3D Printing a Radiation Shield for the Weather Flow Air

Weather Flow Shield – Fusion 360 Model Render

The Weather Flow ‘Smart Weather Station‘ is arguably one of the most innovative weather sensors on the market. Launched via a kickstater campaign in 2017, the system is now shipping to backers and will be made available for general sale shortly.

Air, Sky and Breathe

The system consists of two current hardware modules – the Air and Sky with a third unit – Breathe focusing on air quality arriving at a future date. The Air (pictured above left) measures Temperature, Pressure, Humidity and Lightning. The Sky unit (above middle) measures wind (via ultrasonic sensors), rain (haptic sensors), Solar Radiance and Solar UV. 

Sensor data refreshes every 3 seconds via either the Weather Flow app (see smartweather.weatherflow.com/share/2701/grid for our data feed) or via a dashboard powered by various 3rd party applications.

Local Weather Data Dashboard

Placing temperature and humidity in the field is not as easy as simply putting a device outside. It needs to be suitably shielded from the sun and rain as well as being at a set height (1.25m) to reduce heating from the ground. High end stations often use a ‘Stevenson Screen’ to shield instruments and to comply with international measurement standards. 

Typical Stevenson Screen Construction

Such screens are expensive to buy and often impractical for home based weather stations. As such we decided to model and 3D print our own shield for the Weather Flow Air.

Modelled using Fusion 360 it is designed to be made on a standard 3D printer, apart from the screws required to fix it to a post. We used the Ultimaker 3.

Model Rendered Fusion 360

The model consists of 6 separately designed parts – top and bottom mounts, middle sections,  rods, nuts and spacing washers (again all printed) – and is designed to be easy to print and assemble. Everything slides into place without any need for gluing or fixing.

Assembling the Shield

Each part was sanded (1000 and 400 grit), primed and sprayed with gloss white paint – although this is not an essential, it can simply be 3d printed. The Weather Flow air sits inside and the parts act as a shield against radiation and the sun.

All the parts are available on Thingiverse, Weather Flow makes its data available via UDP, opening up opportunities to link to systems such as Node Red or any number of data displays/home hub devices. We will have more of that in future posts.

Bottom up view from Fusion 360

Btw – Digital Urban is back, its been a long time since the last post – with a focus on connected environments, sensors and sensor validation, data visualisation and 3D systems its good to be back online –  after a long stint as Head of Department (and various other things) at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London.

 

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