I've got a small collection of baseball bats. They are valuable to no one other than me: they remind me of a ballpark where I spent some great evenings as a child, and when I've occasionally noticed memorabilia on eBay or otherwise, I've accumulated a few items that have sentimental appeal to me.
I wanted to display them somewhere that I'd see them frequently, but I didn't want all of the formality of some of the professionally available display cases for baseball bats. First, these bats are not in pristine condition anyway. Second, they are of no economic value. Third, I've got the ability to design and print 3D models, and creating a baseball bat mount felt like an interesting challenge.
The 3D Modeling Effort
I settled on a very simple design: a ring with a missing notch to slide a bat into it. I planned to print the model with PLA, so I felt (correctly, it turned out) that I could make the notch slightly smaller than the narrowest width of the bat. The logic was that PLA would have enough "give" to allow the bat's narrowest point to be forced through the notch, with PLA briefly yielding as I pressed the bat through the notch. That design provided a small amount of safety, that a bat wouldn't be jostled out of the mount by accident.
I wanted some readymade holes to nail the mount to drywall with, and my intention was to use 1" finishing nails. I thought it would be good to angle the holes in a way that withstood more downforce than a 90 degree nail, so I angled the holes slightly.
The Key Design Goal
I wanted to minimize the amount of the mount that was visible. The bats are the "hero", not the mount, and there is no pomp or circumstance around these particular bats necessitating a "showy" mount. So, with my ring design, I experimented with various heights until I found a height that -- when printed in PLA -- seemed to withstand the weight of the bat without any visible distress. Visually, the empty mounts ended up looking like this:
I mounted them in 2.5" inch center-to-center offsets, which worked well for the bats in my collection, and didn't feel crowded:
The Final Product
Here's how the final product turned out -- which met my needs nicely:
Notice how the mounts are a bit hard to even see, and easy to overlook? That's a win!
Want to print out some of these bat holders? Here's the STL. Enjoy!