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McMaster-Carr 3D

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. McMaster-Carr's 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.

McMasterCarr’s 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 Hardware 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:




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.


Download the 3D STEP CAD file type from the Product Detail page.
Start/Install the program FreeCAD (available here: http://www.freecadweb.org/).

Open the 3D STEP file.
Select the part (make sure it turns green) and go to the File menu and choose Export. Save as ‘Mesh Formats’ from the dropdown menu. Save this file to a local drive; it will be saved as "FileName.STL".




Select STEP 3D File Type




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 print. Load the STL file into slicer program, 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
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 and a few of the advanced materials for stronger, more robust products.




Bolt to be 3D Printed




McMasterCarr 3D Printed PLA Bolt Collection

McMaster-Carr is Awesome:

While you are on the McMasterCarr webpage feel free to order from their abundant hardware selection and enjoy speedy delivery. Iif 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.



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 McMasterCarr’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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