Click to Watch in HD > Finishing 3D Prints 101: How to Install Threaded Inserts in your 3D Prints

Watch For more information on MakerBot Desktop 3D Printers visit - more information on 3D Printing services, and finishing services for 3D printed parts visit - purchase supplies for your MakerBot 3D Printer, or other desktop 3D printer visit - TO INSTALL THREADED INSERTSIN YOUR 3D PRINTSThreaded brass inserts can be a great way to add longevity to 3D printed enclosures that need to accept screws.In this “how to” we will show you some of the best practices associated with installing threaded brass inserts into your 3D printed enclosures.Working time will vary depending on your model and how many inserts you plan to install. The process shown took us about 10 minutes from start to finish.SUPPLIESSoldering IronThreaded brass inserts with matching machine screwsWashersPliersViseHeat resistant glovesEye protectionRespiratory maskSTEP 1: OBTAIN YOUR MODELIf you are designing your model to meet a specific need, remember to design the holes in your model slightly smaller than the inserts you plan to install. This will account for any plastic that melts when installing inserts. If you are adding inserts to a downloaded model, purchase your inserts with the hole diameter in mind.For our model, we chose this “Light Switch Box” designed by Thingiverse user qbasan.STEP 2: PREPARE and PRINTWhen installing inserts, changing a few print settings in MakerBot Print can be a big help. Increase the number of shells in your print. This will leave more plastic around inserts. Once you have selected your settings you can print your object. We chose to print our model on the MakerBot Replicator+.STEP 3: ROUGHINGSupplies Used: Needlenose pliersOnce your model has been printed and removed from the build plate, remove any rafts or support material.STEP 4: HEAT SOLDERING IRONSupplies Used: Soldering IronAllow your soldering iron to heat for 3-5 minutes before installing inserts. This will ensure that you have to use the least amount of force to install inserts.STEP 5: SECURE PRINT IN PLACESupplies Used: Soldering IronBefore installing your inserts, it’s also important that your model be secure. If your model moves during installation of an insert, you could damage the void or even the model itself.We used a multi-axis vice that allowed us to work on the model from a few different angles.STEP 6: PARTIALLY INSTALL INSERTSSupplies Used: (continued use through Step 9) Multi-axis vice, soldering iron, threaded brass inserts, and pliersBecause PLA has a relatively low heat deflection temperature and can deform at moderate temperatures, it is important to install inserts gradually.A: Grasp your insert with pliersB: Position insert over holeC: Press the insert half way into your print holding the soldering iron verticallyD: Move on to the next insertSTEP 7: ALLOW TO COOLAs brass transfers temperature relatively quickly, your inserts should be cool within a minute or so.STEP 8: COMPLETELY INSTALL INSERTSOnce you’ve allowed your model to cool for a minute or so, install the inserts until they are flush with the top of your model.When completing the installation of inserts be sure to avoid:Installing to quickly and pushing down on your inserts with too much forceSTEP 9: INSTALL SCREWS, WASHERSOR OTHER HARDWARESupplies Used:Screws and washersScrewdriverMulti-axis viceThread in your screws using a screwdriver or drill.