Connecting mechanical components can be a challenge with 3D printing. Tapping functional holes in plastic that can support a load is nearly impossible. I want to share an easy method I've found to add metal threads to a 3D print that you can do with just a soldering iron.
This Instructable is entered into the Full Spectrum Laser and Hack Your Day contests so if you think it's a winner for either one, I'd appreciate your vote! Thanks!
Step 1: Materials and Tools
The only tool you need is a soldering iron.
Step 2: Design Your Model
Step 3: Assembly
1. Heat soldering iron. Wait at least a minute for it to get hot. Remember to always be safe around heat!
2. While it is heating, you can position the inserts so that they rest on the holes.
3. Once the soldering iron is hot, place it inside the insert and push down gently.
4. As you are pushing, the insert will slowly sink into the plastic. You may have to wiggle the soldering iron back and forth to straighten the insert.
5. Continue applying pressure until the insert is flush with the plastic. Remove the iron from the insert.
6. Flip the part over and remove any extra plastic with a small knife or screwdriver.
7. Repeat for all other inserts.
8. Wait a few minutes at least before using the inserts to make sure the plastic is fully solidified.
The inserts will still be hot for a few minutes after so be careful not to touch them right away.