just starting.

It is not that hard and free of any cost. Dr. Vax made some really good videos on how to use FreeCAD. Those are a really good starting point to learn the basics.

I shall sit down and try to follow his demos when I have a good day and feel I can concentrate.

I have nothing against FreeCAD. I’m just finding F360 somehow more my style. I find the left-hand pane less intuitive than F360’s. Also, the jumping around from workbench to workbench has been somewhat frustrating. I’m always trying to remember in which workbench I will find a particular feature: “workbench X doesn’t have this feature, but workbench Y does”. It does get a little annoying spending more time looking for a feature than actually using it.

Also, I found Paul McWhorter’s series, “Learn Fusion 360 or die trying” very helpful in getting started. Like I said, nothing against FreeCAD; F360 is just working better for me, at least at the moment.

I don’t like Fusion because of it’s closed fashion.

It may be free now. It may be free next year, but what, when they decide it is no longer free? Then all your designs are locked to a software which costs several hundred to a thousand dollar a year. In my opinion they just try to get users into their environment and when the door is closed these users are trapped into paying frequently.

I guess right now fusion is not working with out internet? Usually that’s the first step.

Fusion may be more powerful and more rich feature wise, but FreeCAD is closing in more and more.

Don’t get me wrong. I like the way Fusion looks and works, but tying my work to some company does not feel right.

Agreed, a certain amount of trust in required. Autodesk has stated that there will always be a free, non-commercial version of F360. You can accept that or not. As far as the designs go, so far mine are all one-offs, meaning I never expect to print them again. However, if Autodesk changes their mind about a free version and I do need to re-print something, I have the STL files.

Well, another year, another summer coming, time to get the deck furniture & accessories out. As I stated above, the umbrella brackets worked really well last year. There are only 2 remaining issues: [LIST=1]

  • I didn't make any feet for the umbrellas, and they need them. If I were to set them up without a foot, the winding crank would line up exactly with the top deck rail, making it hard to crank the canopy open & closed. So, as you can see in 1 of the previous photos, I use small concrete pavers to elevate the bottom of the umbrellas off the deck a couple of inches. That worked well, but I planned all along to 3D print feet to replace the concrete pavers. This morning, the 1st 1 finished printing.
    <a href="filedata/fetch?id=9528&d=1617905544">[ATTACH=JSON]{"alt":"Click image for larger version  Name:	_MG_3826web.jpg Views:	0 Size:	772.7 KB ID:	9528","data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"9528","data-size":"medium"}[/ATTACH]</a> I fussed for quite a while about getting the diameter correct, so it would fit the umbrellas, even if they're not identical in diameter. Then I thought, "You're an idiot. Just use a cone shape!" Bingo, problem solved.
    <a href="filedata/fetch?id=9529&d=1617905727">[ATTACH=JSON]{"alt":"Click image for larger version  Name:	_MG_3830web.jpg Views:	0 Size:	839.3 KB ID:	9529","data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"9529","data-size":"medium"}[/ATTACH]</a> <a href="filedata/fetch?id=9531&d=1617905727">[ATTACH=JSON]{"alt":"Click image for larger version  Name:	_MG_3827web.jpg Views:	0 Size:	931.6 KB ID:	9531","data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"9531","data-size":"medium"}[/ATTACH]</a> I left a hole in the top & left the inside hollow, so rain water can drain away.
    <a href="filedata/fetch?id=9530&d=1617905727">[ATTACH=JSON]{"alt":"Click image for larger version  Name:	_MG_3833web.jpg Views:	0 Size:	966.2 KB ID:	9530","data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"9530","data-size":"medium"}[/ATTACH]</a> Here is the 1st 1 installed. It works great, and actually leaves even more room for cranking the canopy open & closed.
  • The other issue is to stop the umbrellas from getting blown right up out of the brackets & out into the yard. I was quite surprised when that happened the 1st time last year. I have designed a very simple clamp to go around the umbrella pole and tighten down with a bolt & nut. I will post more about that once it's ready. [/LIST] Of course, I have already made improvements to the design of the foot. I decided I really didn't need to have the little flange with a hole in the middle at the top of the foot, so I've changed it so it's exactly like a traffic cone at the top; it just ends with a circular hole. I decided the foot could also be redesigned to have even better drainage properties, so I've added 7 vertical ribs to the side of the cone. More to follow on that too.

    The foot was printed in PETG @ 240C/80C, 0.2mm layer height, 50mm/sec speed, 3mm wall thickness. It took longer than I would have guessed to print; about 20 hours.

  • Just in time. Spring has sprung even here in Montreal. 20 C today in the morning.

    The cone looks much better than the concrete pavers from last year. For clamping what if the top bracket was a tad smaller than the umbrella pole, you slide it through then tighten it. If more clamping force was needed the bottom bracket could also be a clamp.

    My original design was to make clamps rather than brackets, but my design skills were not up to the challenge at that time (I might be able to handle it now). Redesigning & printing a new design is not something I want to do, because the ones I have took 5.5 days each to print, and there are 4 of them. So, a simple clamp to go around the pole was a lot quicker & easier. The 1st 1 is done & installed. It works great. Pictures to follow, but don’t get your hopes up: it really is a super simple clamp design.

    With that much print time I agree make a simple clam and be done with it. :slight_smile:

    A new, small issue. I’m finding that 1 of the umbrellas needs to go a couple of inches higher. I pondered modifying the design & printing a whole new foot but that seemed a waste, so I’ve decided to create a spacer to fit into the bottom of the foot I just printed. Should be quite easy to design & won’t take as long to print. Don’t yet know if the other umbrella also needs to go higher.

    Heh, from the first look I thought the foot was printed in TPU two use the weight of the umbrella for additional stability and to avoid scratches on the pateo, but when looking back to the initial post I saw you were using two brackets to hold the umbrellas anyway.

    It improves the overall look, which is always great.

    Here’s the ribbed version I talked about earlier:

    As with the 1st version, I found it was not tall enough. So, I printed a couple of extension tubes:

    As you can see, the flanges I included, which were supposed to be flexible enough to simply slide into the cone part, were actually too stiff & brittle. A few of them broke off. Then I figured out a way I likely could have made them work: simply heat them with a hair dryer or really hot water to soften them, then slide them in. Finally reach in from the bottom with a finger & press the tabs back around the inside of the cone part.

    In the end, I used Gorilla Crazy Glue to join them, like this:


    The extension tubes satisfy the purpose quite well. Now, the umbrellas are high enough above the deck to keep the crank accessible & protect the deck.