Thursday 19 June 2008


I wanted some wingnuts to let me quickly clamp the bed material to the table and release it again. The XY table came from the US so it has 2BA, rather than metric threads, in it. That means I can't get them locally and would have to order them. The cost would be about $6 for 10 including postage, but I only wanted 4.

Then I remembered I have a machine than can make things so I made some knobs with captive nuts: -

Easy to design, but the hexagonal cavity is a pain to model in ArtOfIllusion. You have to start with a six sided polygon. You then convert it to a triangle mesh and then extrude it to make a hexagonal prism to subtract from the cylindrical shaft.

The three types of solid primitive: cube, cylinder and sphere all have editable dimensions but for some reason polygon primitives don't show any dimensions. To get round this you have to set the grid spacing to the dimensions you want and snap the polygon's bounding box to the grid.

I intended the nuts to be a push fit but they were too tight so I pushed them in with a hot soldering iron. The small M4 one on the left was a test to see if the design scales. I think the nut cavity needs to be a bit shorter for metric nuts.

These cost less than 6 cents each in plastic so that saved me $5.76. A good example of the economics of RepRap. Although it is no doubt cheaper to make wingnuts by traditional means in large numbers, the cheapest way for an individual to obtain them in small quantities is to RepRap them. Of course I needed some plain nuts, but they are a lot cheaper and easier to obtain.


  1. Isn't it amazing how the ability to print stuff changes your whole way of thinking about how you get stuff.

  2. For future reference you can use the Drill beanshell script to make extruded hex shapes of a given width and length. It's meant to make teardrop shapes, but by setting the Maximum Slope to 90 degrees, it will make a regular hexagon. It was made by Thomee Wright for the reprap project in September 2007.

  3. Great idea, i was going to do the same type of thing, for the x,y and z axis.

    I love when complicated problems have simple solutoins.