Shapeways, The Community

Screws for 3D printing

Shapeways Community member Bill Morris has a fun blog called I Heart Robotics. Bill also has some great designs on Shapeways such as a Sonar Servo mount, chuck key Holder & a toolholder for Torx screwdrivers. In order to let people install the tool holders, Bill wanted to develop a way to use screws along with 3D printed parts. A perfect marriage between the old and the new, don’t you think? You can check out his blog post here.  Its good to see such development because I had
personally given up on threaded screws used along with 3D printed parts. Bolts generally are much easier
to use along with 3D printing and for the White, Strong & Flexible
materials a simple hole will support a screw as long as the wall is
thick enough. Thin walls along with screws might cause the material to tear thought. Bill however worked with the ABS plastic 3D printing material that we call Grey Robust. Its nice to see Bill showing us what is possible.

Joris Peels: Why did you want to use wooden screws together with 3D printed parts?

Bill Morris: I usually drill and tap holes because in many of the projects I work on
there is no way to access the back side to put a nut on. Nuts also have
a tendency to fall on the floor and loosen due to vibration.

After tapping hundreds of holes in 3D printed plastic I thought that
there had to be a better way. I wanted a solution that customers buying
stuff from my Shapeways store could reproduce without buying a set of taps.

I guessed that wood screws might work well, and looked for plastic
screws. While I am waiting for those to arrive, I decided to test the
wood screws.

Joris Peels: What machine and material did you use?

Bill Morris: Stratasys Prodigy Plus with P400 ABS.

Joris Peels: What was the most surprising thing about your findings?

Bill Morris: It was surprising that the wood screws had enough holding strength to
split the countersinks and split the screw bosses.

Joris Peels: Are you going to be doing more testing?

Bill Morris: I have ordered samples of these screws. Once they come in I’ll do a similar test. I am hoping that they will work even better then wood screws since they don’t have a countersink.

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