Entirely Printable PCB Holder/ Helping Hands

by whowhatwhere, published

Entirely Printable PCB Holder/ Helping Hands by whowhatwhere May 5, 2010


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This is a set of helping hands designed to be entirely printable AND able to be extended when needed.

The all site around a tidied up version of the lockable joint I posted previously ( http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2872 )

NOTE: sorry for the poor rendering I\'m still getting used to using sketchup. It doesn't show but the arms should be fully pose-able.

I have improved the link itself, created a quick \"Clamp\" form of the link for holding PCBs, and created a base where 4 \"arms\" can be attached.

NOTE: Thanks go to Pandelume for the suggestion to replace the traditional 6 sided nut with a fluted thumb screw!

The base may seem rather small but if two arms are being used to hold the PCB then the other two can be extended and locked into position as legs to give the more stability.

The based is very simple at the moment as I didn\'t want to complicate an already experimental design unnecessarily

This is an experimental design (I have tried to make the thread large but dont know how well it will print), however If the design works (assuming I will have to make some mods) then I would like to design a range of different \"Heads\" other than the PCB clamp provided as part of this design.

I\'ve included the SKP file for anyone interested - As a point of interest I had trouble with sketchup when calculating interceptions between models, and found that the software is much less likely to leave hidden holes in my designs if I work with the model at 10 to 100 times normal scale and then shrink it down for generating the STLs.

I posted a lockable ball and socket link yesterday as part of my design work leading up to this.


This design is untested.

3 STLs

Part 1 = Normal link unit
Part 2 = PCB clamp unit
Part 3 = Base unit

Update (7th May): Issues exist with this design preventing successful print (See comment below from ssd).

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I finally got the pieces printed on my K8200, after I fixed all parts to make them printable by removing many internal surfaces, etc. So they are now all solid now. But it still needs more work. There seams to be no play at all between pieces that "interact". Both threads and ball joints, so the nut can't be screwed on. btw it has reverse thread... why?

I tried to build this, but it didn't seem to work. Both the rod and nut are hopelessly non-manifold to the point that I couldn't fix it in meshlab, although I don't claim to be an expert. It appears to have flipped faces and a few internal faces.

The nut built as a shell, and the inner surface isn't substantial enough to hold any threads. Not sure why, but I'd guess either the walls are not thick enough for it to be solid, or the non-manifoldness made it not draw correctly.

The rod seemed to mostly draw correctly, despite the non-manifol
d problems, but it appears to be drawing some internal faces, which reduces the accuracy of the build. Overall it does seem to have threads, but I don't think they align correctly. I think my machine's accuracy isn't good enough. Contributing factors would be Z axis wobble, the thinness of the to
wers (they droop slightly as they are built), and oozebane not being calibrated well enough.

Also, I was only able to build a portion of the rod before the pressures at the base caused the raft to partially detach. I aborted the build when I noticed that the part was wiggling as the platform moved

Since the nut didn't build right, I coudln't even test to see if the threads would work.

Result! (not the one I was hoping for, but still...

Thanks for the report, I can only plead inexperience in build/design issues, I knew the resolution and stability might be problems but I didn't know about the Z axis wobble or the "droop".

My bot kit turned up yesterday so I've started building it's going to be a while while I get it up and runn
ing and learn how to use it before I can come back to these designs and try to correct/improve them.

However I do plan to get back to this design at some point and make it work :)

I've found (as a general rule) that parts with outlines that make large closed curves work very well. If the curve is too small or has intermittent areas quality suffers. But perhaps this just means that my oozebane isn't sufficiently well calibrated.

I really like the basic idea behind this PCB clamp. But i fear that this would not really help me in the soldering i work on, because it does not support the print enough. I'm doing a lot of SMD soldering in my job (down to 0402 pasive components and 0.4-0.3mm leg pitch at IC) so i think i know where my problem would be with your design.

To get the soldering done fast and clean, i have to push the tip of the soldering iron quite hard against the copper pad, to get the heat down on the copper first, and not into the component, and i think your design would not be able to support that kind of force...

For THT components this could be handy tho, but i almost never have to solder them, except for some connectors.

Anyway, still looking forward to see it the screw/thread can be printed. ;)

hey looks cool, i just have a question does the makerbot/ reprap 3d printers print threads good? I'v been wondering about this for a long time, if so could you tell me how you created the treads track or path? im using blender and was wondering how to do that

I don't have a makerbot so I don't know how well the threads will print, I made them 2mm thick so I figure they should work within the minimum resolution, but until I can test I'm just guessing...

My greatest concern is that imperfections will mean the nut has to be printed loose in order to work and that could defeat the purpose.

As to the threads I made them in SketchUp using a plugin called "Screw 2.0" that did all the work for me, I don't know blender so I cant be much help there I'm a