Monthly Archives: July 2016

3D printed shift knob

The First Layer: 3D Printed Shift Knob Wood Finishing Technique


In part 2 of 2 from the 3D printed shift knob project, I’ll go over the basics of how to achieve this kind of beautiful wood-like finish effect and a simple way to get inlaid lettering. I have tried this process with a few brands of wood type filaments, and so far I have found Hatchbox’s variation to be quite reliable and to accept the stain very evenly. I’ve found that with most fill-type materials, changing the nozzle out from the standard 0.4mm up to a 0.5 or 0.6mm diameter helps reliability considerably. You can see below how rough the part is coming straight off the printer, but this was done intentionally to serve part of the finishing process.

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3D Printed Shift Knob for Mini Cooper

The First Layer: 3D Printed Shift Knob with Encapsulated Hardware

Hello readers and MAKEiT owners,  and welcome to to the first installment of The First Layer, MAKEiT’s blog section devoted to advanced printing and design-for-print techniques. From the desk of our design director Russell Singer, The First Layer will be your new source for tips and techniques to take your 3D printing ability further.

In today’s post I’m revisiting a project I completed a few weeks back: creating a realistic wood finish for the manual transmission shift knob of my Mini Cooper. Because the shift knob is a regular point of tactile interaction it was important to achieve not only a high quality finish that would appear as wood, but also a comfortable form with enjoyable tactile feedback and functional usability. In this first post I’ll focus on the CAD considerations and the printing process, follow along on the second post for the full finishing technique to achieve the beautiful effect shown below.

3D Printed Shift Knob for Mini Cooper

Aside from preferences on shift knob weight and profile, the only real functional consideration is getting a snug secure fit on the shifter shaft. After one attempt with a simpler friction-fit design, I found the hot daytime temperatures in Southern California would cause enough size distortion to loosen the knob even though it might be very stuck in place in cooler temperatures. I revised the design to work with set screws and some hex nuts that are enclosed into the print, as shown below:


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Announcing the Makeit PRO-L

Introducing the MAKEiT PRO-L

For over two years Makeit has been building machines and testing them in the hardest environments we can find, proving that durable industrial build quality and reliable ease-of-use can exist together in the desktop printing market. Now, after many, many upgrades and revisions we are ultimately proud to announce the all-new PRO-L.

The PRO-L represents our most complete vision yet of what a true industrial desktop 3D printer is. Continuing with the same great features offered in the original PRO like dual-extrusion, removable build plates, and on-the-fly tuning, the PRO-L introduces multitudes of functional and material enhancements. On top of faster printing, higher precision, enhanced durability, and a generous 10″ x 12″ x 13″ build volume, the PRO-L displays a beautiful aluminum finish and updated graphic scheme, making it equally at home in a design studio or a manufacturing plant.

PRO-L test units are out across the country in the hands of trusted associates and product testers, and the first production units will be rolling out the door to their customers in less than two weeks. Stay tuned here for more information and full spec list for the PRO-L, or contact us here for preorder information.

Click here for full specifications and photo gallery for the PRO-L 3D printer