December 1, 2023
Printed It: Parametric Hex Key Holder
Desktop 3D printing is an incredible technology to be sure, but it’s not a cure-all. If you’re interested in making something in large numbers, or if production speed is a concern, 3D printing probably isn’t what you’re looking for. But on the flip side, if you want to make a few highly specialized or customized…

Desktop 3D printing is an astounding know-how to be sure, but it’s now not a cure-all. If you happen to’re in making one thing in enormous numbers, or if manufacturing bustle is a self-discipline, 3D printing doubtlessly isn’t what you’re trying for. But on the flip facet, within the event you like to enjoy to develop about a extremely in actuality impartial appropriate or personalized objects, desktop 3D printing represents an absolute revolution in capability for the individual hacker and maker.

In our ongoing mission to point to that desktop 3D printing isn’t gorgeous a novelty, we protect a end test out out for printable objects which play to the strengths of the know-how. You won’t catch any benchmarks or mud collectors here; all the pieces featured in Printed It is a bona fide impartial appropriate object. An perfect entry into this series is one thing that you simply wouldn’t enjoy to print bigger than about a times, isn’t effortlessly sourced or made by task of dilapidated diagram, and if seemingly, offers some maintain of customization which makes it more gorgeous to the individual’s wants than what’s commercially accessible.

No longer every object we stock hits all of these marks, but this parametric hex key holder designed by [Daniel Leitner] totally does. This object used to be created to address a trouble that we imagine most Hackaday readers fragment: taming an ever-growing collection of hex keys. What’s more, this develop is one thing of an initiating source success story. It’s a theory that handed via the hands of a couple of team members, turning into more refined and functional as it went. Even within the event you don’t for my fragment enjoy to wrangle some unruly hex keys, this object is a though-provoking spy at how 3D printing and the team that has sprouted up spherical it’s in actuality evolving the strategy of going from belief to execution.

Made-to-Justify Assemble

Somewhere along the line it used to be made up our minds that every kit, be it an leisure heart or a laser cutter, would comprise a handful of hex keys. So stunning soon you’re drowning within the things, but for certain you never reasonably enjoy the makings of a entire region and invariably you’ll enjoy duplicates of certain popular sizes. Since folks love us enjoy trouble casting off the rest within the major train, they gorgeous stop up filling some murky and dusty drawer till there’s sufficient of them that they initiating planning an rise up.

To wait on quell the uprising, [Daniel] leveraged the parametric capabilities of OpenSCAD to brand an totally personalized holder for your collection of hex keys. By entering within the many sizes and quantity of hex keys you enjoy gotten into an array on the stop of the script, his code will spit out a printable model that suits your proper specifications. So if as an instance you enjoy gotten to protect a half of-dozen 2.5 mm hex keys, this develop has bought you coated.

In an especially advantageous contact, the script may perhaps perhaps even deboss the sizes of the hex keys impartial into the holder so there’s definitely about which one is which. While admittedly a minor detail, that is an astounding example of the potential of OpenSCAD, and is one thing that may perhaps be now not easy to recreate with more dilapidated CAD instruments.

Refining the Idea

While he’s to blame for the parametric OpenSCAD code, [Daniel] didn’t in actuality advance up with the true develop for the hex key holder. That honor goes to [Alex Rich], who created a “static” version of the holder about a years relieve. That version used to be love minded for transferring your store-offered hex key units over to a reasonably more ergonomic holder, but lacked any customization and relied on a published (as in, on paper) be conscious for the stop to conceal which slot used to be for which key.

Render of long-established hex holder develop.

That preliminary develop used to be reasonably popular, and stunning soon [Alex] began getting requests for personalized versions. He tried to accommodate the requests and build out varied variations to the core develop, but it used to be a losing war. There’s impartial too many variations for one person to relieve updating the develop for every person’s distress. He had build out the develop attributable to he belief others may perhaps catch it attention-grabbing, now to now not get on a portion-time job.

[Daniel] seen the distress and belief it may perhaps perhaps probably perhaps perhaps perhaps be an ideal application for OpenSCAD. He recreated the basics of the develop: a disc-formed holder with varied sized openings spherical the periphery, but also made some serious enhancements past the parametric facet. For one, the true develop required enhance self-discipline topic internal the groove, but the brand new OpenSCAD version makes stutter of an angled face on the stop facet to resolve this requirement without a affect on efficiency.

In varied communities, this may perhaps perhaps perhaps perhaps be considered a “rip-off” and kick off some form of flame war, but now not here. [Alex] now not only preferred the work that went into the OpenSCAD version of his develop, but now actively choices it out to anybody who asks him for a personalised version of the true holder.

Printing Your Possess

Since that is a customizable develop, the major step is opening it up in OpenSCAD and making your modifications on the stop of the file. That you may perhaps perhaps perhaps enter whatever sizes that it is advisable, but remember there doesn’t seem like any error checking in train. So as an instance within the event you enter in a measurement of two.2 mm as an alternative of two.5 mm, nothing is going to quit you. The code is also surprisingly advanced, so don’t be taken aback if it takes up to a minute or two for OpenSCAD to generate your STL.

Even as you enjoy gotten your STL the develop is a really easy print, and comparatively rapid. That you may perhaps perhaps perhaps stutter elevated layer heights to bustle things up, but within the event you’re the stutter of the parametric version with the built-in sizes, the textual bid material may perhaps advance out poorly. I printed it at Zero.15 mm which struck a advantageous balance between floor detail and bustle, and the holder completed in impartial below an hour and a half of.

After printing you enjoy gotten to create both a rubber band or a sexy sized O-ring to compare into the grove. In each the true and parametric versions of the holder, the holes for every key are made free sufficient that they won’t be retained from friction alone. The stress from the rubber band or O-ring is what in actuality holds all the pieces in, so that the grip of the holder doesn’t degrade over time love it may perhaps perhaps probably perhaps perhaps perhaps be if it gorgeous historic tight-becoming holes. In recount I realized that O-rings work better than the rubber bands, regardless that the one ones I could perhaps perhaps perhaps catch within the community are in actuality valuable thinner than what the develop requires. When I attempted with the rubber bands the keys had an inclination to get caught on insertion, but it will no doubt work within the event that you simply may perhaps perhaps perhaps’t catch O-rings huge sufficient.

Work with What You Like

Critics will narrate that the form of this hex holder makes it uniquely gorgeous for dilapidated manufacturing: stutter a lathe to diminish the O-ring grove real into a portion of spherical stock, and then build it on the drill press to develop the individual key holes. You’d lose the major sizes written on the facet, but it may perhaps perhaps probably perhaps perhaps perhaps be faster to create and much stronger than a portion of plastic. While all that’s gorgeous, we’re speaking about 1000’s of greenbacks of instruments and the dedicated workshop to protect all of it versus a low price 3D printer in a hacker’s condo.

The point isn’t that 3D printing is continually the one, or even preferrred, design to create these designs. But it completely’s totally primarily the most approachable and more cost effective design to entire it, and goes a long diagram in opposition to democratizing the creation of personalized physical objects.