I was wondering if anyone could give me tips for designing a 3d printable structure that can "pinch" down onto a hockey puck shaped piece and hold it tightly.

I'd like for the structure to normally want to "pinch" two edges together, but I can pry/force them open when I shove the hockey puck into it. Once I let go, the two ends are now holding the puck fairly tightly.

My first thought was something like a potato chip bag clip, but that would require a couple pieces and a spring.

Is there a way to do something like this with one solid piece?

  • $\begingroup$ What kind of printer are you looking to use? What materials are available to you for printing? $\endgroup$
    – emackey
    Sep 4, 2016 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ on the other aspect, what orientation is required/desired to approach the puck shaped object? Will the puck be flat on a surface and the grippers approach from above? Will the grippers be in the same plane of the flat-surface puck? If I understand your criteria properly, you'd prefer to have the grippers pre-loaded and use "force of impact/insertion" to spread the grippers, then apply external force to release? I very much enjoy design problems and look forward to your reply. $\endgroup$
    – fred_dot_u
    Sep 4, 2016 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ I have a makerbot with PLA filament. The grippers will need to grip onto the flat part of the puck. The grippers will be suspended in the air, so it needs to grip down on both flat parts (top and bottom). Ideally I would just push the puck into the part by pushing it in one horizontal direction, but I am not opposed to other options (prying the grips open with my hand and then placing the puck in and releasing with hand). $\endgroup$ Sep 4, 2016 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ If you want a single piece, you'll need to use material with a decent spring constant and minimal flex-related fatigue. Easier said than found. $\endgroup$ Sep 7, 2016 at 17:53

2 Answers 2


Here are first 3 the most simplified and generalized options you have:

enter image description here

All you need now is to give use more details about your needs. If you reveal more details we could help you to apply (and modify) one of these options.

Each of above has its own pros and cons of course. You said you don't want to have spring... so maybe a rubber ;) But in fact whole-red is one-piece-clip in which the force comes from material elesticity or stiffness.

Please tell me what is the application of such clip.


If you are looking for a solid piece, the red one darth pixel showed is the best. An important consideration for something like this is making sure that it is able to flex outwards around the puck without fracturing. In order to keep the stress low in the arms, you can reduce the stiffness by either:

  • Increasing the length of the arm
  • Decreasing the thickness of the arm in the direction it deflects

This might be helpful in designing it to be printed. If your part breaks when inserting the puck, make the arms longer or thinner. If you aren't getting enough force, the in-plane thickness (coming out of your computer screen) can be thickened to your heart's content without changing the stress.


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