Hand-Screw Clamp

by jakejake, published

Hand-Screw Clamp by jakejake Jun 25, 2017

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This is a proof of concept of a new thread design which can make a hand-screw type clamp, commonly used in woodworking. It won't match the strength of an actual clamp, but I tried to make a clamp that was as strong as possible, with 100% 3d printed parts. For this, careful consideration needed to be made so that each part respects the grain of the 3d print. It is, however, still a 3d printed plastic clamp, so don't get too crazy with it!

See my process for designing this here.

Print Settings:

I printed everything with standard draft settings, in PLA. Through testing, I found that the small "SlideHinge" parts are always the first things to fail. They break off at the very tip of the end that captures the rotating knob. So if you wanted it stronger with minimal changes, you could print the "SlideHinge" part solid.


This is tricky to assemble. The design intention wasn't to make a simple clamp. It is more of a demonstration of a 3d printed mechanism to make this special type of clamp.

Also, adding some sort of wax from a candle / soap / etc. will help make clamping much smoother.

Assembly video:

Watch this thing crushing stuff:


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Excellent project for a number of reasons:

It's a strange clamp system with separate adjustments for the fulcrum height and clamp pressure. It takes a bit of playing to figure out which knob to turn.

I found out that it's not necessary to have 360º thread engagement as long as you have 'filler' pieces to keep engagement centred.

And pins don't have to be round ...?!

And, finally, it's a lesson in 'good design'. You must build one to really understand that.

The only problem I had was with those tiny pins. I had to use a brim. And getting the brim out of the slots was a headache.

That's really cool

I printed these and it turned out very well even without waxing it at the end.

Great. I really like this one. thanks

Excellent model - works well, prints great, assembles easily and functions great. What more can you ask for. Well done and thanks

Whats the best material for printing the pins? Any recommendations?

I just did regular PLA.

Comments deleted.

Even with printed parts from three different printers, all the parts fit together nicely. I have been very pleased with any model I have printed posted by you. This includes the truck, the turtle and the lure.
Thanks again for great work.

Great design. Aesthetically pleasing and functional.

And it's so satisfying.

One if the best designs and models I have every printed! No sanding or post-processing required to make parts fit! Great work!

This is amazing. Beautiful. And the amount of force is outstanding. Thank you!

Thanks for the kind words SkyRider

I made it and it’s great. I printed it on a Makerbot Replicator 2x at 60% infill. The assembly is simple once you watch the video.

Wow after printing I'm seeing even more of the awesome design.

Thanks so much.

I'm glad you like it :)

Hey, friendly neighborhood mechanical engineer here...

First off: this is what we like to call "dope fresh" in my profession. Seriously. Well done.

Second off: for those of you whose slide hinge pins are breaking - print (with support and raft) on the 'knife edge' side of the part. This will utilize the direction of the layer lines to your advantage. Shear stress applied in the direction of a layer line can lead to delamination and slip (especially with something as small as this pin). Printing on the knife edge, rotates that slip system by 90 degrees. This requires you to have to literally shear through the pin material, instead of merely delaminating a layer, to break it.

NOW! I know this isn't ideal. The print will probably require some post processing, BUT it should hold up to whatever you (reasonably) put it through.

In fact, this practice is valuable in a lot of areas, this scenario not withstanding. Just be aware of the direction of shear stress relative to layers. Try and apply it anywhere from 15-165 degrees off of the xy-plane (if the xy-plane is the first print layer).

Hope this helps :) Happy printing

Thanks for the compliment!

In layman's terms, print the parts in the provided orientation and you should be fine ;)

I am totally printing this! :)

Great design! Printed perfectly, rotating sliding hinge part so I didn't need brim. Assembled easily with very smooth operation. Thanks, jakejake!

This has been so popular for so god damned long that I'm making one just to see why everyone is so excited.

Do i need to use support for the jaws?

I didn't and mine worked fine

Cool design, worked on the first try. Thanks. Used PETG.

hey this is great im printing one now for around Christmas. im going to buy a big bag of mixed nuts and let the grandkids crack em should keep them busy for hours lol. kidding i will use it alot om sure for clamping small wood projects. thanks for sharing.

