Plastics are wonderous materials, much loved for their ability to elastically deform and spring back to their original shape. They’re a category of materials perfect for creating things like living hinges and similar mechanisms, and this 3D printed snap action device shows that off admirably.
The device consists of an outer housing, into which two printed springs are inserted. These leaf springs are curved and protrude towards the center of the housing. A slide is then inserted into the housing with a cam in its middle. The cam allows the slide to push past the springs when actuated, while also holding it in place at rest.
As demonstrated the mechanism reliably snaps back and forth between its two positions in a satisfying manner. It’s shown with one side of the housing removed so we get a good idea of how it works. It’s 100% 3D printed, as well. Anyone looking to replicate the design should note the importance of printing orientation, particularly in the case of the spring pieces, which won’t work if layered up in the wrong way.
Overall, it’s a neat design that could prove useful for those eager to build printed switches or other mechanical devices. It’s also simply a great way to learn about 3D printed springs and working with deformable plastic structures. Video after the break.