How to Install Threaded Inserts
in Your 3D Prints

Threaded brass inserts can be a great way to add longevity to 3D printed enclosures that need to accept screws.

In this “how to” we will show you some of the best practices associated with installing threaded brass inserts into your 3D printed enclosures.

Working time will vary depending on your model and how many inserts you plan to install. The process shown took us about 10 minutes from start to finish.

Step 1: Obtain Your Model

If you are designing your model to meet a specific need, remember to design the holes in your model slightly smaller than the inserts you plan to install. This will account for any plastic that melts when installing inserts. If you are adding inserts to a downloaded model, purchase your inserts with the hole diameter in mind.

For our model, we chose this “Light Switch Box” designed by Thingiverse user qbasan.

Optain Model


Manufacturers of threaded brass inserts specify the hole size needed for the insert.

Step 2: Prepare & Print

When installing inserts, changing a few print settings in MakerBot Print can be a big help.

Increase the number of shells in your print. This will leave more plastic around inserts.

Once you have selected your settings you can print your object. We chose to print our model on the MakerBot Replicator+.

Prepare Model

Step 3: Roughing

Supplies Used: Needlenose pliers

Once your model has been printed and removed from the build plate, remove any rafts or support material.

Remove Rafts or Support Material

Step 4: Heat Soldering Iron

Supplies Used: Soldering Iron

Allow your soldering iron to heat for 3-5 minutes before installing inserts. This will ensure that you have to use the least amount of force to install inserts.


Push lightly, your soldering iron should do most of the work for you

Step 7: Allow to cool

As brass transfers temperature relatively quickly, your inserts should be cool within a minute or so.

Step 8: Completely Install Inserts

Once you’ve allowed your model to cool for a minute or so, install the inserts until they are flush with the top of your model.

When completing the installation of inserts be sure to avoid:

  • Installing to quickly
  • Pushing down on your inserts with too much force

Install Inserts


Never attempt to hold inserts in place with your hand when installing. Always use pliers.


Caution: Be sure not to over tighten. This can force the insert free from the surrounding plastic.

If you over tighten your screws, you may need to melt out your inserts and reinstall.

Final Part

Here is our final part. After installing inserts, screws, and washers, we added the final switches to this electrical enclosure.

Final Part

What’s Next

Visit one of our other applications pages for tips on how to take your print even further.

We recommend that you visit our pages on:

Vacuum Forming
Silicone Molding

Last but not least, remember to share your work with us on Thingiverse and social media @MakerBot.

We can’t wait to see what you make!


Light Switch Box

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