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3D Printed Tools

Unlike many people, I don't think that FFF 3D printing is a great technology for making tools. There's a good reason that they have historically been primarily made from metals. Having said that, there's a huge number of things you can print yourself that will enhance your experience in a home workshop or lab.

Sorting Containers

Sorting trays with funnels by @Area51

There are two models from @Area51 that I have found insanely useful. The first is these sorting trays that you can 3D print using a minimum of filament. They come in a ton of sizes (50, 75, 100, 125, 150, adn 175mm square). They have a very useful funnel attached, and most importantly they stack! I print them with my fast profile and they are super solid. They're fine in PLA as well as PETG.

In addition, @Area51 has provided dividers for the sorting trays. This is great when you need to divide a larger tray or want to block them from leaving via the funnel.

I use these extensively when sorting through parts, or even when I am assembling/disassembling something to collect screws and other small parts.

Improvement Opportunity

I've thought about maybe adding some magnets to the bottom of them to help hold ferrous screws/bolts better. While I have some metal sorting containers, these are wildly better sized and the funnel should never be underestimated.


I do use some of the Gridfinity grid storage system, and have found it to be super helpful. This was created by Zack Freedman, and he talks about it in this Youtube video. I use base plates with tiny magnets in them to hold things together, although I've never gotten to little ties to tie baseplates together to work properly.

My only caution is that I think some people have gone a bit overboard with the system, and you see a bit of "if all you have is a hammer..." problem solving. Still, it's super useful, module, and you should take a look at it.

There is a master collection by @GlitchPrinter on Printables.

Hakko T-18 Soldering Tip Holder

Hakkto T-18 tip holder by

This 3D model from OzRocky is a great way to store your extra soldering tips for a Hakko iron that uses T-18 tips, like the FX-888. Just be careful to ensure the tips are cool before you put them back in. You can also find some super cheap tip sets that come with a machined aluminum holder, and that might be better in some cases.

PCB Holders

If you're working with a bunch of PCBs, there's a couple designs that might be helpful that I've used. The first is this one for 10 small PCBs by Kytor. It's not designed for huge PCBs, but it does work great for the typical small (less than 50mm square) PCBs hobbyists are using most of the time.

For larger PCB holding, I really like this model from Thiadmer Riemersma.

Silica Gel/Desiccant Containers

Silica gel or desiccant containers by

I've discussed this elsewhere around filament storage, but one thing you really need to do is keep desiccant with the filament. I originally just used those little mesh bags you see for clothing drawers, but they never sealed well enough. Then, I found this amazing containers designed by Malolo. I use the full core models, and they work just amazingly well.

One note, print the funnel and cone to help with filling. You don't want tiny desiccant beads flying everywhere. You'll never find them all.

Lead-Forming Tool

Lead-forming tool from

When you're working with axial leaded components (typically resistors and inductors), you have to bend the leads to fit into either a breadboard or your PCB. Doing that is trivial with a set of pliers, but it's even more consistent with a tool like this one from Timot. You just find the right match for component size and lead length and then press them down around it.

Panavise Speedwheel

Panavise speedwheel by

I love my Panavise, especially with the 5! pound (2.3kg) cast iron base, but one thing that could be better is the rate at which the screw allows the jaws to expand. It can sometimes take forever to get the jaws open to the right size. This cute little addition by ZRex is a great addition. Panavise does make their own version, but I think this version from ZRex actually works better. And you can print it in any color you want.

Just stick your finger in one of the little openings and spin it.

Plier/Wrench Organizer

If you're anything like me, you have a bunch of pliers and wrenches of various types. I used to store them just in a drawer, piled up a bit, which isn't really good for finding them, or for their long-term durability. Recently, though, I found this great little rack from TeasleyPrint, and it's worked great to keep all my pliers at easy reach.

Heat Set Insert Press for Dremel and Hakko FX-888

Heat set insert press by

One of the things I bought years ago, on sale no doubt, was a Dremel 220 workstation. This is kinda like a little "drill press" but for your Dremel tool. It's supremely well designed and made (like pretty much anything from Dremel), and with this great little addition from APuckNut, you've got yet another great function. This lets you take a Hakko FX-888 soldering iron handpiece and securely mount it in the Dremel workstation. You can then use this to accurately and reliably do heat set inserts.

If you want something even cooler, and wildly specialized, but amazingly made and designed, I've heard nothing but great things about Naomi Wu's insert tool, and if I was doing anything like production work, it would be something I'd snap up immediately. But the little 3D-printed insert works great for my limited applications.

Box for Omnifixo

Box for

I haven't written about my love for my Omnifixo, although that love is nearly boundless, but Norm from Tested (Adam Savage) did a great video on how amazing it is. Well, this box from Tritshi is perfect for storing everything. Definitely print the magnet holders as well. The only change that I made to the design is I added some very thin rubberized tape to the inside of the magnet holders to keep them more secure as they were still leaping out. The magnets for the Omnifixo are very strong.

Wire Soldering Jig

Cable soldering jig by

If you're just trying to solder two pieces of wire together, this soldering jig from werz99 has served me well. When I don't want to pull out the Omnifixo or something else, this holds the wires perfectly so they can be joined together, or even just tinned. Yes, plastic with a glass transition temperature under 100C isn't that durable around a 350C soldering tip, but I've not had any problem, and even if there is a problem, they're super cheap and fast to print a replacement.

Screw Measuring Tool

Screw measuring tool by Boogie

These are all over the place, but I really like this design from Boogie for a screw measuring tool. If you have a screw that you're not sure what the size of it is, you can jsut quickly figure that out, both diameter and length. It uses very little filament, and is great. If you print it with an M600 filament change, you can print the labels in a different color filament.


Comments or Questions?

If you have any comments, questions, or topics you'd like to see covered, please feel free to either reach out to me on Mastodon (link below) or open an issue on Github.