Overview

DIY Thermal Insert Press

In this project we’re building a rig for heat set inserts. When working with 3D printed parts, a press can help you install inserts. This holds a soldering iron vertically and allows you to press down, perfectly straight. The tip of the iron heats up the brass and softens the plastic. Pressing down pushes the insert into the part and once it cools down, it’s locked in place. This could be handy for folks doing a small production run or if you're looking for a tool to make this easier.

Heat Set Inserts

The knurling on the outside of these brass inserts are design for heat setting plastic. Threaded inserts are great for making bolted connections when securing parts together. Adding metal threads to your parts will significantly increase the durability. You can also loosen the connection and take it apart without wearing out the threads.

Insert Installation Tips

A tip specifically designed for installing inserts works better than regular soldering tips. These are compatible with irons that use internal ceramic heaters like Hakko’s and Weller’s. The longer shank reaches deeper into parts and tight corners without touching plastic.

Hardware used in Assemblies

M3 Heat Set Inserts

Adjustable 60W Pen-Style Soldering Iron - 120VAC USA Plug

PRODUCT ID: 3685
You re-work hard all day, so treat yourself with the BEST portable Adjustable Soldering Iron we carry!  OK, "Best" may be subjective, but it's also the name...
$19.95
IN STOCK

Heat-Set Insert For Soldering Irons - #4-40 / M3 Inserts

PRODUCT ID: 4239
Wanna improve the connection strength between your project's 3D-printed parts, and also have nice clean surfaces? Instead of gluing bits together, or screwing plastic screws...
$9.95
IN STOCK

Brass Heat-Set Inserts for Plastic - M3 x 4mm - 50 pack

PRODUCT ID: 4255
Wanna improve the connection strength between your project's 3D-printed parts, and also have nice clean surfaces? Instead of gluing bits together, or screwing plastic screws...
$5.95
IN STOCK

Slotted Aluminum Extrusion - 20mm x 20mm - 610mm long

PRODUCT ID: 1221
Oh boy, now you have no excuse for not building that robot! Nothing is easier or faster than building with extrusion and we've added 20mm square aluminum extrusion and components...
$7.50
IN STOCK

Stickvise PCB Vise

PRODUCT ID: 3197
Are you still looking for that perfect PCB holder? The low profile PCB Stickvise might be just the thing you need!In performing the simple task...
$32.95
IN STOCK

Monoprice Inventor II 3D Printer with Touchscreen and WiFi

PRODUCT ID: 3897
The Monoprice Inventor II 3D Printer Touchscreen with WiFi is a perfect entry-level 3D printer with small footprint and reliable performance. It comes equipped with...
$650.00
IN STOCK

Filament for 3D Printers in Various Colors and Types

PRODUCT ID: 2080
Having a 3D printer without filament is sort of like having a regular printer without paper or ink.  And while a lot of printers come with some filament there's a good chance...
OUT OF STOCK

Designer Notes:

I'd like to give Bill Binko (@atmakers) of ATMakers.org a huge thanks for his contributions to this project. Bill designed his own version with similar components. Check out his demo on the Adafruit Show & Tell (Youtube Video: 10min 3sec).

References & Links

While working on this project I did some research and found some interest articles on how to properly install heat set inserts. There's also some great video content on testing threaded inserts.

This guide was first published on May 07, 2019. It was last updated on May 07, 2019. This page (Overview) was last updated on Dec 05, 2019.