3D Printed Geometry Connectors

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Introduction: 3D Printed Geometry Connectors

About: I'm a Mechanical Engineer who has been a part of this community for over 10 years! My interests have evolved over time, and now center around 3D printing.

My life hasn't quite been the same since as a student, I was able to access 3D printers. This was a fun quick project to blend 3D printed items with more traditional crafting materials. Using a 3D printer allows for small connectors with precise angles to be made. While an icosahedron would normally be a difficult shape to create, it was easily manageable with this technique.

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  1. Introduction
  2. Video
  3. Printing
  4. Assembly
  5. Conclusion

Step 1: Video!

Step 2: Printing

After designing using Autodesk's Fusion 360, connectors were printed using a Makerbot 5th Generation for the icosahedron and equilateral pyramid, while a Makerbot Replicator 2X was used for the cube. This was really based on wanting to utilize different machines to compare tolerances, and what was available at the time in the makerspace.

If I remember correctly, I printed these at about 15% infill, with 3 shells. I wanted to be able to Dremel out the insides of the connectors if necessary. It wasn't necessary after they were printed. The dowels fit just fine.

Go grab the files from Thingiverse!: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1159875

P.S. If you want to make one of these, but don't have access to a 3D printer, 3D Hubs can help! They connect you to someone locally who has a printer and is willing to run prints for you. Use coupon code MKSHWHBVCV to get 15% off your order!

Step 3: Assembly

Quarter-inch dowel rods will need to be cut to equal lengths. You can choose whatever length you wish depending on the desired size of the object. Depending on which shape you are making will determine the number of dowels you need to cut.

For an icosahedron, you will need 30 pieces, for a cube you will need 12, and for the equilateral pyramid you will need 6.

Once cut, the pieces slide in to the slots on the connectors to create the shapes.

Step 4: Conclusion

Thank you for reading! Leave a comment letting me know what you think, and any ideas to use this technique to make something awesome, or create new shapes!

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9 Comments

I'm finally getting around to printing these. It looks awesome, thank you for making them and sharing! We will use them in my school definitely. The numbers you mention to make each shape are off. Pyramid = 4, cube = 8, icosahedron = 12.

1 reply

Oh, sorry you were talking about how many edges, not vertices. My bad!

Great idea! Can you buy these anywhere? I've been looking for something like this to build models but I don't have a 3D printer.

Really nice. Any plans to do the other platonic solids? Or any other polyhedra?

1 reply

Thank you! At this point I do not, but I may get inspired in the future. Making an icosahedron was the goal at the beginning, and then the other two shapes were tacked on afterward.

Thank you! :D

these are awesome! Do you think straws would fit?

1 reply

Thank you! Straws should be about the right size, and would be flexible enough to squish in. However I would be a little worried about how sturdy they would be.
Thanks for the comment!