Thanks, I hope it works out for you

Congrates on another fearture

Anyone else have thin voids in their "jaw" stl files? I thought maybe my slicer was messing up. But then I see that it is in the stl file itself, even when looking at the jaw1 part in the Thingiverse 3d viewer I see it. It's like the outside walls of the jaws, rather than being 1 solid piece...or 2 pieces with a almost invisible gap in between them.

Those gaps were added to increase the number of shells running down the jaw to increase it's strength. The inserts inside of the knob have always been the weak link, however.

It does have what your saying. Still works though.

My friend made tonz of these and sold them. Made mad money. Awesome design!

This has a non commercial licence attached, please tell your friend to learn basic community guidelines and not to sell unlicensed designs, or at the very least,(you) try not to brag about it to original designer on a public post...Thanks. Have a good day...

wow that's a tough way to scrape together some cash

What brand of filament are you using for the orange pieces in the images?

it is matterhackers pro pla, thats pretty much the only brand i buy

This is an excellent design. My only thought for improvement would be to make the jaw arms longer so there'd be more space between the pads and the threaded screws. I may remix it when I have time.

IMO, this is one of the best design for 3D print I have ever seen. I deal everyday with people who want to use AM and the knowledge about how to design for AM is 0.

Thank you!, I am going to use it as an example of a good design for this technology.

thanks for the kind words I'm glad you enjoy it :)

Don't print Jaw2.stl - that don't fit

What's the difference between Jaw1.stl and Jaw2.stl?

the two jaws are slightly different, one has wider spacing inside for the hinge mechanism. Both are needed to print the clamp

Making the "slide hinges" and they want to keep coming loose from the build plate. Using a Prusa MK2S, printing in PLA with the build plate at 55c. Thinking of adding a brim and wondering if anyone else has had to do so. I've got all the other parts, just need these.

I had similar issues. Try rotating the part 90 degrees so it lies flat. It printed a lot cleaner for me with less sagging or warping.

Thanks for the tip ! I ended up using a brim, but I've got to make two more, and I'll rotate and see what happens.

Hi JakeJake,

your design is awesome thanks again. When I show my prints to my brother he asked me if I can print few for him. He is building scale models and he need such clamps. But he needs little bit longer threads. Before I do remixing I wanna kindly ask you if you can upload two or three additional Threadsx2.stl elements - say x2, x3, x4 longer? I will be very grateful.

sorry i didn't have time to make that, thanks for making the remix though. it looks great! hope that worked out ok for your brother

tolerance is too tight

may want to print the nut at 101%

Love the clamp, but did you also know you can use the same parts and assemble it the other way around and use it a a spreader.

Nice! maybe there are some special grips that can be designed for that purpose

This is a very nice design! I also like your love for details and how you present your designs, especially the exploded views. Would you like share with us how you did them ;-)

Thanks! I just uploaded my design process for these on my blog:

as far as the visuals, it is a manual process that requires a few types of specific software that is not free, but maybe I will release a guide in the future anyway.

Having dabbled in woodworking these clamps could be very useful. I see these as a way to construct a unique clamp for each situation. very good design and shows instinctive talent for design. Very good

thanks for the kind words Grampa, I might release some variants in the future.

This is amazing jakejake. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks guys, I hope it works well for you. Might release alternate "pad" designs in the future for special tasks depending on how useful it actually is.

I made a few different pads for use with this clamp. check in remix

looks good! thanks

Great designs, thanks!

Good job man I've printed several of your things now and they all work great. Keep up the great work.

quite impressive!!
what material did you use? ABS?

wouldn't the clamps become much stronger, if you'd change the orientation of the "jaw"-files?
sure, you will need supports, but the holes will withstand much greater forces!!

thank you! It is PLA

After some early prototypes, I kept them in the orientation shown, so I must admit I haven't tried the final design in that orientation. Maybe I will try that.

The shells layered in this orientation gives the side walls a structural rib function which prevents tear-out around the holes so the holes themselves don't need to be strong. If you zoom in there is actually a tiny gap in the center of the rib, doubling the shells in that area. But I'm not sure what the effect of layer gaps in a print would have on this.

printing the jaws up and down would make them weaker because of the smaller layers

What filaments are you using? I really like the matte red and matte white.

I use matter hackers pro pla for just about everything. I like the colors and I never have any issues printing with it, so I use it exclusively (I have no affiliation with them).

Oh, I've heard good things about them. Thanks!

Another awesome design, thanks for sharing!