The Best Way to 3D Print Threads; Nuts, and BoltsArticles . Blog
Can you admit that 3D printing nuts and bolts on an FDM machine can be difficult? What’s the deal, right? You can increase your infill, and lower your layer height …and make your threads look perfect! Then you find out how easy it is for them to break. …and all that trouble went to waste. For this reason, they aren’t very common. What if there was something you could do so you can enjoy being able to 3D nuts and bolts, and use them with confidence? Can you print them sideways? That would be a mess, right? I couldn’t even get these supports off. …and a top curvature is always bound to turn out less than desirable. What if we simply cut off the most parts of the thread? So that it can print flat and easy. Can we flatten out all the sharp points, too? We’re going to talk about these techniques for creating better threads on FDM printers. First of all, there’s a huge mistake people are making, and that is in using “Sharp V” threads. It is difficult for an FDM 3D printer to produce those fine edges. So for our first tip, get a machinist’s hand book, and follow the ISO thread forms. This thing is loaded… …With every single dimension and tolerance that you need to make any kind of standard bolt. We’re going to be using FreeCAD to design the bolt today. It is a great free and open source program There are a lot of ways to do this, but in FreeCAD, the thread itself is cut into the bolt by a swept profile of a helix. Here we can see the swept 2D sketch, which represents many different constraints that are provided by the ISO guidelines. Here you can control different dimensions, such as minor diameter of the thread and the size of the flats. By including this flat here, You can greatly improve your threads. Not only that, but they will fit on the same thread anywhere, following the same rules. There’s a lot in the machinist handbook. There are so many I can’t even name them all. They could all be pretty good for 3D printing. The second tip is to cut out the top and bottom layers of the bolts so that they lay flat on the build plate. and also have an easy top layer. You can even extend this cut so that it takes away the fastener head as well. So that you don’t need to print any support at all. I started working on this Valentine’s theme. And for the nut, I essentially applied the same concept that would prevent it from drooping; like you see people do with their holes. and… It’s even more important for threads. I was totally surprised with how well it turned out! I had no idea you could make threads this small with a 3D printer. Our features allowed us to get tighter tolerances, and the 1mm pitch of this bolt is crazy! If you tune all of these parameters, your threads will be the talk of the town. You could even print one with a heart on it, and give it to a special someone on Valentine’s Day. Check it out on my Thingiverse, and I’ll see you next time. Hopefully we’ll put some of these bolts to good use. Thanks for watching. …and do remember to hit that subscribe button!
Written by Brian Rohrer
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