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Printable high gain wifi antenna

Posted by Buback 
Printable high gain wifi antenna
January 11, 2011 10:46AM
I've seen the cantenna designs, but they make your appartment/house look like a dorm room.

I'm also certain that a 3d printer could print a much higher gain directional antenna than you could get by building a cantenna.
I've seen mods of satellite TV parabolic dish antennas used for wifi, and they can transmit and receive over multiple miles.

the printer can make groves/guides for wire, so that they are all the proper length for the wavelength.

i'm thinking that it would be 3 major parts: the dish, the tx/rx arm, and a mount.

the dish- size will depend on usage scenario, but perhaps for a first antenna, the goal should be largest, highest gain possible, with least amount of assembly. a single bed would be a good size, but warping might throw off the shape, so maybe a modular dish made up of hex shaped pieces.

tx/rx arm- the above linked article from engadget has a good design, so just copy that? of course, it'll have to be positioned properly based on the dish design

mount- probably best to start with a pole mount, for external mounting. a flat bottomed table mount can come later.
Re: Printable high gain wifi antenna
January 25, 2011 12:53PM
I made up a quick 2 piece reflector. I didn't follow any formula for calculating the proper size for wifi or even find a proper shape of the parabola. I don't know if the focal point is in the proper place. so this is non-ideal, but i don't have a lot of time to do it properly and just want something to experiment with.

once assembled (with glue) it should produce a 20 cm wide trough, 5 cm deep, 5 cm tall. stack them on top of each other if you need.

I don't know the reflective properties of PLA, or ABS, at wifi frequencys so I just assume that you'll have to glue aluminum or copper foil to the face of the dish (or wire mesh, maybe melted into the face?)

really, i just wanted to do something ugly so someone would come along and out do me. :-)
Attachments:
open | download - dish.stl (11.5 KB)
open | download - dish.png (32.4 KB)
Re: Printable high gain wifi antenna
May 26, 2011 11:10PM
I don't know the reflective properties of PLA, or ABS, at wifi frequencys so I just assume that you'll have to glue aluminum or copper foil to the face of the dish (or wire mesh, maybe melted into the face?)


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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/26/2011 11:24PM by VDX.
Re: Printable high gain wifi antenna
May 27, 2011 08:33AM
Probably not as powerful as a cantenna but there is the antenna boaster made of paper and tin foil at

[www.freeantennas.com]
[airfart.blogspot.com]

Should be able to design a 3D printable one.
Re: Printable high gain wifi antenna
June 01, 2011 06:46AM
I actually have one of those. In practice i don't think it boosts the gain much, but it does block out interference from behind the dish.

it's actually the uninspiring performance of those antennas that made me want a printed option.
Re: Printable high gain wifi antenna
June 11, 2011 04:54AM
Awesome Idea!

How about using a metal spray paint to increase the reflectivity of the material?

I think the highest gain could be archived using a parabolic or semi parabolic form with the emitter sticking out of the center.
Should look like one of these radar antennas then.

You could also employ a secondary smaller reflector on the other end which reflects onto the larger dish to increase the gain even further.

The problem is your emmitter length should at least be 12.5cm for 2.5ghz or 6cm for 5ghz which makes it difficult to print the dish on a standard printbed.
You could print it in pieces though...
Re: Printable high gain wifi antenna
June 11, 2011 03:52PM
I built one out of a kitchen sieve, cut a hole in the centre and pused a USB wifi dongle through. I remember I worked out the focal point for the sieve, and had the chip of the dongle in around the right place. It worked really well, improving the signal strength greatly when stealing the neighbour's wifi! cool smiley
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