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Locking ball and socket gooseneck system

3D printed ball and socket joint with a quarter turn twist lock at each joint. Brick shithouse goosenecks!

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3D printable ball and socket system, upgraded with a quarter turn twist lock on each ball joint. This completely eliminates disengagement of the ball.

STL download (v5, updated 5/19/15): http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=11978643118806541255

Background/Credit: I saw this PCB workstation on thingiverse last week (actually before it was featured on hackaday).
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:801279

I loved the idea, printed several arms and tested them. They worked shockingly well, with the one drawback that they pop apart too easily. Fine for the delicate probing, but I wanted to step it up a notch and design something that would hold up while grabbing wires and cables.

Compatible with my low profile soldering vise, Stickvise https://goo.gl/Mxb7E5<

Attachment Brainstorm:

Here is a list of some ideas for attachments for the locking gooseneck system. Feel free to leave me as many ideas as you can think of in the comments and I will add them here, thanks!

AttachmentStatus
Credit
Alligator clip (third hand / helping hand)Done
LED lampIn progress
Magnifying glassNot startedcastvee8
Magnetic pickup toolNot startedcastvee8
Inspection MirrorNot startedcastvee8
Weighted base
(with USB power or 9V battery for fans / lamps)
Not started
Generic scope/multimeter probe holderNot started
"chip clip" - lighter more even clamp for gluingNot startedcastvee8
T and Y adaptersNot startedcastvee8


Locking Joint Version History:

V1(5/11/15): worked but was a very tight fit

V2(5/12/15): fit was improved, now nut should install easily

V3(5/12/15): added back the coaxial hole for running wires

V4(5/17/15): Redesigned nut so that it fits on the socket regardless of the accuracy and layer height of the printer (within reason). See gif below illustrating the principle. Basically on a more accurate printer the ball will fit better in the socket, not expanding it as much. On less accurate printers the socket expands more. Depending on the expansion, the nut can be tightened to up to three "locked" positions. So you won't have a loose fit on a high accuracy printer but will have no problem getting the nut to turn on a low accuracy printer.

V5(5/19/15): Minor update, added chamfers between slits in the socket. For those who want to print the parts with socket down, this will help prevent the socket fingers from fusing together.

SV - jaw plate - npt tapped holes.STL

Works to attach loc-line arms to Stickvise when a 3d printer isn't available

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 86.80 kB - 04/04/2016 at 00:57

Download

ball and socket v5.zip

5/19/15 - Minor update, added chamfers between slits in the socket. For those who want to print the parts with socket down, this will help prevent the socket from fusing together.

x-zip-compressed - 281.40 kB - 01/04/2016 at 23:26

Download

View all 2 files

  • Better design for printers without Sol. Support

    Alex Rich03/20/2016 at 23:01 0 comments

    Krill3 over on Thingiverse made some nice mods to my gooseneck system, particularly to work better on 3d printers with no soluble support. Check out his page and download his files if you're interested. Here it is on one of Giufini's PCB workstations:

  • A make of my thing

    Alex Rich02/25/2016 at 12:48 0 comments

    A couple people on thingivierse have made arms, thought I would share here. The first is a helping hand workstation with four hands, the second is a gooseneck light for a 3d printer. Cool!

    http://www.thingiverse.com/make:198832

    http://www.thingiverse.com/make:193795



  • LED Lamp Prototype Pics

    Alex Rich09/11/2015 at 01:18 2 comments

    One of the biggest pains in the ass when soldering is not having enough light, it is great to have a nice, bright spot light on your board. This prototype includes an attachment for Stickvise which houses a 9V battery and a simple slide switch to turn the lamp on and off. The LED I used is a really bright module with an aluminum PCB heat sink available on adafruit (http://www.adafruit.com/product/518).

    In the pics below the brightness represents ~250 mA being pushed through the LED. I'm happy with the brightness, but at 250 mA a 9V battery has about 300-400 mAh life which means the battery should last about an hour and a half. Not ideal, maybe I will just power this with a USB power supply on my next rev.

