Symmetric-hinge Polygon Elements

by mrule, published

Symmetric-hinge Polygon Elements by mrule Jan 31, 2011


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Polyhedron components with symmetric(unsigned) hinges. Also, now with octagon.

The previous kit http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4934 had larger facets and signed snaps, and assembly was a puzzle. This script resolves these problems by using only one symmetric hinge. I adapted a concept from http://www.thingiverse.com/twotimes to design these hinges.

These parts are snap and dimensionally compatible with other things tagged "Elements". They are also useful starting blanks for building up more Element-compatible things.

If you noticed that this is a duplicate of the "circular elements" thing, you're right. I posted renderings separately for those who don't want to invoke OpenSCAD scripts.


For trippy patterns to get started, visit

Print using a heated build plate.

The pieces have extra plastic to pin down the hinges: remove this with a razor knife. This will also rounds out the bottom of the hinge providing the full range of motion.

Since these snaps are unsigned, simply lay out your polyhedron design as if building out of folded paper. Keep either the top or bottom side of the printed piece oriented consistently so the snaps will line up properly.

http://www.thingiverse.com/Renosis built an epic polyhedron with the old kit. Hopefully this set will be easier to work with, but I haven't tested the triangles yet. I'm eager to see how larger forms look.

update : These hold together too well. Some of the snaps were damaged when I took apart the dodecahedron I'd made. This can easily be fixed by reducing the number of clips from 6 to 4. If you examine the script, there is a clear example of how to do this down toward the bottom where the triangular piece is defined. Let me know if you want me to render these and post them, or any other design modifications you might want.

note on hinge clearance : The hinges can sometimes be a little tight. Make sure the first layer isn't pressed too far into the build platform. A compressed first layer will propagate up and make part of the hinge wider, decreasing the clearance. These parts are designed to fit tightly and may require pliers to assemble. If all else fails, removing some of the pins on the hinges can make assembly easier.

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How long does this take per side?

I don't get it... These do not seem to interlock. First, you have to cut away the peices connecting all the fingers of the hinge for each piece, after which there is still no way to fit them together without the fingers breaking. These seem to be a waste of time and filament.

This looks great- I might scale, panel and cut this out of wood. If you're interested in seeing how it goes you can follow my blog post about it. http://bit.ly/bigPuzzleshttp://bit.ly/bigPuzzles


Anyway these didn't work well for me, they're too small and the hinges the hinges are too interlocked. So I made my own polygons, see http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:51465http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... :)

Simple Polygon Elements
by ambrop7

Thanks, this is wonderful. By the way, there seems to be something wrong with t.stl; slic3r is complaining and generating bad gcode, and openscad is also having problems importing the stl. I've recompiled it from your scad file and it's all right then (used openscad version 2013.02.15).

Cool! I didn't see this before. Whenever I print the small hinges they are too tight. I'll try with greater clearance or a flimsier process.

This is a recurring problem : the hinges are very sensitive and small changes in printer calibration can make them unworkable. Hopefully you can find the right place in the .scad script to adjust the hinge clearance.

a href="http://www.thingiverse.com/tag:elementshttp://www.thingiverse.com/tag..."
are really great, I love them.