A Guide to Designing Snap Fits and 3D Printed Hinges with CNC Machining(automotive fastener Mortimer)

  • Time:
  • Click:10


CNC machining has revolutionized the manufacturing industry, enabling precise and accurate production of complex parts. In this article, we will explore the process of designing snap fits and 3D printed hinges using CNC machining. These techniques offer versatility, customization, and durability, allowing for innovative designs across various industries.

Designing Snap Fits:

Snap fits are an integral part of product assembly where two components interlock without additional fasteners. With CNC machining, the possibilities for creating robust snap fit connections are endless. Here's how you can design effective snap fits:

1. Material Selection:
Choose a suitable material that combines strength and flexibility for your snap fit design. Materials like nylon or ABS are commonly used due to their favorable mechanical properties.

2. Desig—Shape and Dimensions:
Consider incorporating features such as undercuts, bosses, and tabs into your design to enhance snap fit performance. The dimensions should be carefully determined to ensure optimal snugness while accommodating any anticipated thermal expansion or contraction.

3. Tolerance Analysis:
Conduct tolerance analysis to precisely define the clearance and interference between mating components. This is crucial for achieving smooth assembly and disassembly processes.

4. Stress Analysis:
Use computer-aided engineering (CAE) tools to simulate the behavior of snap fit mechanisms under different stress conditions. Evaluate the performance of the design to avoid premature failure or excessive deformation.

5. Prototype Validation:
Create prototypes using CNC machining to validate the design's functionality. Test the snap fit mechanism for strength, ease of assembly, and resistance against fatigue over multiple cycles.

Designing 3D Printed Hinges:

Hinges play a vital role in bridging moving components, enabling rotation or pivoting actions. Incorporating 3D printed hinges into your design allows for intricacy, lightweight construction, and unique geometries. Below are the essentials to consider:

1. Type of Hinge:
Identify the specific type of hinge that suits your requirements, such as butt hinges, continuous hinges, or pivot hinges. Each type has its own characteristics and applications.

2. Geometry Design:
Leverage the design freedom provided by CNC machining to create complex hinge geometries. Ensure proper alignment and spacing while keeping in mind the load-bearing capabilities of the hinge.

3. Material Selection:
Choose a suitable material for 3D printing the hinge based on mechanical properties, durability, and environmental considerations. Materials like nylon-based plastics or metals can offer high strength and resilience.

4. Surface Finishing:
Consider post-processing operations like polishing or sanding to achieve smooth surfaces and reduce friction between hinge components.

5. Iterative Testing:
Construct prototypes using CNC machining and evaluate the functionality, range of motion, and stress distribution of the hinges. Make necessary modifications to optimize performance.


CNC machining provides an exceptional platform for designing and producing snap fits and 3D printed hinges. By carefully considering materials, dimensions, tolerance, stress analysis, and iterative testing, engineers and designers can create intricate and durable connections within their products. Incorporating these techniques enables innovation, customization, and efficiency across various industries, making CNC-machined snap fits and hinges essential in modern manufacturing processes. CNC Milling