    Yes, that's an extra large G&T. It's thirsty Thursday after all, sorry I'm not sorry!

  • Lamp design finished

    Alex Rich09/03/2015 at 00:33 0 comments

    Check out this rendering of my lamp design! The metal materials came out a little bit blue looking but I was tired of tinkering with it. Overall I think it is pretty cool looking.

    The lamp uses a 1 W LED from Adafruit, product id 518. The power source is a 9V battery which dovetails into a special jaw plate for Stickvise. More info to come once I get a chance to build everything up and test it, I will release the files once I am happy with it.

    A side effect of this experiment is that I realized the ball and socket system works even better with copper wire running through the linkages. It adds a little extra damping/resistance to the bending which gives it a nice feel!

  • Lamp Design

    Alex Rich07/15/2015 at 16:13 0 comments

    Ok finally got back around to designing some accessories for this gooseneck system. First I wanted to make a simple lamp, so I decided to order this little LED module from Adafruit, (product ID 518). My plan is to design a 3d printable housing that attaches to my ball and socket arm. I will power it with a cell phone charger. Will update when I have a prototype finished.

  • Evaluation of loc-line brand "coolant arms"

    Alex Rich05/23/2015 at 02:45 0 comments

    Loc-line arms:

    My gooseneck:

    I recently purchased a set of loc-line brand coolant arms to evaluate and compare with my 3d printable gooseneck system. If you're not familiar with them, these arms are designed to direct flood coolant towards cutting tools on CNC machining equipment. They are extremely vibration proof and do not spring back at all once you have pointed them in a certain direction. Recently these have become insanely popular to use as helping hands or third hands for soldering. Sparkfun sells them and this instructable has hundreds of thousands of views.

    I tested a bit and this is what I found:

    Pros:

    1. They are cheap, two loc-line arms cost less than $20 with shipping

    2. No 3D printer required, only some tools to make a platform to mount the arms on (can be made of metal, wood, plastic, whatever).

    3. They hold! Without a doubt, these arms stay exactly where they are aimed until you intentionally move them.

    4. No spring back - unlike the metal coil goosenecks, the ball and socket joints have no spring back.

    Cons:

    1. Loc-line arms are really, really stiff. This is good if you want your arms to stay put no matter what, but it makes fine adjustments difficult because the force required to move the joints causes the entire arm to "jump" from one position to the other.

    2. Loc-line arms are hard to take apart and put back together. The joints just aren't designed for frequent disassembly, they are designed to have excellent holding power. Assembly is difficult enough that they actually make a special plier-like hand tool for this purpose.

    Comparison to my 3d printed gooseneck:

    • My gooseneck is easier assemble / disassemble, at any time you can twist off the lock nut and take it apart to remove or change the tool on the end of the gooseneck.
    • Loc-line has a stronger hold, but the hold on my gooseneck isn't bad. For instance both can hold a USB cable in place no problem.
    • Loc-line requires some machining skills to mount, a hole must be drilled and an NPT thread needs to be tapped to mount the arms.

    Verdict? If you have a 3D printer, try my system before you buy loc-line arms. You might be surprised at how well they work.

    *Loc-line coolant arms were purchased at McMaster Carr using part number 10095K11

  • V4 tested and working

    Alex Rich05/17/2015 at 19:23 0 comments

    Tested my new spin and think this will work much better. With my printer I am able to turn past first two "locked" positions by hand, the third position I need a wrench to get to. In the third position the ball is very hard to move, I think this position will be useful over time as the ball and socket wear and things get loose, you will be able to tick the tension up a notch to compensate.

    More from my version description:

    "V4(5/17/15): Redesigned nut so that it fits on the socket regardless of the accuracy and layer height of the printer (within reason). See gif below illustrating the principle. Basically on a more accurate printer the ball will fit better int he socket, not expanding it as much. On less accurate printers the socket expands more. Depending on the expansion, the nut can be tightened to up to three "locked" positions. So you won't have a loose fit on a high accuracy printer but will have no problem getting the nut to turn on a low accuracy printer."

