3D Printed — Um — Hook And Loop Fasteners

[Teaching Tech’s] latest video discusses “3D printed Velcro.” But as even he admits, Velcro is a trademark, so we think it is more appropriate to talk about hook and loop fasteners. In fact, you can see the good-natured official video about the trademark below [Teaching Tech’s] video. Regardless, his experiments with several 3D-printed Vel… fastener designs are worth watching.

Some of the designs were rather large, like we would have expected. However, some of the designs were fairly small and looked almost like real Velcro. However, since the pattern is not as random as the fabric portions of the real deal, it seems like alignment between parts is more critical when you are joining the two halves.

The obvious question: What’s the best material to use? [Teaching Tech] tried PLA, PETG, and TPU. TPU didn’t lock very tightly. The conclusion was that PETG was better, and — oddly — the stringing on the print was actually an advantage in this application. The bond was also surprisingly robust. We wondered if there was any advantage to printing the hooks in one material and the loops in another. Let us know if you try that.

If you use OpenSCAD, he has created a file you can use to reproduce the hook and loop design. Honestly, if you had asked us if you could 3D print this kind of thing, we would have laughed, but it appears to work much better than we would have thought.

If you want to learn more about how this stuff works, we can help. This looks much different than the 3D-printed fastener we saw back in 2013.

38 thoughts on “3D Printed — Um — Hook And Loop Fasteners

    1. You’re absolutely right. The unwashed masses tend to throw all those different types of mechanical peelable fasteners into the Velcro bucket, and then when people try to avoid the v-word they end up at “hook and loop” when it’s only a fraction of the total category and not even the right one.

    1. The video is the first honest coverage of the genericization of trademarks that I’ve ever seen. Velcro is in bad trademark times if people refer to competing products as “Velcro”, but they have no legal grounds to ask you not to. So they’re left literally begging.

      Instead, we usually get mail from lawyers for companies with brand-names who insinuate that we could somehow be in trouble, and making odd pseudo threats. And I’ve seen this FUD campaign work at other places.

      So kudos to Velcro for telling it like it is.

      OTOH, love the OpenSCAD models. Apply to whatever. Sweet.

      1. I don’t call competing products “Velcro”. I call ’em “velcro”, because you don’t capitalize common nouns in English. “What’s that stuff on your shoes?” “Why, it’s velcro, of course”.

        But you *can* pluralize common nouns, as in “Many independent manufacturers and sellers now provide a large selection of competing velcros”. And English also lets you verb “velcro”, as people have been doing for at least 30 years or so that I personally know of.

        I wonder what the status of “Velcro(TM) brand velcro” would be…

    1. In German it’s called Klettverschluss, which is a generic name and a good one, since it refers to nature’s example/rolemodel: burdock.

      Burdock lock/fastener would be a good generic name to adopt.

    1. Hi, it’s me, Anonymous a-hole again. I was wrong.

      Limited patents have completely valid uses. The problem is the patent system has been corrupted beyond the original intention by vested interests.

      Trademarks have absolutely valid uses. They help keep scumbags like me from stealing the good will and reputation of companies and organizations for the purpose of perpetuating fraud and scams. Nothing inherently wrong with trademarks.

      1. Yes, trademarks are fine, patents not so much as they stifle innovation.

        Copyright should work like trademarks where you need to continually renew it every 20 years or so, rather than the “extend forever” Disney is trying for.

        1. You don’t know how trademarks work.

          They last forever, as long as you continually defend them.

          For example: ‘Steam Boat Willy’ will someday become public domain, Mr. mouse will forever be a trademark of the evil empire.

          Patents encourage innovation, at least in theory. The natural, lawless form of a patient is called a ‘secret’.

          To get a patient you have to wright your invention down and record it.

          Slimy lawyers have returned us to just keeping innovations secret though.
          At least in the USA the patent law system is ‘richer litigant wins’, patent lawyers win.
          What you should expect when so many GD politicians are ambulance chasers.

    2. Trademarks can be misused, but the problem with not respecting trademarks here is that it damages our ability to talk about the actual products. If every car is car is called a Chevy because we don’t like trademarks, then good luck finding parts that fit your Chevy.

  1. Can’t expect everyone to know every single your of fastener out there, let alone the Correct(TM) name for them. I, for example, have literally never heard of that 3M thing, ever, so how am I just magically supposed to know?

    “Velcro” , on the other hand, is used everywhere even in regular conversation.

  2. Here in the Netherlands the name “Velcro” is known, but the generic name we use is “klitteband”. In Dutch “klitten” is the name for the knots that grow spontaneously in long hair.
    The “Hook and loop fasteners” also does sound awful to me. the person who came up with that name severely lacking in the naming department, or it was made up by velcro itself, to deprive their competitors further of a decent alternative name for their product.

    When I translate “klitteband” to English. I get “tangle tape”. That has a nice ring to it.

    1. In Dutch “Klittenband” (https://nl.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klittenband) comes from the same source as “Klettband” in German. That’s the seeds of the Klit plant.(https://nl.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klit)

      The name does not refer to spontaneous tangles in your hair. It refers to the way the seed pods get tangled in hair and fur.

      The seed pods have hooked hairs that get caught in fur of animals and the hair of humans. The animals transport the seed pods far from their siurce before the fur grows out and the seed finds a new home far from the parent plant.

      1. Well, the root words Vel (velour = velvet cloth) and Cro (crochet = hook) are French, so you might be forgiven for thinking it’s a French invention.

        But it was actually invented in Switzerland, so you might be forgiven for thinking it’s a German invention :-).

  3. That’s a surprisingly self aware video from Velcro. That being said, these mega corps can cry me a river. Human language doesn’t give a damn about the bloated US legal system, nor should it.

    1. So when you need high-quality hook-and-loop fasteners on your next project, you can cry me a river when it turns out that the “Velcro”-branded stuff you used based on published specs fails and ruins all of your work because it was counterfeit crap. But it’s OK because language doesn’t give a damn!

  4. I made some traction belts for drilling robots with TPU which used an interlocking shape, sort of a 2D version of the mushroom, pretty interesting result and pleasing to play with the belts. https://github.com/Shootquinn/ARD3/blob/master/ZipperDrive%20Traction%20Belt%20System.pdf https://youtube.com/shorts/fARg3XMnxzk

    Bummed I missed the Printables contest 🤣

    These belts also double as a weird form of fusible link, that reminds me of the stitching in seatbelts to limit the maximum load before giving a little. Except, only one fails at a time, so it can act as a fuse over and over. https://youtube.com/shorts/93L0BQHL1FU https://github.com/Shootquinn/TechBriefs/blob/main/Cold-Welded%20Staged%20Mechanical%20Fusible%20Links.pdf

    1. Exactly what I thought without even watching the video. And props to all you others enlightening us (me-USA) about the other names. I was born using Velcro here in the US without the knowledge of “hook and loop” being the actual product type, so for me Velcro meant hook and loop until knowing it is “hook and loop” at least in the US. So it almost seems like a manufacturers plan to patent a product that seems revolutionary and name it (what they want) so everyone buying one goes right to Velcro for their purchase, interesting 🤔

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