3D Printed Sorter Separates Spare Hex Nuts With A Shake

Got a pile of mixed hex nuts? Sort them in no time by printing [jonafriendj]’s nut sorter, which has options for pretty much any nut size you’d be after (it’s labeled metric, but actually includes Imperial sizes as well.)

Something to admire about the design is the handy little raised labels on each of the sieves, and the fact that all the parts print entirely without supports. Designing a part to play to a manufacturing method’s strengths (and avoid its weaknesses) is good DFM, or Design for Manufacturing.

With 3D printing being the boon that it is to workshops and hobbyists everywhere, it certainly pays to strive for good DFM, especially for designs meant to be shared with others. Sometimes good DFM takes a page from other manufacturing methods like injection molding, and we end up with things like using crush ribs on printed parts.

Want to see a demonstration of [jonafriendj]’s nut sorting design? Check out the short video embedded below the page break. If that leaves you wanting, take a look at a motorized, automated DIY solution.

14 thoughts on “3D Printed Sorter Separates Spare Hex Nuts With A Shake

      1. Yeah of course sieves are nothing new, they are several millenia old. But I still wouldn’t have thought of using a 3d printer for this (mostly since I don’t need to sort that many items).

  1. It’s a nice idea, but does seem to rely on the nuts all being the same thickness? Locking nuts would probably hang up? (I am assuming that the nuts pass through the holes with the hole axis horizontal)
    Also, not much help for my bucket of mixed nuts, where the sorting is between old-Whitworth, new-Whitworth and BSF.

  2. I’ve always liked the “slope made of diverging rods” method, where objects slide/roll down until they fit between the rods, where they fall into the proper container. This is cool too, though…

  3. Thats a much better solution,for my purposes I.would use flat bar,that has been tapered on the sides so that
    stuff cant jam easily on the way through
    down.draft fan for dust and rust
    could be realy good for the small stuff

  4. Not sure that diverging rods would work in this application. An M6 half nut is around the thickness of a regular M3 nut so would fall through rods too early, this isn’t an issue with circular holes as it has to fit in both directions. Diverging rods would work much better for spacer nuts where they’re longer down the thread than they are wide.

  5. Refining this: It would be nice if both containers, the sorting tube, and the lid could stack for storage. With multiple tubes, you could stack the grids and perform the complete sort in a single (extended) shake, and potentially let the tube sections act as storage containers when not actively sorting (modulo some late leakage, or with cap or divider plugged into bottom to form the container).

    Only sorts by outside diameter, of course. Won’t account for thread pitch variation, or for oversized washers if sorting washers. But it’s a good first sort, if nothing else.

  6. Wow! I didn’t think I’d ever see something of mine on here. What a fun surprise! I have gotten some good feedback and made some updates. The design is now customizable so people can use it however they’d like. Thanks for the kind words @DonaldPapp

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