How To 3D Print Hardware from McMaster-Carr
Posted on March 25, 2015 by Dave Gaylord
The old adage “work smart, not hard” is applicable here. There is no reason to get out any fancy CAD software if you are in the mood to 3D Print standard hardware. The McMaster Carr online catalog has an abundance of CAD designs available and ready for printing.

If you have the desire to print standard hardware, but lack the motivation to reverse engineer the parts yourself, I have some good news for you.

The McMaster Carr online catalog is well organized, has an overwhelming selection, and as it turns out, is a fantastic resource for standard hardware CAD Designs. A good portion of the standard hardware have downloadable CAD files within the product detail page.

3D Printed Bolt from McMaster Carr - Functional Threads


 

Awesome, where do I start?

Head over to www.mcmaster.com  and search for a part that you are interested in 3D printing, be sure it has a downloadable CAD file in the product detail page.

Hint, look for this symbol:  CAD

McMaster Carr Product Details CAD for Product


 

Download your prefered CAD file type. If you are a Solidworks user, download the 3D Solidworks file directly. If you do not have a prefered file type - thats okay, we will get you through it, keep reading.

 

Converting CAD files to STL format:

There are a few options, but here is the one we have found to be the most robust.

 

Select STEP 3D File Type for Download


Save the STEP file to your local drive


Export from FreeCAD as 'Mesh Formats' file type


3D Print

Now that you have an STL file you are ready to create the part using your 3D Printer. Load the STL file into MatterControl, scale to your heart’s desire and print away. Feel free to experiment with various filaments and colors

Printing recomendations:

  • When printing close tolerance parts, scale up (for male fittings) or down (for female fittings) by 2%-5% to ensure fit. This may very from 3d printer to 3d printer dependingon calibration

  • Thread printing quality is limited by thread angle - it can be good to double the thread pitch by scaling your part 2X along the axis (non-uniform scaling).

  • Experiment with layer heights and infills to get the print that meets your needs

  • ABS and PLA are great to start with. Try Nylon or a few of the advanced materials for stronger, more robust products. 


  • To get a head start, go ahead and download the demonstration Big Bolt here

Bolt to be 3D Printed using MatterControl

Download this Bold STL here.


McMaster Carr 3D Printed PLA Bolt Collection


McMaster-Carr is Awesome:

While you are on the McMaster Carr webpage feel free to order from their abundant hardware selection and enjoy speedy delivery. Here at MatterHackers HQ, if we order something by 11am, the Engineers usually have it on our desk by 2PM that same day, truly AMAZING. We have no affiliation to the company, other than we are loyal customers. 

 

3D Printed Hardware from McMaster Carr - Functional Threads


Design Tip:

If you are designing a part, lets say a block with a functional threaded hole in the side, don’t waste your time cutting the helical thread into the block. Download the correct size bolt from McMaster Carr’s online catalog and subtract it from the block - BOOM - functional threaded hole. Sometimes to compensate for 3D Printing tolerances I scale up by 2%-5% before subtracting.

 

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