Threading 3D Printed Parts: How To Use Heat-Set Inserts

We can make our 3D-printed parts even more capable when we start mixing them with some essential “mechanical vitamins.” By combining prints with screws, nuts, fasteners, and pins, we get a rich ecosystem for mechanism-making with capabilities beyond what we could simply print alone.

Today I’d like to share some tips on one of my favorite functional 3D-printing techniques: adding heat-set inserts. As someone who’s been installing them into plastic parts for years manually, I think many guides overlook some process details crucial to getting consistent results.

Make no mistake; there are a handful of insert guides already out there [1, 2]. (In fact, I encourage you to look there first for a good jump-start.) Over the years though, I’ve added my own finishing move (nothing exotic or difficult) which I call the Plate-Press Technique that gives me a major boost in consistency.

Join me below as I fill in the knowledge gaps (and some literal ones too) to send you back to the lab equipped with a technique that will give you perfectly-seated inserts every time.

Continue reading “Threading 3D Printed Parts: How To Use Heat-Set Inserts”

A 3D Printed Car Jack? No, Seriously!

Ah nuts, I lost my car jack again. What will I do? Well, why not 3D print a new one?

Uploaded to Thingiverse earlier this week, this design allows you to 3D print a fully functional car jack — provided your build platform is large enough. It’s actually a bit of a promo for the Cheetah 2, a massive┬ámodular 3D printer by [Hans Fouche]. Earlier this year we shared his 3D printed lawn mower; which spoiler, also works.

The neat thing about the Cheetah 2 is that it doesn’t use filament. It actually processes plastic pellets right inside the hot end, allowing for much cheaper material — typically dollars on the kilogram, as opposed to the $30+/kg we’re all used to being gouged on. Of course, you could also make your own filament. Continue reading “A 3D Printed Car Jack? No, Seriously!”