  • Animation

    Alex Rich05/16/2015 at 17:01 0 comments

    I made this animation to show the principle behind my one size fits all lock. My previous design had one locked position which worked on my 3d printer, but many others reported the nut would not turn. To fix this I am working on a design that incorporates several "locked" positions. On a really accurate printer the first position may be too loose, but you can easily tick to the next position until getting a tight fit. On a low accuracy printer I am hoping lock position 1 will be loose enough to allow the nut to turn.

  • Picture of functional prototype

    Alex Rich05/16/2015 at 01:59 0 comments

    This thing works great so far, It can turn all the way back on itself with 16 joints, that is what I would recommend printing right now (first test two joints to make sure the fit works on your printer).

    I am working on a new design for the locking nut that will be much more forgiving for different printers from entry level all the way up to a $25k stratasys. Stand by for that, I don't want to release my new design until I have had a chance to fully test it.

  • Tensile test - 5 lb Dewalt Drill

    Alex Rich05/12/2015 at 21:42 0 comments

    Enough said

View all 12 project logs

  • 1

    place nut over ball joint first before snapping socket onto ball.

  • 2

    snap socket onto ball, requires moderate amount of force.

  • 3

    Slide nut onto socket, take care to align the locking features.

View all 5 instructions

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Discussions

Jonathan wrote 05/16/2016 at 16:53 point

Hey, I'm having some trouble with those models.
I've printed them in PLA, 0,2mm each layer. But the final product is too much fragile and always end up breaking. Also the Twist Lock pieces don't fit. The head of the Main Body seems to be larger than the hole to fit it. Check it out:


  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 05/17/2016 at 00:45 point

Jonathan, thanks for trying to print my design - sorry it isn't working.  I tested this using ABS on a printer with a heated chamber and it worked well.  Very hard to predict how it will print on other printers, I want to refer you to some people on thingiverse that have tweaked the design to work better on other printers and had success:

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1420341

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1427217

If you're interested, give these a shot and see if they work any better.  By looking at your picture, the prints are not coming out great - you may need to work on tuning your printer a little bit.   Do some test prints to make sure you are getting repeatable dimensions, like print a ring with 10mm diameter and then measure it to make sure you're producing consistent results.  This part does require some precision, that is contributing to the issue.  Let me know if you get it working, thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Matt Stanton wrote 04/03/2016 at 22:24 point
Any chance these will ever go into production?  I can't get them to
print so that they work, and Shapeways/Sculpteo want around $150 to
print the jaw plate and two 16-link arms for use with the StickVise.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 04/03/2016 at 23:13 point

wow that's expensive I'm sorry about that.  I have a model for a set of jaws that fit an off the shelf gooseneck.  Will message you about it.  I don't have plans to go to production on this project right now, maybe in the future.  Thanks for using Stickvise!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Christoph wrote 09/11/2015 at 07:54 point

How about a fan attachment for cooling things?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 09/11/2015 at 11:38 point
good idea, I thought about a fume extractor sort of vacuum attachment as well. the trick is figuring out how to power all of these things. The powered attachments like the light I built or a possible fan attachment is that by they time you run the wires, conect a power source, etc you really don't feel like taking things apart to swap a different attachment in. Maybe the last joint before the light or fan should have a connector so the attachment can be changed easily.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Christoph wrote 09/11/2015 at 11:46 point

maybe one of those coaxial plugs usually used in wall wart power supplies and the arduino?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 09/11/2015 at 13:17 point
Yeah a little barrel connector would be good because it could spin and you don't have to orient it

  Are you sure? yes | no

Christoph wrote 09/11/2015 at 13:21 point

barrel connector! that was the word I was looking for. So you could create a base with a connector, and a matching counterpart with a gooseneck interface. Similar assemblies could supply air or vacuum

  Are you sure? yes | no

castvee8 wrote 05/17/2015 at 19:17 point

Application number 1002.....Robot antennas....Are you going to make some various tools for yourself with this past the original app?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 05/19/2015 at 20:53 point

Yeah I think so, I have some parts on order to make a little LED lamp.  Will probably just be a 9v battery, switch, resistor.

