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  1. #1

    Question - Metal Heat-Set Metal Hardware for PLA Printed Parts

    Hi All,
    I hope this wasn't posted already. I am new to PLA printing and do not fully know the terminology, so my Google searches came up dry.

    My question concerns heat-set metal parts to use for my PLA printed parts. I know there are a ton of sources for heat-set threaded inserts, but I was unable to find heat-set parts for the other side of the bolt mount. I like the idea that I can have a threaded metal heat-set part to screw a bolt/screw into, but I was wondering if there was also heat-set parts for the bolt side, like a tube or collar with a flange for the bolt to pass through and hold onto when screwed into the threaded female.

    I want a metal to metal bolted solution, so I do not have to worry about cracking my PLA part if torqued to tightly. So I am looking for sources of this hardware so I can have a metal threaded bolt seat AND a tube (or collar) brass or otherwise insert for the other side.

    I hope I explained myself adequately. If not, I can try to throw something together in Blender to illustrate what I mean. I am sure these parts are out there, just cannot find them due to my lack of knowledge of the terminology.

    Thank you so much for your valuable time!!!

  2. #2
    Staff Engineer
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    If I understand your objective correctly, you are asking for the equivalent of a threaded heat set insert, but without the threads? Of course, there's a mechanical advantage with the inserts in that the outer diameter is often knurled or otherwise featured to provide more surface area with which the plastic will bond. One could simply drill out the heat set insert to the required diameter. I've recently completed a project using the inserts and if I had considered the benefits, I might have done just that, but the loads are insignificant and the inserts were used to eliminate nuts on the obverse.

  3. #3
    i have not found a male heat insert yet. you can try 2 females and then use an adapter thread in the middle like these

    Would like to hear how it turns out for you if you decide to try it. Thanks.

  4. #4
    Staff Engineer
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    In the world of home-built aircraft, also called amateur aircraft, it is a common construction practice to weld a bushing into a tube. Through this tube will pass a fastener, the forces of which will be applied to the length of the bushing, rather than being applied in such a manner as to crush the tubing. The bushing will be in compression and the forces will be distributed along the perimeter of each end via the weld.

    I learned of a product of similar application while involved in ultralight aircraft construction. Aluminum is a more common material for ULA construction, which can be challenging and expensive to weld. The product was called an insta-bush or insta-bushing and comprised a cylinder and two end caps, akin to a top hat with an open top. The caps were pushed into the sleeve which was cut to proper length for the diameter of the tube into which it was inserted. The sleeve length prevented crushing of the tubing by the fastener and the end cap flanges distributed the side forces as required. Stainless steel construction prevented corrosion of dissimilar metals.

    I recall at the time that these particular products were astonishingly expensive, even for the last century. A search presented only a single practical link and US$15 shows me it's still astonishingly expensive.

    One should be able to create an equivalent, perhaps without the flanges on each end by drilling a heat set insert as noted previously, or by cutting appropriate tubing to length and heat setting in the part. The advantage of the former is that there are knurlings to better distribute the forces, while the latter has only a smooth surface, unless one uses a lathe to knurl it. I suppose one could apply CA to the tubing, after scuffing it a bit for better bonding.

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