Using Fasteners with 3D Printed Parts

In a recent webinar and white paper on 3D printing jigs and fixtures, Siva Cycle Founder Aaron Latzke explained some ways in which 3D printed pieces could be used in conjunction with off-the-shelf materials to derive the greatest functionality from any given part. In continuing with our goal of sharing information as we navigate the frontier of additive manufacturing, Mechanical Engineer Alexei Samimi looked into how 3D printed parts can be used with a wide variety of traditional fasteners when additional strength or versatility is required.

Samimi’s investigation proved fruitful as each fastener test demonstrated the durability and extreme functionality of the FDM material printed on the Fortus 900mc. Likewise, for the pieces printed on the Objet Connex3, he explains various methods to combine PolyJet materials with off-the-shelf parts while maintaining function and preventing damage to the 3D printed material.

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In this article, Samimi explores these 13 traditional fasteners with 3D printed parts:

  • Inserts with external threads

  • Helical inserts

  • Press-inserts

  • Twist-resistant press-fits

  • Heat-set inserts

  • Chicago screws

  • Magnets

  • Blind Rivets

  • Grooved Clevis pins

  • Thread-forming screws

  • Thread-cutting screws

  • Captive nuts

  • Overprinted captive nuts

Two popular 3D printed materials were compared in each fastener examination:

Technology Fused Deposition Modeling PolyJet
Printer Stratasys Fortus 900mc Stratasys Connex3
Material Used ABS-M30 VeroGray RGD850
Layer Thickness 0.01-inches 16-microns
Other Materials Available ABS, ASA, Nylon, PC, PPSF, ULTEM Hundreds of digital materials, 14 base materials, and up to 82 material properties in a single build.

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Credit: Threaded insert CAD files acquired from