3D Printed Father’s Day Gift

by Jessica Skorut

With Father’s Day around the corner, the team at GoEngineer knows how stressful it can be getting your father a present that he can really utilize and appreciate. Two of our technical specialists, Andrew Berwald and Matt Shelton, designed and printed a quick Father’s Day present that anybody with a hobbyist printer can make – a neck-tie holder!

Designing the Part with Andrew Berwald

The goal of this design was to create a tie rack that would hang easily in a closet.  The form factor we ended up choosing was an upright orientation with posts sticking out of each side.  This design allowed for simpler 3D printing applications, and also provided room for a Father’s Day message.  In order to make this project printable on a wide range of machines, we chose to keep the max dimension of the design below 12 in.


Once the general framework of the design had been created, it was time to take this idea to SOLIDWORKS.

Because the concept was going to have a single thickness throughout, it would have been possible to create the part entirely in one sketch.  However, we were still in the “sandbox” stage of the design, and placing all of our design into one sketch would make design changes very slow and difficult.  For that reason, I split the design into multiple features with each representing a specific portion of my design intent.  This allowed me to address a few questions independently:   How big of a closet rod should it fit?  How can we make it easy to take in and out of a closet?  How many ties should the rack hold?  How far should the posts be spaced from each other?

In the end, it was decided to have 6 posts to hold ties, with a 2” opening/3” diameter on the hanger.  I also added finishing fillets to strengthen the posts, as well as a chamfer around the perimeter of the part to provide a finished form factor.  As it is a Father’s Day gift, we added “#1 DAD” to the front of the part.


At this point, the design is practically finished, but I was left with a dilemma.  If this is intended to hang on a closet rod, it’s going to have to be balanced evenly.  In its current state, the center of mass was 2.01 mm away from the center line of the part.  To remedy this, I added a counterweight to the end of the hanger feature.  This would help balance out the lack of material on the left side of the hanger, as well as any asymmetry caused by the text.  To pick the appropriate size, I ran a Design Study using SOLIDWORKS Simulation.

Design Study InputsDesign Study Inputs

Design Study ResultsDesign Study Results

By entering the desired design criteria (range of sizes for the counterweight, center of mass within .25mm of the centerline, minimizing mass overall), I was able to use the Design Study to choose the appropriate size for the counterweight.  The part was now balanced evenly and ready to print.


Printing the Part with Matt Shelton

Once Andrew exported his design to an STL file, my first task was to decide which technology I wanted to print the part in. I had to choose between FDM (fused deposition modeling) and the PolyJet technology, both are Stratasys technologies. After thinking about how the neck tie holder would be used, I decided to go with FDM for the strong and flexible ABS thermoplastic that will surely last him until at least next Father’s Day.

After deciding to print the neck tie in FDM, I had to decide which FDM printer to print in. Because of the size of the part, I went with the Fortus 250 so I didn’t have to print that hanger in two pieces and bond them together. The Fortus 250 has a 10x10x12 build envelope which easily fit the neck tie hanger.

Once I inserted the STL file into the Insight software for processing, I had to finally decide what resolution I wanted to print at. The Fortus 250 can print in .007”, .010” and .013”. Although .007” would obviously look the best, I wanted to print this relatively quickly since I am in a crunch for time on getting Dad a gift! I went with .010” because I still wanted the text on top to look good.

Orientation plays a huge part when printing functional parts like hooks and hangers. Since I wanted the hook to be as strong as possible since it would be holding the weight of up to six ties, I printed it laying down flat since FDM is strongest in the X and Y axis.


After selecting the .010” resolution, I sliced the file and produced the model and support tool paths. I decided to insert a pause right before the text started printing so I could change the color of the text printed to give the “#1 DAD” a nice contrast from the hanger!

After inserting the pause, my next step was to send the job to the printer to be printed. Once the printer got to the layer that I inserted a pause, I switched out the material and continued the print. After the print was completed, I simply removed the bottom layer of support, and it was ready for use! Rest assured, I printed one for Andrew’s dad too!


Authored by: Andrew Berwald and Matt Shelton

To learn more about the authors please visit our Meet The Team page.

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