Fully printable PCB vise

by sneakypoo, published

Fully printable PCB vise by sneakypoo Apr 14, 2012

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97083Views 31980Downloads Found in Electronics


Pretty self explanatory, it's a vise to hold PCBs steady when you are soldering your components.

The ball joint design gives you a fair bit of movement to position your work where it is most comfortable.

The main drive screw has reverse threads on one side to make the jaws clamp your PCB right in the middle of the vise.

The base has a few square holes for magnets to keep it steady on your workbench.

The vise can hold PCBs with a maximum width of 10cm.


The STLs are oriented the way I printed them on my Ultimaker and they were printed without a raft or support for minimum cleanup. The grooves of the jaws do need a bit of cleaning unless you've got retraction working well (I haven't bothered with that yet) but other than that the pieces should come out pretty much clean.

Please note that the threads are quite tight (at least on my print) and will require a bit of convincing the first few times. Add a bit of water to them to keep the heat down and work the pieces back and forth untill they work smoothly. I made them tight to minimise the flex in the jaws as you tighten them on your PCB.

The "swivel" and "bracket" parts have guide holes for short pieces of 3mm filament to aid alignment when gluing them together. I undersized the holes so you'll have to drill them out a bit if you decide to use them.

The main drive screw needs to be fairly solid or it will become too brittle. I first printed it with a 3.5mm fill spacing and then promptly dropped it on the floor which caused it to break in two...

Update 120427: Added pcb_vise_v2-drive_screw_2parts_left and right which is simply the drivescrew split into two parts to help vertically challenged printers :)

Update 120428: Added pcb_vise_v2-Bracket_2parts_bracket_left and -right (sorry about the long names, they help me keep track of all the parts). There weren't a hole lot of room to add in any alignment helpers here but I hope you can manage without them.

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I already had a PanaVise Junior but had modified it to take larger PCBs (like, from my 30 year old computers). I needed your vise for smaller things that I now work on, like Arduino PCBs. Using a TAZ 5 printer, Simplify3D slicer and ABS, I had ZERO problems printing all parts. NO dremeling or sanding required!

After using for a short time, I decided that I could improve the stability by using the PanaVise Junior's heavier base instead of your base. I used Fusion360 to create an adapter which was basically just a "ball" end that fit the PanaVise "clamp" with the other end gluing to your vise.

Thanks for designing and sharing!

thank you
i will make it

thank you
i will make it

thank you
i will make it

thank you
i will make it

thank you
i will make it

Fantastic design! Thank you for the time it took you to design this.
I use this device all the time on my bench.

Got the whole thing printed, and it looks great. Quick question though, are the thumb screw and the stopper meant to be glued in? The fit on those to the screw is pretty loose for me... Could be my printer though...

Yes, they're meant to be glued. It was a long long time since I made this. Had I designed it today, it probably would've been different :)

Alrighty. Thank you for a great design!

Would you consider posting the design files? What program was this designed in? Love the design!

For those with everything being too tight, go here http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:633582 and adjust your slicer accordingly, once you have done that you will find that the screws fit perfectly.

slic3r 1.2.x XY compensation test
by Patola

This is a lovely design. Kudos.

Hi all, I need your advice and help, I have much trouble with Drive Screw and jaws, one could turn completely after much effort, but the other has been impossible for me to do, any advice to reprint parts?

Fantastical Design! i have printed with Ultimaker 2 extended + witz 0.1mm layer, the result and quality are good, but its a little bit difficult to turn the jaw over the the drive screew. but sometimes forward and backward turn and it's would always better and better :)
Thumbs up!!

Comments deleted.

Great Design!

Printed on a homebrew delta in PLA at .3mm layer and 60% infill, a few notes:

  • take your time and print slow, especially at parts like the thin neck of the base and the "crosses" on the stopper and thumb screw, to allow cooling time between layers
  • also consider plating parts like the screws and stopper together to allow more cooling time between layers
  • take steps to avoid warping when you print the bracket i.e. glue stick, heated bed
  • consider printing the bracket very slightly over scale (102%) and the stopper and thumb screw very slightly under (98%), this will make everything go together with a lot less filing and fiddling

What a challenging print..... The hardest by far was the jaws -- definitely needs a 5 mm brim in slic3r. Thanks.

