Metal Inserts Guide – 3D Printing

Metal Inserts Guide – 3D Printing

Another great application in 3D printing is to insert metal inserts into 3D printing to get reusable threads and / or strong joints between 3D printed parts and other elements.

What must be considered?

  1. 3D printing material, in insertion processes in which we melt the plastic of the piece to insert the metallic insert by means of thermal or ultrasonic processes. These processes are limited to thermoplastic materials.Within thermosetting plastics we find amorphous (such as ABS, PC, PA or PVC) that are more sensitive to stress failure and that soften with increasing temperature and semi-crystalline plastics (such as PET, PP, PA and PEEK), these plastics do not soften with increasing temperature.

  2. Insert material

    1. Brass: the most usedAluminum: the lightest

    2. Stainless steel: it is resistant to corrosion

    3. Tensile strength of the insert, is the normal force exerted on the insert necessary to extract the insert from the piece. Longer inserts have higher tensile strength.

  3. Torsion resistance of the insert is the resistance offered by the insert to be rotated or turned on itself when tightening a screw on it. Larger diameter inserts have greater resistance to torsion.

Insertion types

Installation with heat

We apply heat to the insert using a tin soldering iron or a heat press and exert vertical pressure to gently insert the insert into the plastic part. We must have the plastic piece prepared with a hole of diameter determined by the manufacturer of inserts. The exterior walls may have a certain taper (8º) to facilitate self-aligning.

Ultrasonic installation

We apply heat to the insert using ultrasound equipment and exert vertical pressure to gently insert the insert into the plastic part. We must have the plastic piece prepared with a hole of diameter determined by the manufacturer of inserts. The exterior walls may have a certain taper (8º) to facilitate self-aligning.

Pressure installation

There are inserts whose design allows their introduction without applying heat, we only have to apply vertical pressure to insert the insert gently into the plastic piece. We must have the plastic piece prepared with a hole of diameter determined by the manufacturer of inserts.

Screw installation

This type of insert is also applied cold (does not require heating). To do this, a vertical force is applied and rotated at the same time to gently insert the insert. This union is achieved by flexing grooves that rotate and press the insert against the plastic part.

1. Use of suitable tools such as tips for inserting inserts. And don’t do it directly with the tip of a tin soldering iron.

Considerations

2. Design

a. The depth of the hole has to be greater than the length of the insert, at least 1.2 times.

b. The diameter of the hole in the complement part must be less than the diameter of the pilot to prevent the extraction of the insert.

c. Tapered hole reduces installation time and ensures proper insertion of the insert relative to the hole.

These cannot be used in PULL THROUGH applications or thin-walled holes as they can cause plastic fracture.

3. Slicing Settings (Simplify3D)

Slicing programs usually come configured with 2 or 3 perimeter layers, for these applications we recommend setting the print file to 5 perimeter layers, defining the infill in “Triangle” mode and increasing the% infill depending on the effort to which the insert must be subjected.

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