DIY Power Strip?

Power Strip

This is my current power strip situation… Things are tight, tighter than I’d like, and there’s a lot of power strip being wasted. There are three wall warts, and one of them is horizontal while two are vertical. Originally all three were vertical, but I switched one out because there just wasn’t room due to wall warts often take up two outlets because of their width. (I’ve also got a height issue since this is going in a cabinet.)

Power Strips

There are many options for power strips. Sometimes the outlets are vertical, sometimes they are horizontal, or a combination of the two, or some weird twisting rotating thing. For a custom thing, like three wall warts, often the existing solutions aren’t very good. (Especially when space is limited.)

Power Connector

I mentioned that in an ideal world I could just design my own power strip, and then a friend of mine said “Hey, just get these and make your own case!” And then I thought, “Hmmm, maybe that’s not a bad idea!”

But I’m still trying to figure out if it is a bad idea. I don’t know that I could build a surge suppressing power strip for less than the cost of buying one, but maybe that doesn’t matter. Could I design and build something that would be a better fit for what I need. Now, if I were to build a power strip and stick it into a museum exhibit and then ship the exhibit to someone, would that be a bad idea? Maybe… I can see a customer looking at it and questioning the professionalism (and safety) of it. Would a 3D printed power strip pass muster? It seems some power strips are made from ABS, but they typically say “ABS Fire Retardant Plastic Casing”, which may not be the same as 3D printer filament. This could all go terribly wrong, right?

What are your thoughts on a DIY power strip?

5 replies on “DIY Power Strip?”

Growing up, I used a (non-surge-supressing) power strip made from metal wall-boxes and duplex outlets from the hardware store. If I were to do that again, there are a number of things I would do differently (like include a switch, put covers on the outlets, etc). I would even look into seeing what would be necessary for surge protection, and/or GFCI protection.

But I wouldn’t call it safe. I would definitely not do it for anything I was shipping to a client. It’s not (and could not be) UL-listed, which might cause insurance problems in the event that something did go wrong. I would always be fearful of a fire marshal looking at it and going “what the hell is that?”.

It is not the best from a financial point of view but I have taken a store bought surge strip apart and used it to power 6 of the plugs that you show. Put them in a wooden enclosure (ya not fire proof) but I was able to space and orient them as I needed and still have the protection and in my case battery backup since my starter device was a 500watt UPC UPS

If it’s needed given a tight space I’d agree to go for it and build your own using those things and a 3D printed case…just make sure to use thick enough wire and leave enough clearance. I’d say the 3D printed type plastic would be ok, but that’s just a guess, and agreed would be good to double check…

Otherwise if you have a little extra space…you may have already thought of this, I have found a combination of these:

and these:

work well. You can build “towers” as needed to fit the puzzle together and maximize the density. Yes you waste outlets, but I figure then they’re all “standard” parts.

Good luck!

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