Five ways to screw your 3D printed component
No, we don’t want to screw it as in ruin it. By screwing it, we mean screwing it in literal sense that is inserting screws into your 3D printed model for attaching other components. In fact, much more interesting objects can be made with the use of multiple components. However, it’s important to bring them together and one way to do is by screwing them together.
Although applying glue can be an alternative. However, these approaches don’t result in anything that is particularly strong. So what exactly can you do to bring together various 3D printed objects? Can you screw them together?
Yes, you can drill a hole of an appropriate size to attach various 3D components. But can screw threads to bring them together. The answer is yes. Here are five techniques for including screw threads in your design and print. They include the obvious to the less obvious:
Let your 3D printer yield the threads
Simply design your desired thread into your CAD file. The Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) machine will utter large pitched threads on parts used for functional prototyping or fit testing. It will work well as long as the forces they experience are relatively low.
Drill and tap your 3D printed part
Drill or trap a hole in your 3D printed part. You can do so either directly into the center of the raster fill, or into a designated area made just for this post-process.
Apply heli-coil inserts
Applying heli-coil inserts is a more strudy alternative to the methods explained above. They are great at dissipating extra stress due to the tapering of a standard tapered pipe. They also provide a good medium to seal other standard pipe components to when sealing is important.
Apply heat-stakes or ultrasonic weld inserts
Applying heat-stakes or ultrasonic weld inserts to a 3D printed component is even better. These inserts come in various shapes and sizes and have features that protect against pull-out and spin-out failures. The inserts are melted into the plastic with the use of energy. Doing this forms a solid block around the insert, giving it strength and durability.
Apply press-fit inserts
Press-fit inserts have an advantage over other methods of inserting screw threads in a 3D printed component. They are much easier to install and are good for tensile loads. They can also withstand loads due to a particular degree of torsion.
All in all, it’s best to apply first three methods from the list given above to screw up your 3D printed part.
Image by Creative Tools