Designing Moving Parts

A little while ago, a student contacted me for help with designing things with moving parts such as hinges.  I thought I’d put some of the links in my reply here, for some light Thanksgiving reading:


Designing 3D printed pin hinges, no assembly required:  This person unfortunately doesn’t seem to mention the type of printer they used (since different types of 3D printer might make a certain design easier or harder).  The pictures look like the kind of thing we print, though (the layered look suggests it).

You could look over some examples of how other people have designed hinges:
You can try to bring in some models into Tinkercad by using the Import function on the right hand sidebar; if you import from a file, it needs to be STL format.  There is a file size limitation, though.  Unfortunately, the nature of Tinkercad makes it so that if you import the STL, you can’t really pick it apart very well (other than just creating holes and subtracting parts of the original model); but it might still be a useful exercise to wrap your mind around how the item was designed, especially if you start cutting away into it to see the insides.

Here’s another hinge design, this one made in 123D Design.

For the sake of information, I’ll point out “living hinges”, although this type of hinge will not work with our printers since the plastic we use is more rigid than the nylon-type used in this example.  🙂 video course – Desigining replacement parts with Tinkercad:  this doesn’t address moving parts but I think the section 3 on printing and testing seems useful.

I’m having a bit of a tough time finding information on designing hinges specifically for 3D printing, so some more general information might be useful as well.


Hope that’s useful to somebody out there!