Hey! This thing is still a Work in Progress. Files, instructions, and other stuff might change!


by PrettySmallThings, published

Clutch by PrettySmallThings Sep 26, 2012

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A printable clutch (purse, evening bag, etc) for desktop 3D printers. I've been a big fan of Zomboe's things, and have been eyeing his chainmail designs since I bought my TOM last year. There are lots of 3D printed fabric applications for pro-grade printers on shape ways, etc, but not for use on reprap or makerbot style printers. Building some awesome and wearable feminine accessories has been on my to do list for awhile.


  1. Functional purse that will hold an iphone.

  2. Print and assemble without glue

  3. Attractive and durable enough to actually use.

I did not succeed on these counts. This project is less a work in progress, than an abandoned proof of concept. But, it's time to get it off my hard drive and out on the web. I expect to try again, with some lessons learned.

The problems:

  1. This took 24 hours to slice in RepG. That's longer than I want to wait, and too long to iterate quickly. I either need to simplify the geometry somewhat, or use a newer and faster slicer.

  2. It's difficult to get every corner to stick to the platform, especially with a second extruder interfering and prying up a loose ends. Aggressive solutions like applying ABS slurry to the platform result in a less than desirable surface finish, and a lot of kapton tape to peel off the print. One missing square, and the print is ruined. There are about 5 holes in my print.

  3. I haven't solved how the sides go together. Currently, I think a blanket stitch with plastic lacing used in kids' friendship braclets or embroidery floss should suffice. But it's not a great solution.

  4. To be functional, this design really needs a chain or wristlet loop.

  5. I could make a nicer looking design if I altered my approach from no-glue-snap-together, to allowing multiple pieces.

  6. The hinge works well, but needs to be a little beefier to hold up.

I was happy with how pretty and shiny the fabric looks. With a more attractive shape and clasp, I'd wear it. There are cool options for textile prints with dual extrusion if I could just get everything to stick better.

The "fabric" only bends in one axis on each side, which you should take into account if use it in another way.


I printed this very slowly, in attempt to help adhesion - 15 or 20 mm/s I think. The piece is designed for .2mm layer height, though .1mm should also work well. I printed with 5% fill, which wasn't sufficent, and the clasp snapped when I was stress testing it, I would think 25-50% should be better.

If you're going to give the print a try, try the test swatch first to adjust settings if necessary.

Print requires a larger bed (replicator, or larger)

Print, carefully peel off platform. Snap together hinge. Sew sides shut :)

Update: 27SEP12 - Realized I uploaded the wrong source (DWG) file - file I included was missing the clasp. New file uploaded.

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You should make it customizable.

I'm not an expert, but why aren't the side and middle parts the same length? What's the advantage of having the middle part hanging with open sides? Or is there something I'm missing?

great design, though!

Comments deleted.

What material do you use to get the shiny black clutch in your sample pictures? Or is that a paint finish? Love this, looks like it would be fun to touch, thanks!

I am using ReplicatorG on a Flashforge Creator Pro printer (equiv to Rep 2x in software). Can anyone tell me what settings I should be using for something this small and delicate for ABS? I'm having trouble getting the fabric test to print. Thanks.

Good job Gretchen, You made Clutch happen...

Impossible to slice completely, any tips

This is slice-able in most modern slicers (cura, makerbot desktop...) When I originally designed it 2012 I had lots of problems with RepG at the time - slicing times 24+ hours. Modern slicers shouldn't have much trouble with this.

I use makerbot desktop.

I am not sure what I am doing wrong but I can not get this to print. I am using a Printrbot 1405 with PLA. I have tried fooling with the extrusion temperatures and rates. I have tried making it bigger. Nothing seems to work. Everytime I get started after the first few bits it startsripping up these ones it has already done. Is there a trick to extruding things this small?

If it's stripping, it's probably more about your hardware configuration than any setting you can fuss with. Make sure that bed is perfectly leveled. This print requires a super flat, level bed. Glass is my favorite surface for prints like these. Painters tape is fine for PLA, but surfaces like Build Tak provide an even better surface to adhere to.

I was able to scale up to 1.3 using a Type A Machines 2014 Series 1 printer.

There were a couple of spots that I thought would be holes in the end, but in the end the printer saved them and it looks fantastic!

Thanks for the fantastic design! I love the mesh and the hinged sides snapped together beautifully and work very well.

Very nice design. Every link printed great. I have a Rep 2X. Printed in ABS at 2mm. Only problem was one of the corners curling up off the plate during the print. I have that problem a lot though if i don't use circular tabs to keep corners down.

looks cool. I'd clean up the edges a bit though so that I can use it as a dice bag.

Great work! I have an idea on how you can give the sides more shape. You'll need to make the 'fabric' part longer, and then on the sides, print a vertical rounded trapezoid or teadrop. You could put some teeth onto the side parts so that the loop pieces snap on the sides.

I've been considering getting back to this project - time marches on, and now I have a bigger printer (Rep2 - without the second nozzle that caused me problems with the first iteration) and a faster slicer (makerware) so I can print and iterate faster. I've thought about doing a form more like one of my other things: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:33765http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... which is similar to what you suggested.

