SOLIDWORKS Time-Lapse Tutorial: Grabber

The key to designing and 3D printing complex designs is problem solving. Coming up with an awesome idea, figuring out how in the world you going to make it and the hooray moment when the print finishes. This awesome grabber we have created shows how that can be achieved.


We wanted to have a device which can grab our snacks for us without getting greasy fingers. The solution was a grabber that can extend out. Printing all the individual parts and assembling wasn’t an option as we wanted it to come off the print bed working.

So we set off on our adventure in SOLIDWORKS. We extruded a basic X and cut away at it so that the two bodies were no longer intersecting. If you go back to one of our earlier blog on the ogre battle axe, we explain what happens when you try to print parts that intersect.

Once we saw they weren’t intersecting. We used the move command to open the scissor mechanism. This allows us to cut away the areas that would interest in the open position.

We put it back in the closed position and added the pins to allow them to move around. We used a 0.5 mm tolerance to make sure the parts would move. Once we added the pins, we patterned the bodies across till we were satisfied with how long we wanted it and added the finger holes.

We wanted to see how much the grabber opens so we made a quick assembly with the parts and mated them. This allowed us to test the mechanism. We created the grabber tips and did the same as what we did with finger holes to test the mechanism in an assembly and how it all works.

We sent it off to printer! Our first two models failed, the first one failed as one of the faces didn’t have a big enough gap between two faces. This meant it snapped when I tried to open the parts. The second ones fused on the face touching the bed so we added a little chamfer to fix the problem.

Once we got the third one printed it worked right away like we planned. It took thinking and pre planning to make sure we could achieve our goal. A lot of SOLIDWORKS features help with the problem solving phase. The ability to test the mechanism within SOLIDWORKS allows us to ensure they will all work before manufacture. It can be a time and money saver.

Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. offers complete 3D software tools that let you create, simulate, publish, and manage your data. SolidWorks products are easy to learn and use, and work together to help you design products better, faster, and more cost-effectively. The SolidWorks focus on ease-of-use allows more engineers, designers and other technology professionals than ever before to take advantage of 3D in bringing their designs to life.