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Why You Should Use Threaded Inserts for 3D Printing

September 12th, 2022Generated with Avocode.Ellipse 1By E-Z Lok

In the past decade, 3D printing has become widely used in a range of applications, including healthcare, automotive and defense. In 2021, 2.2 million 3D printers were sold globally, and that number is expected to increase to 21.5 million by 2030.

Did you know threaded inserts for 3D printing add strong and long-lasting threads to most 3D prints? They are a great way to add longevity to 3D-printed enclosures that need to accept screws. In this article, we will take a look at how using threaded inserts for 3D printed parts can benefit you and your business — and how E-Z LOK can help.

What Are Threaded Inserts for 3D Printing?

A threaded insert is a metal cylinder fastener placed into an existing hole to add a threaded pathway. Threaded inserts are a great way to repair a hole with stripped threads or to add thread in a material that can't be tapped because it is too thin.

When it comes to a 3D print, thread inserts add durable threads. Because the plastics used in 3D printing are typically not that strong, plastic threads created via 3D printing don't last long and often need repaired or replaced.

What Types of Materials Are Used to Make Threaded Inserts for 3D Printed Parts?

Brass threaded inserts are the most common, in part because brass inserts for plastic are the cheapest. However, threaded inserts for 3D printing can also be made from other durable materials. Stainless steel threaded inserts are more resistant to corrosion, and aluminum inserts weigh far less than brass, making them a better option for certain applications.

What Types of Threaded Inserts Are Best for 3D Printing?

Heat-set inserts are the best for 3D printing. A heat-set insert is a threaded insert made of metal that can be heated with a soldering iron and pressed into a hole in a plastic part. They are perfect for adding threads to any thermoplastic plastic, like the parts made from 3D printing. Threaded inserts for thermoplastics like PVC, acrylic and polypropylene are designed to minimize splintering or splitting during post-molding installation. Also, threaded inserts for thermoset plastics like epoxy and silicone can be installed without causing splitting or splintering.

How Do Threaded Inserts for 3D Printing Work?

A threaded insert is designed with edges and ribs on its exterior, known as knurling. The knurling bites into the plastic and secures the insert, making it harder for the insert to be pulled out. The interior of the threaded inserts for plastic has the more durable threaded pathway you need to secure your product.

Types of Knurled Threaded Inserts for 3D Printing

There are several different types of knurled threaded inserts for 3D printing, each with its own benefits and applications.

  • Straight knurls offer greater torque resistance.
  • Diagonal/helical knurls are used when you need to balance the resistance from both directions.
  • Hexagonal/diamond knurls are the most common type of knurls because they offer resistance in every direction.

What Are the Benefits of Using Threaded Inserts for 3D Printing?

Using threaded inserts for your 3D printing project has many advantages over other ways of adding threading. Threaded inserts:

  • Last longer than threads tapped in plastic.
  • Are easier to print than nuts that are embedded.
  • Take up less space.
  • Let you use higher clamping forces.

How to Install Threaded Inserts in 3D Printed Parts

To install threaded inserts in 3D printed parts, the first step is to design a cavity the size of the nut you want to add. Pause the printing process before printing the lop layer of the cavity, add in your nut insert, and then complete the print.

Let E-Z LOK Help With Your Threaded Inserts for 3D Printing

E-Z LOK knows how important the right threaded inserts are for your 3D printing project. We have a huge selection of threaded inserts for plastic, including our Ultrasonic inserts.

Browse our site today, and if you have any questions, contact our team of experts and find out how we can help.

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