Threaded Inserts for Additive Manufactured / 3d Printed Products or Prototypes

 

Tappex are often asked the question…

“Which thread insert should I use in my 3d printed prototype”

 

Before we answer this question, firstly perhaps we can consider…

 

Why use a Thread Insert?

 

With more and more manufacturers/OEM’s looking to utilise additive manufacturing processes/3d printing technologies, for both low to medium volume production and prototype parts, high quality fixings and threads are becoming a necessity in these plastic parts.

montage

Holes in plastics can be drilled and tapped to produce a thread, however the thread will likely be weak and there will always be the risk of cross threading.

Thread forming screws can be used, however they generally only allow the screw to be installed and removed a couple of times before the hole in the parent material fails, which means the screw can no longer grip and provide the necessary clamping torque.

Threaded inserts installed into 3d printed products can offer a better simulation of exact application conditions, thus allowing the user to establish if the thread size is large enough to meet the specified performance requirements.

 

How to use a Thread Insert

There are a number of insert styles that can be used with 3D printed prototypes.

Tappex – Trisert Self-tapping Thread Insert.

Trisert_brief

The most commonly used is the Trisert range of self-tapping inserts. The Trisert range of brass thread inserts are an excellent general purpose insert that offers both, very good rotational and pull-out performance and doesn’t require costly installation equipment to install. The Trisert self-tapping inserts will tap their way into most engineering plastics (filled or un-filled thermosets and thermoplastics). We also manufacture a range of case hardened Steel and Stainless Steel Trisert’s, should your application have environmental considerations. For more information on the Stainless Steel Trisert 3’s please click here.

For very low volume applications, Trisert thread inserts can be installed using a nut and bolt. For further information on how to do this click here.

Tappex manufacture (in-house) a range of hand tools to suit the Trisert range of thread inserts. Generally available from stock, our hand tools offer an in-expensive installation option for low to medium volume applications. The hand tools will ensure correct, consistent and repeatable installation of the Trisert thread inserts.

For more information on our range of hand tools, please click here, alternatively we have a you-tube video of the tool in action here.

Tappex Flexi-arm Installation Machine.

Flexiarm_Yellow

Tappex flexi arm with pneumatic screwdriver

The Trisert is also a good choice of insert, if volumes are likely to increase. They are very competitive in price and for higher volume applications, we offer the Tappex Flexi-arm installation machine. For more details of the machine click here, alternatively you can see the machine in action, on our You-tube channel here.

 

Tappex Multisert Thread insert – for cold press/ultrasonic or heat installation into thermoplastics.

Multisert_brief

Multisert inserts are also a general purpose insert and can be cold pressed, heat installed or ultrasonically installed into a wide range of engineering thermoplastics.

One thing to consider when planning to use Multisert insert, is whether the 3D printed product can be held flat whilst the insert is pressed/installed into the parent material. Sometimes it can be difficult to ensure that the moulding is held perpendicular to the insert, during installation.

 

Installation Tooling for Multisert Thread Inserts.

Heat Installer

Heat installation machine, exclusively from Tappex

 

Multisert thread inserts can be installed using a Fly press, Arbor press, Tappex heat inserter, or even in some cases a soldering iron can be utilised. For more information on the Tappex heat insertion machine, please click here. We also have a you tube video of the machine, in action, on our You tube page here

This is not something that we recommend, however, in some cases our customers have been known to drop an insert into an oversized hole in the parent material, with a drop of superglue.

Hole Dimensions

The Tappex website offers a guide to hole dimensions for each of the inserts that we offer. The hole size required in the material will vary depending upon the parent material. You will also need to take into consideration the tolerance for the 3d printing machine that you are using.

Whilst the website offers a good guide, we’d strongly recommend that you contact us directly to obtain a hole size drawing, specific to your chosen material.

hole design

 

What if I have any further questions or need assistance with my application?

As a UK manufacturer, trading since 1956, Tappex offer extensive technical support, from design stage, right thorough to series manufacture. In the first instance, small numbers of samples can be provided for prototyping purposes, and prior to manufacture we have in-house applications engineers that can perform pull-out, or application torque tests to confirm suitability of the thread inserts for your chosen application.

 

Where can I get high quality UK manufactured thread inserts from?

Tappex Thread Inserts are located on Masons Road, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 9NT. Click here to find us on Google maps…

We can accept card or BACS payments from consumers, or trade customers alike.

Tappex ship products, directly to OEM’s across the globe, alternatively we have a long established global network of technical distributors, of which you can find further details on our website here .

 

Alternatively, if you have any further questions, or would like to discuss your requirements with us further, please give us a call on +44 (0) 1789 206 600 or drop us an email to sales@tappex.co.uk.

 

 

Tappex Thread Inserts – Coming to an Exhibition near you – PDM 2015

Exhibition Picture - Interplas 2104

The Tappex Group of Companies will be exhibiting at this years Plastics Design and Moulding Exhibition – PDM2015.

