Parametric Locking Connectors

by davidlvann, published

Parametric Locking Connectors by davidlvann Aug 13, 2011
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These connect two parts together by sliding the keyed piece into the slot on the other piece until the overlapping edges snap over the ends, providing a secure connection. The variables given to the modules let you easily resize the connectors in length, width, and depth, as well as change the dimensions of the key, making it stronger in certain directions if needed, or preventing incompatible versions of a design from being connected.

If you make one or use these files, please give me feedback! I'm currently without electronics for my Prusa so I can't test and revise the fit yet. Probably nothing that can't be fixed during cleanup with a file or a heatgun.

EDIT: I have made a "flush fit" version with the locking tabs recessed into the part. With this version, the x, y, z dimensions specified are the maximum outer dimensions. The tradeoff is that the bit reinforcing the key from twisting is thinner. EDIT EDIT: The flush fit .stl and .scad now have the male connector rotated so it prints without impossible overhangs.


The x, y, and z parameters are the outer dimensions of the whole connector. The key_x, key_y, and key_z parameters are the dimensions of the key, with the exception that key_y has a y_overlap added to the key to give it a secure base where it meets the mounting block, and a matching cutout on the female connector. The y_overlap formula could be increased to create a stronger attachment to the key if the connectors need to hold under more force. I just chose values that didn't create overly thin looking pieces.

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I'm printing your file "as is" on my new TOM, and it's not doing well. First of all, Skienforge noticed that one or more of your parts is not sitting on the platform. It allowed an automatic adjustment to correct that.

However, I'm printing your part as I write this. It created a raft for the male part, but not the female part. The male part is printing fine so far, but the female part doesn't have a chance. No raft for it, and it appears to be sitting in thin air... it started printing the female part on the
5th or 6th layer, with no support.

I'm new to the MakerBot world, but not to CAD. I'll fix the design so that it's printable. I'll also fix it so that the parts can be seperated... I can tell just by looking at your model that once the parts snap together, there'll be no seperating them unless y
ou also print a small crow-bar. :)

Using my Ultimaker I printed the flushlocking connector after scaling to 150%.

Unfortunately the allowances in the parts are not sufficient for a loose locking.