Adding Inserts to 3D printed parts

Last year, i chanced upon the Makerbot education youtube series that demonstrates various application specific to 3D printed parts. It ranges from spray painting, silicon mold creation, adding inserts and so on.

Makerbot Post-processing: Insert

I found the inserts idea pretty interesting and decided to purchase a handful of Brass inserts from Taobao.

I created a PLA test bed part with 15% fill that would allow me to experiment with different diameter and see the effect.

printed-test-bed

M3 and M2.5 brass inserts were chosen as they are more commonly used when building small prototypes.
inserts

Getting the inserts in position!
test-inserts

You will need a soldering iron and for my case, I powered up my trusty ol' iron.
iron

A plier will come in very handy to get the insert standing upright before applying heat.
plier

You apply heat + low downward pressure = done.
inserting

The process takes only a few second and you get a nice flushed insert.
inset-done

Testing out with a screw and see how much torque i can apply.
screw-insert

It looks like having the printed hole with tolerance of minus 0-0.2mm with reference to the outer diameter of the insert would give a good snugly fit.

I am still curious on how smaller the hole can go compared to the outer diameter before the part goes out of shape.

Also, how much fill would be appropriate for a good fit? This parameter would be more critically determined based on the printed part requirement itself and foresee that the printed hole diameter should be variable here.

array-inserts

Look out for the next post where I will design a simple casing that has a cover held by screws and inserts.

~kennyD