Thermal inserts are a big thing when it comes to engineering with plastic. They make it easy to use threaded fasteners with plastic parts, and they work great with 3D printing too. There’s a bit of a knack to installing them without damaging your workpiece, however, and [John Culbertson] wanted to make using them as easy as possible. Thus, he created a thermal insert press of his very own!
If you’re not using heat-set inserts with your 3D printed parts you’re missing out. Hackaday’s own [Joshua Vasquez] wrote a great guide on thermal inserts which you heat up to securely melt the plastic as they are pushed into a slightly under-sized hole. While it’s possible to install these inserts by hand, using a press means much more consistent results.
This press relies on 3D printed components in combination with off-the-shelf bearings and fasteners. There’s a linear rail as well, to give the soldering iron a clean, smooth downward motion. This helps make sure that the inserts go in straight and true, first time, every time. We’ve seen other DIY builds before, like this modified arbor press that gets the job done.