We’ve been looking at the 3D design and printing of ball and socket joints as part of a new project we are embarking upon. This also would be a super useful component in many other settings where we need some degree of movement in the piece and/or require assemblies which can be popped together and also seperated at other instances. And as always, we are churning these test pieces out on our trusty ol’ Makerbot Replicator 2. Here are the 2 quick designs on the same theme for our 3d printed ball and socket joints:
Simple Ball and Socket Joint
This is a straightforward design where the ball joint sits directly in a cup shaped socket, much like the shoulder joint in humans.
The concaved socket joint is slightly more than a hemishpere so as to be able to catch snugly onto the ball joint.
The characteristic of this particular 3d printed joint is that it allows for movement in 360 degrees up to a uniform point for ball joint.
In the spirit of sharing, this design can be found on thingiverse over here – http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:70366
Ball and Slotted Socket Joint
This is a variant of the simple ball and socket joint where we’ve created gaps in the walls of the socket to allow for 4 points where the ball joint will be able to rotate to a more than 90 degree angle to the socket joint. The additional benefit allowed by this design is that the groves provide more flexibility to the socket parts, so that they can be extended to a higher level than the first design, thus giving a better grip on the ball joint.
Here’s the piece assembled, showing the extent to which the ball joint can rotate when it hits the top edge of the socket joint.
And when the ball joint is rotated into the grove of the socket joint, it allows for a more than 90 degree turn – probably going to be useful in some scenarios 🙂
And this is also made available on Thingiverse over at: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:70371
Stay tuned to check out what we will be using these 3D printed ball and socket joints for! 😉