PLA Heart Gears for Replicator 2

by whpthomas, published

PLA Heart Gears for Replicator 2 by whpthomas Dec 20, 2012
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Many of us have been frustrated to discover that the pins for emmett's Screwless Heart Gears are not PLA compatible. They are too stiff, and in my experience, attempting to force them in can crack the pins and damage the piece itself.

So I set about trying to design some alternative pins for PLA. My first attempt was to make flexible end tabs, but while this worked, the gear heart axle is too short to support this approach. In the next attempt, I altered the internal structure of the tip of the pin to make it more flexible for PLA and redesigned the protrusions.

These new pins were designed using an ACIS solid in Shark FX (sfx file included) so will behave well with Makerware, ReplicatorG and skeinforge. They snap into place with moderate force and rotate freely.


Version 2 of the pins has 0.25 mm more protrusion on each side at the tip, they still insert with moderate force but have a firmer hold.



If you have already made Emmett's Screwless Heart Gears, then these pins are a drop in replacement. Simply download and print PLA-gear-heart-pins.stl file - that's all you need.

If you are using Makerware I would recommend at least a 0.2mm layer height, 3 shells and 15% infill. In ReplicatorG I am doing the same, but using the skin module to achieve a 0.1 mm outer surface finish.


If you want to make the PLA heart gears from scratch, simply download and print the two plates: PLA-gear-heart-plate1.stl and PLA-gear-heart-plate2.stl. The first plate includes my snap off ear raft print aids, to increase the surface area of the small gears to prevent them from breaking loose during printing.

Again, if you are using Makerware I would recommend at least a 0.2mm layer height, 3 shells and 15% infill. In ReplicatorG I am doing the same, but using the skin module to achieve a 0.1 mm outer surface finish.

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Thanks for this - all went well on the print. I highly recommend the video (mentioned earlier on "Comments") for assembly!

I found that putting white lithium grease in the holes and around the pegs greatly eases the turning of these pieces.

Did you print this with supports or no supports?

in the last pic it was a bad print

mmmmh IMPOSSIBLE to assemble, bad work...


I still had some trouble building it however this helped immensely and it did work eventually!

Start with the top small gear, then align the big bulbousy one to that, then get the two flat large gears aligned so that they work (they are NOT the same!) then the one small large gear... anyways watch the video i really cant explain it better than he does.

Hi - can you clarify which sides get the long pins and which get the short pins? thanks.

small in small face, large in large face. not that complicated...

Perfect this iz exactly what I needed to show in my class

Modify the core ... and why not make all pins of the same size?

Why complicate things.

I know right?????

Hi whpthomas,

I just wanted to suggest a minor thing:
If you assorted the plate1 like you did assort plate2 (higher objects in the middle, lower ones around them) you would save quite some time, as the way your printhead has to travel in the higher z-direction reduces ;)

What do you think? :)


I thought it was just me having problems with the original. Thanks for this!
I printed a new core and one of the long pins, but it's not going into the hole. Just feels too big. Any recommendations?

nice very nice... but.... help i do not understood how to assemble it!!

Where did you get that color PLA?

Would it be possible to upload each, individual file?

How do you open the SFX file? I'm having a lot of problems with it.

Anyone have suggestions for printing these? I've tried halfing my speeds, removing perimeters, printing solid, etc, and every time, having problems with curling, parts coming loose from the bed etc. I'm printing on a Makergear Mosaic, 0.35mm nozzel, at 200C with a heated bed of glass at 60C. Probably going to try a raft next, but any suggestions would be very welcomed.

Hi, I don't know if your experiencing the same problem that I had, but in my case the printer nozzle was pushing my build plate ever so slightly down (no matter how I calibrated it if it was to high it wouldn't adhere, and the slight adjustment between the two still slightly pushed the build platform down). I ended up putting 3d printed supports between the build plate and the frame work of my makerbot rep 2. Curling problems have been significantly reduced and I can still calibrate my build platform even with them in. Hope this helps.

i cant get the pins to print on my rep 2 at all, what profile do you use for plate 2?

Are you using Makerware or ReplicatorG - when you say you can't get them to print, what exactly do you mean?

I have attempted these only in Makerware, although Im starting to switch everything over to your repG profiles. What happens is that it struggles to lay down the first layer and bunches up almost as soon as it starts. Maybe speed is the issue?

Are there assembly instructions?

Awesome Fix. Great job to the both of you (emmett and whpthomas)

Thanks, this was on my list of stuff to do, and now I can scratch it off.

My pleasure Emmett - thanks for sharing the Heart gears in the first place ;) I have made another set of PLA pins for your gear cube which I will post shortly.