76 August 2015
PRACTICAL 3D PRINTING n BY CHUCK HELLEBUYCK
launched the free-to-use Tinkercad software from my
Chrome browser (which is recommended) and began
the design. It really didn’t take a lot of time to create
the actual piece, but getting the spacing right was
the toughest part. I decided to just use a screw and nut to
secure the holder to the pegboard. I didn’t trust a plastic
hook to hold up. I also wanted a couple of guide pins to
locate the bracket and eliminate the need for two screws.
I wanted some strength, so I used a triangle support
bracket from the base up to the post that will hold the
solder roll. Figure 1 shows the completed design.
The design consisted of multiple objects essentially
glued together to make the final piece. I like Tinkercad
because it makes 3D design as easy as building with blocks
like I did as a kid. In places where I need to take material
away, I just create an object that is a “hole” and that
removes anything it touches rather than add to it.
Figure 2 shows the blocks that create the final design.
The light gray blocks are the holes where material is
removed. I squared off the edges of two parts because I
In Tinkercad, I just select all the objects and then group
them together to make the final piece. When the design is
complete, it can be exported as an .STL format file so it can
be imported into the XYZware software I use for slicing the
file and sending it to my da Vinci 1.0 printer 3D printer.
I made the design public, so anybody can copy it and
modify the source file in Tinkercad to fit their requirements.
I also uploaded the .STL file to my Thingiverse.com
account, so anyone can print the same design I created.
I printed the holder with the post sticking straight up.
This eliminated the need for support material. This is not
the best way to print it for strength, however, as the layers
can potentially sag if the solder roll is too heavy. Printing
it length-wise would be stronger but some support would
be required, and that means extra plastic to use and extra
work to remove it. I also thought at some point I could
redo the design with a hollow shaft and then insert a metal
rod inside for strength. That is actually a popular 3D print
technique: Pause the print near the top of the post; insert
I am constantly looking for my roll of solder. I like to use a water-
soluble flux version so I can wash off the solder flux with water
and a toothbrush. The result is a professional looking solder joint.
Because of this, I’m very specific about what solder I use for
projects around my lab and end up often moving the solder roll. I
also oftentimes forget where I put it, or it ends up under a pile of
tools or circuit boards. So, having a dedicated place to put my solder would be handy, and
what better place than hanging it from the pegboard at the back of my bench. A custom
3D printed solder holder was an easy solution to give the solder roll a place of its own.
Using 3D printers for
practical projects on
n FIGURE 1. Tinkercad design
n FIGURE 6. Final design
mounted to my bench.
n FIGURE 2. Tinkercad blocks