3D Printing - Aaron's Hardware Choices

I suspect that I am not the only 3D artist that has take inspiration from other 3D artists out there. This is common practice and encouraged in the community. While I have gained a lot of knowledge, I have also made discoveries of my own and have come up with a lot of my own solutions that I would like to share in return.

One of those solutions is this particular set of parts that I make sure to keep in stock, both at home and at work. I find that nearly all things I design when used with these parts are fairly easy to make. They make designs that are much stronger than they would be without them and they are affordable enough to refill often if need be. Not to mention, if I lose a couple I loose relatively few tears over it.

My hope is that I will be sharing many of my designs with the community here and my goal with this post is to give you an easy way to find the appropriate parts and tools if you wish to find them.

I know this is quite a list of part numbers and I am not suggesting that you must go line by line purchasing each of these as if it this were a starter kit. Like I said, it is just things I have settled on, like, and use in my designs.

The Nuts and Bolts and other Consumables

Starting with the screws, I have standardized around the 3 mm screw size because that is what the 3D printer industry has done. I can easily make accessories for my printer with these parts as well as anything else my mind can imagine. I don’t only use these for fastening, I use them to make hinges and shafts for springs

Below I have both pan head and flat Head. There are applications for each. You should also notice how there are differences in the lengths. The flat head adds lengths missing in the pan head line up.

M3 Pan Head Machine Screws Phillips

Size Digi-Key Part Number Supplier Part Number Supplier
0.984" (25.00mm) H746-ND MPMS 003 0025 PH B&F Fastener Supply
0.787" (20.00mm) H745-ND MPMS 003 0020 PH B&F Fastener Supply
0.472" (11.99mm) H744-ND MPMS 003 0012 PH B&F Fastener Supply
0.315" (8.00mm) H743-ND MPMS 003 0008 PH B&F Fastener Supply
0.197" (5.00mm) H742-ND MPMS 003 0005 PH B&F Fastener Supply

M3 Flat Head Machine Screws Phillips

Size Digi-Key Part Number Supplier Part Number Supplier
0.984" (25.00mm) HM4051-ND 1594WMS100 Hammond Manufacturing
0.709" (18.00mm) HM1446-ND 1594MS100 Hammond Manufacturing
0.394" (10.00mm) HM1438-ND 1591MS100 Hammond Manufacturing


M3 Nuts

Here you will notice there are two part numbers for Zinc plated nuts. The first is the most affordable option but requires a minimum order. The second can be purchased in units of one. I find that I will make my choice based upon how many I feel I need to order at the time.

I also have a nylon nut here. I like to used them in my designs to take friction and heat away from my PLA in hinging or rotating applications. I also find it easy to incorporate this into a screw hole design to easily add threads. If I over tighten it will rotate the nut rather than strip out my design.

Digi-Key Part Number Supplier Part Number Supplier
Zinc H762-ND MHNZ 003 B&F Fastener Supply
Zinc 36-4708-ND 4708 Keystone Electronics
Nylon RPC8622-ND 04M030050WFHN Essentra Components

M3 Washers

Digi-Key Part Number Supplier Part Number Supplier
Flat Washer H767-ND MFWZ 003 B&F Fastener Supply
Split Lock H772-ND MLWZ 003 B&F Fastener Supply
Nylon RPC9790-ND 16MLSW030070070 Essentra Components

4mm Diameter Springs

I really cannot say enough about springs. They are the battery of the mechanical world and I couldn’t possibly limit their usefulness by saying they are for this or for that. What I will say is I have used them to propel things, open things, close things, and apply pressure to things. I really like springs and using them in 3D printing.

These are what I use often because they seem to work well for most of my applications. There are others available as well.

Digi-Key Part Number Supplier Part Number Supplier
19 mm ATS1897-ND ATS-PPS-10 Advanced Thermal Solutions Inc
16 mm ATS1899-ND ATS-PPS-12 Advanced Thermal Solutions Inc

You will find that we do have a spring section.

In addition to those however, we do also have them other places that are a little more hidden. They can also be found in the accessory sections for other products.
Click this link to see an example:

Product Index > Fans, Thermal Management > Thermal - Accessories


I like to embed magnets into my designs because they are easy to hide when using the print pausing technique. They can be used to actuate sensors, create invisible clasps, or invisible springs. Your imagination is the limit here.

The parts listed below are what I use most of the time but there are many choices available.

Size Digi-Key Part Number Supplier Part Number Supplier
0.157"DIA X 0.098"H 469-1072-ND 9039 Radial Magnet Inc.
0.236"DIA X 0.098"H 469-1073-ND 9040 Radial Magnet Inc.
0.315"DIA X 0.098"H 469-1074-ND 9041 Radial Magnet Inc.


If I am making something that is meant to sit on a table or counter-top, I place an appropriately sized imprint in the bottom of my models to accommodate these as feet. I have also used them in hinging applications to add a cushion or sound dampening when I do not want loose parts to slap against each other.

This part listed below is what I like to use, but there are a ton of different choices available.

Size Digi-Key Part Number Supplier Part Number Supplier
0.250" Dia (6.35mm) SJ5382-ND SJ5382 3M

Some of My Favorite Tools

I have a couple of drill bits that attach using a bit type insert. I have found them to be fantastic for use with the bolts. It doesn’t matter how perfect the hole is printed, if I use these the diameter is perfect fit every time.

The 1/8" Bit will create a perfect hole for the bolt to slide through, the 7/64, (6/32) will give a tight fit that can be threaded fairly easily with a screw and screwdriver

Size Digi-Key Part Number Supplier Part Number Supplier
1/8 78008W-ND 78008 Wiha
5/32 78011W-ND 78011 Wiha
3/32 78005W-ND 78005 Wiha

I will continue to update this post if I come across more relevant items but for now I do hope this helps you and as always,

CartoonMe Happy printing!

Keep an eye out for more of my creations as time goes on and feel free to post here with creations of your own.

I use Onshape to create most of my designs. If you haven’t given Onshape a shot yet perhaps you should. It is very good at allowing multiple people to make their own iterations of a project. Click below if you would like to learn more about Onshape.

Projects utilizing these items: