3D Printing Shelf Pegs [Updated]


Update: The internet is a wonderful place.  Shortly after posting this, I received contact from one of the commenters below.  Through a short discussion, it looks like one of the readers went on to buy 100 sets (400 pegs) from the Shapeways link.  I have them listed at Shapeways manufacturing cost only, but I feel I profited in helping the world in such a little way.

When buying a house, you always find that there are some parts of the house that the previous owner had something installed, and the bag of spare parts and the supplier they used are lost to antiquity.  This some times only gives you the option of replace, hack, or just live with it.  This happened in the house we bought last year.

The shelves in the kitchen don’t have your standard Ikea style shelf pegs that hold the shelves up.  Neither do they have the standard shelf pegs you can buy at home depot.  These are custom jobs created by some unknown manufacturer.  Not only are the non-standard pegs, but the holes they fit into are not only custom, they are a funky insert, twist and lock style.

After a discussion with a colleague at work I thought I’d 3D printing.  After going through a bit of a process, I ended up ordering a set from shapeways.com.  Here is the comparison of the original with the new.

New and old pegs

To get to this was a bit of adventure, first I tried 123D Catch from autodesk.  That ended up with a somewhat ugly warped model.  From there I determined that since it was primarily a collection of geometric shapes, I moved onto 123D Design (note that it is web based, as well as desktop (OSX/Windows).  The software (both online and OSX) itself is somewhat buggy, quirky and different on each platform, but after a few restarts I ended up with this shapeways part.  I’ve included a rendering below.

Image

The price (including $1.80 handling) is $2.40.  When comparing to a Home Depot single part unusual peg for $2.20, this opened my eyes are fair bit.  Now with $6.50 shipping and $1.80 per part handling it was clear that I wasn’t going to save any money doing four individually.

Taking a leaf out of the plastic model aircraft, I connected them together with 1 mm rectangular prism and shown below.  Four connected this way came out to $5.17, giving an all up price including shipping of around $12.  This ends up being within striking distance of small over-priced anything made of plastic that you get at the store.    I’ve tested the fit, and they seem to work well.  The strength passed my “I’ll try to break it with my hands” test, so it will probably hold the shelf up really well.  After discussions in the comments below, I have now made sure that publicly the 4-way model is downloadable as a STL and purchasable on Shapeways

Image

The effort, price and product honestly shocked me.  You can print in various plastics, metal and even full color sandstone.

So now armed with this new hammer, I can suddenly see all these other nails needing fixing.  My next 3D printing project is probably a contraption for powered opening and closing of some hard to reach blinds with a 9V motor, a battery, some wires and a switch.   What would Magyver think of this?

11 Responses to 3D Printing Shelf Pegs [Updated]

  1. Keith says:

    Hello, I have been looking for these for years, is there anyway I can get the 3D file you used for this, or have the order# that you used with them to get them sent to me also?
    Thanks

  2. You can drill down on the first shapeways link (for the single). Within my shapeways items, you can look at the 4-part item. This one can be downloaded as an STL.

    • Keith says:

      Thanks for the info Matthew. I can not find the link to the 4 part item. I also am having problems finding a company that can read that file. Can you direct me to the Co. that fabricated them for you and can you also give me the link to download the 4 part file.

      • STL formal is a standard format used for 3d printing. Unfortunately, I don’t have any experience with import and modification. You might want to look at thingiverse to see what tools they recommend.

        I have included the link http://www.shapeways.com/model/1178697/nib-connected.html in the post now. I also confirmed that outside of my account you can purchase them. If you are doing more than 4, you might be able to make a 8 or 16 version. If you are going to be applying weight, you should be able to get alumide for a small increment in cost.

  3. Kim says:

    Hi Matthew,

    These pegs are exactly what I am looking for (and can’t find anywhere else!). I have looked all over the Shapeways website, and I can’t find your shelf pegs anywhere. What are they actually called on the Shapeways site so I can appropriately search for them? (And if they’re no longer available on the Shapeways site, please let me know where I might be able to find them. Thanks!

    • Hello Kim,

      I had two 4-sets uploaded to shapeways. Unfortunately, the one referenced was not connected and failed the shapeways pre-print checks. I’ve updated the link above – http://www.shapeways.com/model/1179449/nib-joined-connected.html – that should work.

      Matthew

  4. Tom says:

    Quick question, did you ever figure out where this shelving system came from? I’ve got this same shelving system and no one has been able to tell me where it came from thus far. Not even google, which surprised me. Your article, which I got to finally with the google search of ‘twist shelf peg’, seems to be the only thing on the internet that has heard of these pegs. My local hardware stores have been equally useless in finding the part as well.

    Either way, hopefully this will work for me.

    • Still no idea. Fortunately the previous owner was obsessive about keeping any documents about products and renovations. Next time I find the box with all the paperwork, I’ll see if I can at least get a brand name – and possibly an accurate name for the style of shelving and the product family. Be sure to drop back here if there if they do work for you. So far, I’ve seen about 412 pegs (103 units) made by Shapeways.

      Amazing..

  5. fredraimondi says:

    You, my friend ROCK! I’ve been looking for these for YEARS! NO ONE HAS THEM!
    I just thought of doing all the measurements and printing them up myself! You just saved me a ton of work. You need to put a donate button on this blog…..

    Thank you So much. YOU ROCK!

    • I’m personally very surprised by the number that keep getting sold. About 1 or 2 sets per week seem to be going through.

      I’m now looking for my next out-of-production item that is waiting to hit the 21st century.

      • fredraimondi says:

        That’s funny as hell….I’m not surprised though.

        I have to think that there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of these units out there. We bought our house in 1995 and the cabinets were new when we moved in, so the system was in use until at least then.

        Thanks again…..

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