Just a question though - instead of having the 'x' go into the drive screw from the thumb screw, why not extend the drive screw through the hole and make a hex end. Then the thumb screw would just be a cap over the hex?

This was one of the first things ever I designed for printing, over four years ago. There's probably quite a few things I would've done differently today.

Congratulations on a really nice design. The aesthetic is perfect for printing. Mine turned out fine and is working well. I concur with those who thought the main thread was too tight - it took a bit of work to loosen up. The knobs are really nice. The only thing that had a printing issue was the ball. The overhang near the neck was a bit too severe and there is a tiny sag there. A nice change might be to have one of the feet extra long so that it could extend under the work piece a bit more; eliminating a tendency for it to topple. With all that said, I really love this design and this is the coolest thing I've printed to date. Everyone who has seen it loves it.

Thanks for the great work.

I liked your idea for a longer leg so I went ahead and modified the base file. Here is what I came up with. I have not printed it yet but I'll let you know how it goes.


Base with Extra Long Leg for Fully Printable PCB Vice

Is the bracket suppose to be curved on the bottom? because it's NOT printing out square!

I'm not a complete idiot, obviously it's flat on the bottom...

Blame your printer. Most likely you're suffering from warping.

No I've been watching it print and that's how it's printing...

And what does the STL look like in your slicer? Is it curved there?

well you do have rounded edges all the way around. But my print is printing it tapered all the way around on the bottom for about 4mm.

PS also the treads aren't tight as you say they are. They are actually loose on the lock screw. The others are tight and work great.

This project was a waste of time and material to print!

Comments deleted.

45 people that have posted pictures of their completed prints disagree with you. I can't help if you're incompetent, that's your problem.

its ok...some retards got a printrbot simple for xmas early it seems and expect it to be brainless operation....all user error. model is fine. and as for scotty. suck it up chump.

Does anyone have any tips for printing the threaded section? I cant get it to remain secured to the base, I have tried hair spray, painters tape and glue stick alas no luck.

I used a raft and it came out great

Have you tried printing with a wide brim or raft (in addition to glue stick etc)?

I love this, if you don't mind I'll modify your bracket to have some more attachments for clips, lights, magnifying glass, etc. Thank you!

Jul 17, 2015 - Modified Jul 18, 2015

I can't figure out how to print the main screw. Even if I'm trying to print a half screw in PLA with a 8mm brim and bed at 60°C, the screw just goes away at 85% of the job.

How did you fixed that ?

Thank you.

EDIT: I have finally printed a half screw with a 8mm brim and reducing the printing speed at 30% after 60% has been done.

Looks like a really nice piece of kit! I designed one myself but it requires some hardware and lacks the whole ball and socket thing. Had I seen yours first I doubt that I would have gone through the trouble! 41 Makes!

Just wanted to say thank you for sharing this, it works great!!

The only thing I don't like about this design: it looks like a toy.

other than that, good work. I'm printing it currently.
Oh and do you have a reason for making both knobs differently? The edges are more pronounced on the upper knob, and it has more edges. I was slightly confused.

I use this thing all the time it works better then my store bought due to its flexing thanks alot for giving this value able thing to us u the man
ps. I printed the main screw at 98% in W D and 100% length and its perfect on a rep 2

I use this thing all the time it works better then my store bought due to its flexing thanks alot for giving this value able thing to us u the man
ps. I printed the main screw at 98% in W D and 100% length and its perfect on a rep 2

I had a lot of issue with the original thumb screw (poor design for printing, and too weak). I eventually did a new one in SW, and that did the trick. In case you wanna take a look: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:402323http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...

thumb screw
by AFlanni

A few thousand downloads and you're the first to complain about "poor design for printing" on the thumbscrew. It prints just fine. You made the connecting cross slightly thicker and that's about it, not exactly a revolutionary change for printability...

