Assembling a stained glass panel using a 5mm high x 3mm wide cabinet lead was proving difficult due to its small size. Using "DesignSpark Mechanical" 3D software the STL file was created and the parts printed on a 3D printer.
For those that haven't assembled stained glass the lead is an H shape in cross section and the glass locates in each side. This has to be formed around the glass shapes and the panel assembled prior to soldering. Clamping the pieces in position without damaging the soft lead surfaces is essential as the panel is built up and the next pieces of lead are fitted and cut to size.
Notes: The protrusion on the left is 3mm thick and 1mm off the base to fit in the lead section and the hole allows for a nail to temporarily fix the location without damaging the lead.
This is my first 3D creation in CAD and this free software was found to be very easy to use and worth investigating for mechanical parts.
Zipped STL file attached.
The photo shows some of the parts being used in a current project.
The conclusion is that these are a very worth while accessory and improve the ease of assembly over the conventional method of using lead came offcuts.
The hole may benefit from being tapered as this would add additional downward force as well as the horizontal clamping achieved. The nail profile does supply some downward force as well in the current design.
There are actually two different requirements when assembling glass:
1. Clamping the cut and formed lead into position.
2. Clamping the cut glass into position prior to cutting the lead.
The photo illustrates step 2 and perhaps a slotted block, without the lead would be good for this, however PLA is quite hard and using lead as shown provides a soft buffer between the nail/block/lead/glass assembly, so for this a softer printed material will be investigated.
Once the design is finalized an array of parts that can be CNC machine will be investigated as a quicker method of production, but the 3D printer provides a fast route from CAD to finished item for quick evaluation.