ball and socket chain links with hole through

by StefanHH, published

ball and socket chain links with hole through by StefanHH Jan 14, 2011
14 Share
Download All Files

Thing Apps Enabled

Order This Printed View All Apps


Liked By

View All

Give a Shout Out

If you print this Thing and display it in public proudly give attribution by printing and displaying this tag.

Print Thing Tag

Thing Statistics

14529Views 3709Downloads


Printable Ball-and-Socket parts suitable for all kinds of applications. Hello helping hands, gorilla pods, coolant hoses. There is a hole in the middle to accomodate cables. Mine will become a small worklight to be screwed inside my printer.
I think i will add some parts over time, like a housing for some leds.
There is also a flange that i didn't print yet. Who is first on this?


Print, clean up, snap together. I printed 4 at a time and got some ooze. I think you should be able to print at least 16 at a time with your Makerbot.

All Apps

3D Print your file with 3D Hubs, the world’s largest online marketplace for 3D printing services.

App Info Launch App

Auto-magically prepare your 3D models for 3D printing. A cloud based 3D models Preparing and Healing solution for 3D Printing, MakePrintable provides features for model repairing, wall thickness...

App Info Launch App

Kiri:Moto is an integrated cloud-based slicer and tool-path generator for 3D Printing, CAM / CNC and Laser cutting. *** 3D printing mode provides model slicing and GCode output using built-in...

App Info Launch App
KiriMoto Thing App

With 3D Slash, you can edit 3d models like a stonecutter. A unique interface: as fun as a building game! The perfect tool for non-designers and children to create in 3D.

App Info Launch App

Print through a distributed network of 3D printing enthusiasts from across the US, at a fraction of the cost of the competitors. We want to change the world for the better through technology, an...

App Info Launch App

Quickly Scale, Mirror or Cut your 3D Models

App Info Launch App

3D Print a wide range of designs with Treatstock. Easy to use tools to get the perfect result. The global 3D printing network that connects you with high-quality and fast working print services nea...

App Info Launch App

im new at this whats the best drawing program to make things

Thanks, I've been making these and mashing them up with the printable pcb vise to vastly improve Helping Hands. I will post that when I get a pic.

The Ball Flange is definitely undersized- the ball is too small and I had to measure and print at a larger scale to make it tight.

But, the strength is no problem at all- print at at least 50% infill to make the lips strong, and 0 extra shells so that the neck gets printed solid. If you don't clean them up too much they have more friction and the resultant "snake" is very stiff- good for holding things.

I forgot to mention; print the flange at 107% or 108% to make it fit the others properly.

Defiantly worth printing 4 or more at a time as they print a lot better as it gives the layers chance to cool.


It would be even great if you could post your BallSocket part with the socket features suppressed. I can only import the sldprt as a STEP file, and am having issues removing the socket. Having just the ball part and the "neck" below it would allow the rest of us to take the important bit and sim
ply add our own flavor to it.

BallFlange has issues for me because the fitment with the socket isn't very tight. BallSocket to BallSocket are perfect, however.

Additionally, a groove around the outside of the socket to allow an o-ring to be placed around it would be awesome! This would improve
clamping on the ball, which someone else already mentioned, and it would give it some grippiness as well.

Ok, i'll give it a shot regarding just the ball with a neck.

Have you already seen araspitfire's great derivative of the ball and socket parts? He has put a groove on them that looks ideal for o-rings and such!

Ok, I've modified your part and have posted the altered sldprt here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:6811http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...

StefanHH's ball socket with socket replaced by base

I'll check it out, thanks!

These are great for making your own "helping hands." Great work!

So cool to see these made by someone else!


I'd like to make a clamp mount for the bottom end, and a 40mm fan mount for the top end... any chance you could publish your dimensions? or upload a step file?

I designed this with Solidworks Student Edition and unfortunately, the only format to save there is sdlprt. I can then use edrawings to change it to stl. If the sdlprt is of use for you, i can upload that.

Thanks.. unless it would open in SW 2008.. I'll just have a go on my own... (I use inventor)

I assume the outer ball is designed 15mm and the inner cavity is ?? (it's not measuring cleanly in netfabb for me)


I put the sdlprt online, so give it a try with your sw. It was made with sw10, so it might or might not work, but maybe you find a way to convert it. The diameter of both the ball and the cavity is 15mm. actually, the ball is 0.02mm bigger due to sloppy building process ;). Also, i now have a chain of 12 pieces stuck together and the first part is barely able to support the weight. I think that between 3 and 5 part will support your fan reliably, add more and it might become wobbly. Or not. My printer isn't doing the most accurate job, so i am curios about how your parts will turn out. Upload some pictures!


Oh, and I forgot to mention a possible improvement to the design:

A lip around the 'socket' end of the model, to accommodate a rubber band wrapped multiple times.

The idea is the band compresses the socket around the ball, increasing the force required to move the joint thus increasing the weight it can hold. The band could also serve as a rubber surface, improving grip if used in a similar manner to the gorilla pods.


I tried to design these things but couldn't get a model that worked as desired.

Then i realised my early prototypes were good enough for making snap together building blocks, a few revisions later and Beco blocks were born.

Glad you triumphed where i failed, I'm eager to print some.


Wow I've been meaning to try this since forever but I didn't know how to approach the problem. Awesome job!

Delimitation aside, I believe that this is a fabulous design that fills a general need that has not otherwise been addressed. It is definitely on my list of things to print once my Thing-O-Matic arrives in its cardboard chariot.

Great work!

nice you could make a joby gorilla pod tripod out of these

I like the idea, but the printing orientation will make it prone to delimitation. They will be stronger if the design is adapted to be printed on its side, more like Beco Blocks: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1983http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...

Beco Blocks
by r3becca

I recycle the extrusions, melted into acetone, and then paint this on. I have little jars of each color I work with.

I wonder what this would look like printed in black with some red brushed on that way? Off to find out!

I have a pretty simple work around for delamination that's been really effective for me. JB Weld Epoxy cut with a bit (not more than 1/10th of total volume) of denatured alcohol. The alcohol isn't essential, but it does make it a bit runnier which is nice for filling cracks or lets you add various things to color/texture it.

Paint it on in a thin coat, let it dry for an hour then take a hair dryer to it. Once it heats up it will get CRAZY runny again and that lets you do surface finishing if you like.

Let it dry overnight. Sand/work as necessary. Thin coats can even retain some flexibility. If you add too much alc
ohol it seems to dry really brittle.

Also, JB Weld filling any irregularities on a black ABS surface and then sanded smooth looks Fantastique.

I see the possible danger of delamination, although my parts printed pretty strong. Everything except the sphere printed solid and the pieces snap together without any cracking noises. I played around with them for some time now and they seem to hold up pretty well. I wanted pretty pieces with a hole so i can guide some wires through the parts and put a light at the end.