BTW, it does seem like a great design. Thanks for sharing it.

Rude! Mine printed just fine but the cross snapped off.

Never said it was revolutionary, I said it works. I printed your thumb screw 4 times, with various adjustments, broke everytime. I decided to rework it and it printed great and worked first time. The only reason it is on thingiverse is because I figured it may help with any design revisions in the future. I don't care what you do with the info, but since I had to fix it I thought maybe you would like to see. The rest of the vice is great and I enjoyed making it, and it has already been of great use.

Comments deleted.

any recommendations on the type of glue to use with PLA? superglue never seems to stick very well..

I'd recommend using a 2-part epoxy. Awesome stuff!

Excellent!! A great addition to my work bench. Thanks!!

I've almost completed this build, unfortunately the "Lock Screw" for the swivel clamp is full of errors and confuses my slicer greatly. No amount of Netfabb fixes the problems. Is there any way you could check this model out and see if you could fix it?

Right, I've been trying to fix this bloody thing now for the past 30
minutes and I can't get it :/ I know I didn't have any trouble slicing
this back when I created it using KISSlicer. The new version of KS
doesn't like it much though and creates a mess of the threads.

tried upping the tolerances and quality of the stl import (to the point
where it refused to even try exporting it due to too many triangles).
Tried running a few random repair filters in Meshlab and also ran it
through Netfabb cloud. Nothing seems to get rid of the degenerate

If anyone has any ideas on what I can do to export a clean STL from SolidWorks 2010 I (and grabercars) would appreciate it.

For your own peace of mind, and for anyone else looking at this and wondering whether it's printable or if they should skip it, all the screw files slice just fine in Slic3r 0.9.9. So it's still doable, if you use the right slicing engine on it.

I'll try to take a look at it. Give me a couple of days though, I'll barely be home for the next few days, sorry.

great design and nice detail, well done!

I am printing one. Nice work and I am going to love it.
Two issues: 1. The jaws are hard to print - small footprints of the vertical groove is kept being knocked off. I end up fill all the vertical groves, leaving 2 long horizontal groves. 2. I think by using dovetail joint, glue could be eliminated making it totally printable. =)

looks really high quality, nice work! just wondering what the ball joint was like, is it really loose or does it have a stiffness/friction to it?

Thanks :) The joint is quite loose, it will not support the weight of the upper part on its own, it needs to be tightened by the screw. At least it's that way on my print. I guess if you had a rougher finish there would be more friction.

The clearance as modelled is 0.3mm, I made it that way so that it would be easy to reposition.

Very nice design! I have a hard time getting the main drive screw to work because it's an extremely tight fit in the jaws. Am I doing something wrong? Any ideas on how to fix this post-print? Or would it be possible to scale down the thread on the main screw a bit?

I don't know about "wrong" but maybe your machine is slightly less precise than mine or others causing the clearances to be smaller. It IS a tight fit however and will need to be worked on for a while to get smooth (remember to add some water/oil/what have you so you don't overheat the plastic and melt it together).

Why did I make it so tight you ask? :) Well, in earlier versions I had threads that where more loose fitting and I found that it made the jaws flex a bit too much for my liking. The jaws would form a "V" instead of being parallell which I didn't like.

I guess you could scale it a bit to make the
screw thinner but I haven't tried that myself so I can't say if that would work for you.

After a bit of working back and forth and basically letting the thread grind itself smooth, it works now. Thanks a lot!

im having a lot of trouble printing the drive shaft on my thing-o-matic. whats happening is the plastic is somehow getting above my extruder head.... any suggestions?

This is an awesome part! Very well designed.

I'm having a heck of a time printing the jaws (everything else printed perfectly). My problem with the jaws is that the overhangs will curl slightly, and then the small pieces will get pulled loose from the plate. I've tried different layer heights, slowing the print down, and I even printed and
installed a duct to see if that helped with the cooling. Is anyone else having these issues? How'd you get by them?


hey i had the same problem, try printing with a raft, that worked for me.

hope this helps!

Thanks, I'll give that a try.

