HingeBox Printable As An Assembled Unit Without Supports

by profhankd, published

HingeBox Printable As An Assembled Unit Without Supports by profhankd Jul 19, 2013

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Here's a printed-assembled hinged box.

It is really a test/demo of a new hinge library I've been building using an improved "unit hinge" similar to my thing 83033. I'll be releasing the OpenSCAD/Customizer library to make hinges shortly, but since there has been a lot of activity on thing 83033 lately, I figured I should let folks know what's coming....


This should be a straightforward print using PLA extruded 0.3mm or finer. This STL file uses a 0.3mm gap between parts that shouldn't be connected, but that's actually a parameter in the OpenSCAD library this demonstrates.... The only aspect that doesn't necessarily print well is the little post used to keep the box closed; it's so small that the extruded filament tends to slosh around a bit, deforming it enough so that you might need to do a little filing to clean it up.

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Hi the box is great, could you to make it parametric, i would like to use it for my arduino apps so if there is achance define size xyz and thickness, you can only add holes for i/o connectors and have the whole box printed at once.
Thanks for repply

Did you actually make this one yourself or download it from somewhere? The printer we have at work came from the company with this already on the SD card to demo the printing capabilities.

This is my original design -- and there was nothing like it posted anywhere obvious before mine.

I don't have a problem with folks using it, but they really should give some attribution. I also have been explaining the principle by which this is built for the last three years, so maybe somebody actually learned something and designed their own version? I am a professor, so that would be cool too.... ;-)

PS: Do you mind saying which company?

I made this, still have to upload a photo, was shocked how well it worked but the snap broke off pretty quickly

The pin latch is touchy.
Perhaps I'll replace it with something more robust....

i printed this on my solidoodle 2 pro and came out pretty good but when i tried to bend it it wouldn't budge. after a little force it snapped

Tolerances on the hinges require a fairly well-calibrated printer. Printing this size, they almost always work for us; printing a scaled-down version requiring about twice as high positioning accuracy fails much more often, primarily depending on filament variations. You might try checking the filament diameter on your spool at various positions... there's a good chance you have varying diameter and are sometimes slightly overextruding. Also, make sure your bed is level and positioned at the right distance from the head; a lot of people deliberately overextrude on the first layer in order to deal with minor inaccuracy in bed position, but that overextrusion will cause precisely the kind of problem you found here.

I had the same result, but had to scale down to fit my printer, so that explains it, the bottom was just flat you couldn't see the 'hinge' parts at all.. oh well.. great design though.

Any word on the scad file? I have some interesting applications for this and would love to run with it. Great design.

Agreed, it would be nice to see the code for this, so we can adapt it. The hinges work perfect, but in trying to use his hing demo, the parameters in customizer are all but meaningless, resulting in any deviation from the demo failing to work. This box uses equidistant interlocking segments (better) while the hingedemo uses thin segments on one side, thick on the other (and doesn't work, compared to this).

profhankd - thanks for the design ! We all know how difficult it is to release polished stuff, but if you could upload the scad file just for the box, it would all help us to better understand how to use these neat hinges in our own designs.

Thanks again !

The tolerances for the hinge seem about right; not floppy, but not too stiff. However, even with a fairly light bottom layer, it was extremely difficult to pop the hinges free - break them free, really - and all but one were ruined in the attempt. Still, it's a good test. Looking forward to having the library so we can adjust those parameters to suit. . .

Our well-callibrated MakerGear M2 is typical of the best of its generation, but lots of printers need more generous clearances. The tolerances are very printer dependent, and that part of the library is fine; the tricky stuff turns out to be the padding of hinge elements to fit dimensions and meet odd/even count constraints, and that will be done soon too.

First layer thickness is more a matter of taste rather than calibration; I think it would be reasonable to have a little bevel to avoid sticking. As I said, the tolerances within the hinge are fine. I could reprint with a lighter first layer and perhaps get better results, but it seems as though it would be better to have a design that works the first time under the largest set of conditions. At this point I think I'll wait and see what the finished version looks like.

I'm not sure what you mean by "lighter" -- I usually print things like this with 2 bottom shells. For anything this flat, I generally print PLA directly on the 70C glass of our M2. By the time the bed has cooled to 35C or so, the object typically detaches itself. Printing this on blue tape, which I use for parts with small footprints, it could be a nightmare to get it off the bed. In any case, if it sticks, I'd recommend using a razor blade in a safety holder to slip under the part.

Our prints detach from the bed just fine; that's not the issue. Most people print their first layer with a higher extrusion width, to improve adhesion and make a solid base for the print. Slic3r, for example, defaults to making the first layer twice as wide as the layer height, with the higher layers narrower. Because of that, the gaps between the hinges were closed up on the first layer when we printed them. I was suggesting that your library could allow for that, so that the prints would be more likely to work for a printer other than your personal one. But of course that's entirely up to you, and if you do choose to release your library, someone else can always make that change.

Oh, so that's what you meant.... The only benefit I've seen from that is slightly-less-bad prints on an uneven bed. I've been printing a lot of camera parts, and the imprecision introduced by a significantly fatter first-layer diameter with Slic3r was not ok. I adjust the bed and run the first layer at (roughly) the same diameter extrusion, and usually get watertight first layers.

I'll think about providing for compensation in the model. My intuition is that Slic3r is really at fault for not compensating correctly when you tell it to extrude a thicker first layer.... Incidentally, I've recently switched from Slic3r to Cura -- it seems to do a much better job, and it's orders of magnitude faster.

Nice work professor. I'd started to create a parametric and customizable hinge box myself. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:82533http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... But I needed to write a bunch of code to optimize the size of the hinge fingers and receivers. It's a lot of work I figured out quickly. My scad file is still customizable but the hinge parameters need to be manually changed according to the size of the box being made. I'm anxious to see how you solve this, I'll adapt it to my latched box if it's not too hard.

Hinged Box With Latch, Somewhat Parametric and Printable In One Piece

that upper right corner of the 4 hinged tile looks a little wack. Maybe you could evenout the spacing because it seems off center.

That's why I haven't posted the library yet. I have code in there to force even/odd hinge element counts and to pad hinges at the edges, but it still has a few issues.... Anyway, this hingebox is fully operational as it is.