Tappex group includes the following two operations both based in the West Midlands and of independent family ownership since 1956.

Tappex Thread Inserts Ltd are manufacturers of fastening product solutions for the OEM/Plastics Industries. Our comprehensive range of Threaded Inserts & Compression Limiters can be used for mouldings including Injection, Compression, SMC & DMC, Wood Laminates, Composite material constructions & Light Metal Alloys.

OEM applications include Automotive vehicle Electronics/Control enclosures, Interiors trim & dashboard constructions, Exterior fitments & Chassis parts. Many of our components are found in critical applications across a range of industries including aerospace, marine, rail, domestic appliances, telecommunications medical instruments and motorsport to name a few.

Threaded Inserts may be specified for inclusion within bespoke mould tooling, post-mould installation whether by physical press-in (at Ambient temperatures, or with Heat or Ultrasonics) alternatively they may be of the self-threading type.

Tappex Threaded inserts are suitable for a very wide range of Thermoplastic & Thermoset materials, including the latest engineering plastics and composite materials.

Tappex have in-house applications engineers, prototyping, mechanical test as well as relevant project management experience to look after OEM/Automotive AQP requirements.

Tappex product both standards & specials are supplied to OEM & their supply chains including JLR, VW Group, Mercedes Benz, MAN & JCB – Tappex works with Tiers – 1,2 & 3 to suit.

Our knowledgeable sales engineers will be on hand at the PDM exhibition to demonstrate our range of installation machinery and also to discuss your current or upcoming projects involving threaded inserts.

To see the Tappex range of products please follow this link… www.Tappex.co.uk

Pressavon Ltd – Progression-tooled metal pressed parts for OEM/Automotive Industries. 1st & 2nd supplier to Automotive & Brown Goods Industries.

Long-standing experience of developing solutions for fluid pipe/tube bracketry & sub-assemblies (currently supply via Tier-1 into Mazda such a volume part). Some specialization also with 2nd.Op. welding (including Robot),Vibro-deburr & mechanical sub-assembly. Capable of handling material sections up to 6mm thickness with 25-220Tonne Hydra-Mechanical Presses. Knowledge of tooling & process requirements for Cold/Hot formed steels (including high tensile grades) & also non-ferrous materials.

Experienced project managers who will take responsibility from concept to series supply of customer’s parts. For more information on Pressavon please follow the link to our website here… www.pressavon.co.uk

Both the Tappex & Pressavon companies operate under BS9001-2008 & ISO 14001 accredited controls, hold IMDS registration and undertake PPAP/ISIR’s as required.

Tappex Thread Insert Installation Tooling – for self tapping Inserts

The Original FlexiArm – Only available from Tappex Thread Inserts Ltd

Tappex flexi arm with pneumatic screwdriver

Tappex Double flexi-arm with pneumatic screwdriver

The Tappex FlexiArm and Desoutter screwdriver combination offer a simple to set up and easy to use solution for rapid installation of self threading inserts into plastics, metal alloys, wood or the latest engineering composite materials.

Quick & simple set up.

Simply insert a Tappex production driver (with 1/4″ hex drive) into the Desoutter pneumatic screwdriver and adjust the installation torque. Once the torque is set, the tool will reliably install thread inserts to the correct depth with consistent torque every-time.

Upto 3 arms can be fitted to a single mounting column, this allows you to install several different sizes of threaded inserts from one machine location.

The FlexiArm is fully adjustable, so ensures that the insert will be installed square to the workpiece.

The FlexiArms Ergonomic design, with counterbalanced and spring loaded arms ensures the resting position can be adjusted to offer the optimum operator comfort and speed of installation. With the weight of the driver being supported by the spring loaded arm, operator fatigue is greatly reduced.

Ultimate flexibility

The desoutter screwdriver is renown for being the best quality pneumatic screwdriver and that’s why we selected it for use with the Tappex FlexiArm. We offer both a 510 rpm auto or manual reverse and an 1100 rpm auto reverse. The FlexiArm has a range of upto 800mm and can install inserts into mouldings or assemblies at different heights with a single set up.

Increased Speed of installation

The FlexiArm can offer increased installation speeds compared to heat staking, cold pressing or ultrasonic installation. The machine is also compact enough to be installed alongside the moulding machine, allowing the operator to install inserts immediately after moulding, utilising the downtime during cycle time.

Reliability

Tappex provides a 12 month return to base warranty on the Desoutter Driver and the cast iron construction of the FlexiArm ensure that the product will stand up to the rigours of the shop floor environment.

For a video showing the Tappex FlexiArm in use, please follow this link to our Youtube Channel…

Alternatively If you would like to know more about the Tappex range of installation tooling or to book a no-obligation demonstration of the FlexiArm machine please give us a call on +44 (0) 1789 206600 or get in touch using the contact form below.