A tip for slic3r users: Print the bracket and the jaws with 80%-100% infill, since it may only generate one solid layer on some surfaces.

Also a big thanks to Sneakypoo for this awesome model!!!

And thank you for posting a pic of your print, love that colour.

Do you think it would be possible to make the base such that we can fill it with sand or water?

That's a really interesting idea. I'm sure it can be done but I wonder if the current base has enough volume to be useful. If I were just to hollow out the base there would be some ridicolous overhangs so support would have to be used internally which would make it harder for sand to get in there.

I'll have to have a bit of a think on that one.

another idea might be a coupler that allows you to attach this to a helping hand base (http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3928375)http://www.radioshack.com/prod...

It would violate the whole "fully printable" thing, but some counter-sunk holes in the base would let you screw it onto something heavy.

this is a great design, but trying to print this ive noticed 2 weak points, the cross on the thumb screw really needs to be a square peg or something a little thicker, breaks the peg off easily, and the back of the Swivel where the lock screw is could do with a little more plastic, over tighten that and the plastic just splits

1 right jaw left and ill have a complete vise :D

That might be a good idea for the thumbscrew but honestly I don't think it will be much of an issue if you use a fair amount of infill. You don't really need to put a lot of force on the thing for it to lock a PCB in place since it rests on the ridges.

As for the back of the swivel. It's actually twice as thick as what I started out with :P It hasn't broken for me yet but I see your point. The good thing about how these printers work is the layers they create as they help lock things in place. Unless your print is super smooth it'll grip quite n
icely without putting too much strain on it. But, if people start reporting problems I'll put up something stronger.

Any chance you could split the bracket in 2? Cupcake build platform is too small to print it. If i can get it split in 2, then i could probably super-glue it back together.

Added pcb_vise_v2-Bracket_2parts_bracket_left and -right (sorry about the long names, they help me keep track of all the parts). There weren't a hole lot of room to add in any alignment helpers here but I hope you can manage without them. Let me know how it works out for you.

Incredibly well made and fun to print! Thanks!

Next time I have to use fresh blue tape though, I warped the frame for the screw but it still fit together with some elbow grease ;)

Thank you for the kind words :) And also thanks for posting a pic of your print, it's a kind of weird but fun feeling when you see something you've put a lot of hours into popping up in real life all over the world.

Is there a way to break up the drive shaft in 2 pieces? My current machine barley prints 100mm high. Advice on how to do it in some softwarepackage would be enough ;)

Alright, pcb_vise_v2-drive_screw_2parts_left and right added. I put a little peg on one of the pieces and a hole on the other. There's 0.3 mm of clearance on the sides and a full millimeter between the two parts, should give plenty of space for a glob of glue.

Hope that works for you, if not, let me know.

thanks a lot! Going to let you know how it went :)

Get a bigger printer ;) I'll split it apart for you when I get home from work which should be in about 6 hours or so.

Wow, looks great. Downloading now but my extruder is currently down. Has anyone used this? My only concern is the base. It looks too light/small to hold under the torque pressure of a soldering iron on the far side of a PCB. It looks like it'll flop over. Can anyone comment?

Depending on how hard you press and how far your PCB is sticking out, yes, it'll flop over. That's why I added the holes for the magnets. I wanted to save some printing time and material by making the base a bit smaller (and because I thought it looked nicer :) ).

If you want to I can make you a bigger base, just tell me how big you want it. The current base is just a hair under 10cm at the widest.

Well, I can't print right now anyway :'( I'll try the stock one first. Thanks tho.

What software did you use to design this? Nice job!

I used Solidworks for this one.

This is amazing! I love the way you've got this made, thanks!

Very clever design idea. I'm impressed that it is totally 3D printable.

Thanks :) Being fully printable was one of the main goals when I designed this actually.

Want one... Why oh why am I still building my 3D printer, when I could just print the tools I need to do it

Been there bro... gave up after 9 months and just bought a makerbot to fix my reprap...

Great design! starting slicing now.


Sweet! Please post pics when you get it completed :)

It looks beautiful and functional. Nice work!