Zip Top Bag

This is more than incredible!

Such a beautiful design, thanks for sharing

Hello there,
I am interested in learning a ill about 3d printing. Can you please share with me what do I need to get started ? Do I need to buy a printer ?

Yes unless you can go to a Maker Spot

I made mine at 80%, the biggest on my Ultimaker. Not an easy one, but a very impressive design! Thanks. It sliced in 45 minutes with Cura 12.12A.
I wish I could have printed it a lot larger.

I was able to print at 90% on my Ultimaker and with the Cura 13.06.4 it sliced in ten seconds or so. It is still printing, but so far everything is looking great

Awesome! Glad it worked for you!

Thanks for posting your pic!

I have the new Replicator 2 from makerbot and it uses the new beta MakerWare software, however I can not convert the STL file to the .S3G format needed to print. It seems to get stuck at 71% of the slicing and then nothing more (even waiting 24+ hours to slice on a fast computer). I did print the test fabric.  Anyhow thought this idea/design was one of the coolest STL files on thingiverse and hope if anyone else who prints with Replicator2 can get it to slice would update info/tricks here. Thanks!

I don't have much experience with makerware - but you can use Replicator G with your Rep2 as well - might be worth a try.

Amazing! (Printed it on the UP)

Don't give up, this is an awesome concept!

Could this be printed more consistently with a solid layer for the first with mickey ears?

Wow. Great concept, and great work. Thanks for posting your progress!! Can't wait to see more. I would love to try to print -- do you plan to post the gcode using the settings you've found to work best? Or do you recommend playing with settings for our own printers?

Always loving your work PrettySmallThings.This amazing fabric is the subject for the latest RepRap Competition Running between October 23rs to Nov 6th Details here - http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?282,162282Pleasehttp://forums.reprap.org/read.... have a go and post your results on the RepRap Forum also post here under I made one if you can.

Amazing!  I am really impressed that so many of your loops printed out perfectly.  It looks like there are hundreds of them.  

This is a really great application of a printable fabric!  I am looking forward to future experimentation.

I will have to give this a try once I rebuild my printer, though I wonder if it will be up to it.  Skeinforge never did a great job of slicing my chainmail so I'm curious to see how slic3r does.

Have you considered the use of raw filament as an element in your designs?  For example, you might be able to print strips of your fabric and join them together with lengths of filament (1.35mm would probably work best).

Thanks for the inspiration!  

I cheated in my photos - the other side actually has some holes.  This is a print where having a dual head is problematic, because the second nozzle tends to be destructive.  Raw filament is a good idea - thanks for the reminder - this is too often overlooked.

my slic3r 9.3
dies everytime i try to slice something complicated..   :(
even the fabric test doesnt work...

btw why the name?

Slic3r sometimes crashes for me on complicated objects when I have multiple threads enabled. Try using only 1 or 2 threads and see if it helps. It did for me. :shrug: 

Check out: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clutch_(disambiguation)http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki... for other definitions of clutch :) ie: a purse you hold in your hand.

I don't have any experience with Slic3r, but others here have recommended it specifically for this project, so I don't know why it's causing trouble.

i'm constantly impressed with your thingies.  keep it up :)

Hope it goes well.  Softness and flexibility in a printed item.  Very cool.  Plastic chain mail. :-)

6 minutes on repsnapper 

Binary STL has 6.5 MB instead of 30

I'd recommend trying the new Slic3r; 0.9.2 finally works with the Replicator. The RepG interface has some problems, so I use them sequentially. Makes slicing crazy stuff like this a dream.

I sliced it with Kisslicer in about 15mins. Printed it last night, had one section not adhere to the bed properly, I need to relevel the bed before trying again. But it finished ok, printed with blue PLA. Will upload pics later.
Thank you for an awesome design!

Looking forward to the pics!  Good to hear the slicing time is so much faster with other slicers - bodes well for the future iterations.

You have my applause! Let me know if you succeed! You know, women have a voracious appetite for fashion. Some gals I know buy a new shoe every day and a new handbag every week. I predict that the "killer app" that will cause 3d printing to explode is printable women's fashion. If you can go to sleep and wake up the next morning with a new outfit, shoes, purse and jewelry, plus recycle the material the next day for another new outfit, then 3d printing will explode and ALL ladies will want one. You are truly a pioneer and a visionary.

Message me if you succeed. I'm actually trying to do the same thing. 

Very impressive! I tried printing the chainmail and failed completely, but perhaps I'll try this very slowly. It's a killer that everything has to print perfectly or the whole thing fails. I'm wondering whether some sort of 'snap together' design might be better, so that you could get successful prints of various pieces and assemble them into a successful complete thing.


I'd definitely recommend Slic3r; was able to slice the test patch in 12 seconds.

cool idea - great design!

could you list the size?  I've got a non standard reprap with a limited bed and I want to see if this'll fit or not.

File is 220mm x 138mm

This is just too much awesome.  Thanks for posting your design, even as an inspiration and to show a tried design, even if it didn't work the way you wanted it to.  I probably wouldn't have allowed my machine to become preoccupied for 24 hours to slice a design, but I'm really glad you did. This is what dedication to an experiment looks like.