  Are you sure? yes | no

castvee8 wrote 05/19/2015 at 22:15 point

How about one with a small powerful magnet on the end, and a small handle on the other end for a "picker upper". Or a small mirror on one end for seeing down inside stuff.... Or a small magnifying glass and a base on the other.... Tell me to stop and I will. Just lots of handy stuff to make with those.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 05/19/2015 at 22:58 point

No way, keep going.  I am going to keep a running list of all the ideas in my details section.  Thanks for the input!

  Are you sure? yes | no

castvee8 wrote 05/20/2015 at 01:38 point

Can you make a "tee" and a "y" adapter to make it branch from 1 into 2?. A short section below the tee then regular length above. Also-can you make a different clip as well?-like a chip clip(for closing chip bags to keep them fresh only smaller(perhaps a half or an inch wide)). The reason I ask is ,I glue lots of tiny parts together cut from flat stock-Alligator clips are really aggressive and the part "wobbles" in them instead of clamping down.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 05/20/2015 at 02:02 point

Good ideas, I know what you mean with the wobbling.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Mike Rigsby wrote 05/13/2015 at 17:34 point

I printed this with a MakerBot Replicator 2 using PLA. It works fine when printed at medium resolution (no supports for the twist). I would show photos, but I don't see an easy way to add them.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 05/13/2015 at 17:38 point

Oh cool, that is excellent news!  Thanks for testing it.  Did you have to use a wrench to snap the locks on or was it easy enough to do by hand?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Mike Rigsby wrote 05/13/2015 at 17:44 point

I used a wrench, but it might work if the ball was printed without supports--I'll give that a try.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Mike Rigsby wrote 05/13/2015 at 18:46 point

It prints fine at medium resolution without supports, but still needs a wrench to snap on. Maybe printing the twist at 102% might let it work by hand, but that may vary by printer and material type.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 05/13/2015 at 19:30 point

Yeah I bet that would do it, just scale the nut a bit.  I had to tinker with the CAD to get it to print right on my printer, but I'm guessing every printer will be a somewhat special case.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Craig Hissett wrote 05/13/2015 at 12:47 point

This looks tremendous buddy - combined with the stickvise it will be a fantastic product that be a valuable tool for tinkerers!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 05/13/2015 at 13:19 point

thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

castvee8 wrote 05/13/2015 at 01:40 point

Really nice stuff! But alas, I have no printer. I would like to know if it would be possible to drill each piece out before assembling to run a few fine wires through it? Probably a crazy idea......but I had a thought.....

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 05/13/2015 at 01:43 point

thanks for the feedback, actually it used to have a hole, I must have deleted it somewhere along the line.  I will add it back and update the STL files.

  Are you sure? yes | no

castvee8 wrote 05/13/2015 at 02:00 point

So when you print these, I assume you print all the parts for a string at once?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 05/13/2015 at 02:02 point

I do print them all at once, but not in as assembled state, the pieces are just printed side by side and I assemble after printing.

  Are you sure? yes | no

castvee8 wrote 05/13/2015 at 02:06 point

Wow......1001 uses.....I have thought up several already. Very nice!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 05/13/2015 at 02:09 point

Thanks!  I can't take credit for the idea of a ball and socket or a gooseneck, the only novelty I am adding is the lock so it doesn't pop apart easily

  Are you sure? yes | no

castvee8 wrote 05/13/2015 at 02:11 point

But that makes em more awesome!(and useful)

  Are you sure? yes | no

mspeller wrote 05/11/2015 at 19:45 point

Oh man... Please continue this, what a killer idea!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 05/11/2015 at 19:57 point

Thanks @mspeller and @Sean Hodgins I will update when I have a full chain finished.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 05/11/2015 at 18:50 point

Thanks Sean!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Sean Hodgins wrote 05/11/2015 at 18:37 point

Awesome! Seriously great work.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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