Screw protections for the screw and me :D

I recently mounted a new satellite dish and ran into the same problem I had 20 years ago and still have at least twice a year since then. I scratched myself on the mounting screws while climbing from the balcony to the roof to maintain the solar water heating panel.

BUT since I now have a 3D printer and recently purchased and printed TPU, a mission was there to be accomplished.

I printed protective covers to protect me against rust and the screws against scratching. Well, or vise versa.

The design was - as always - done using FreeCAD and the source file is included and can be found here.

This and 39 other designs can be found on my design page on thingiverse.

Can I ask why you don’t just cut the bolts way back?

Well, I could have done that but I didn´t for several reasons:

1: I lack of the proper tools to to that. Also keep in mind that cutting also requires to properly finish the end of the thread to still be able to get a nut on and off.
2: I need a certain amount of the screw in case I want to change the pole to a bigger size or just readjust the antenna.
3: It still would rust.
4: I would loose the warranty :smiley:
5: Where is the fun with that? :smiley:
6: A machine did the work for me.

re: 1: actually, if you trim the bolt back while it has a nut, or preferrably 2 nuts, still on it, the nut can be backed off the bolt and it will fix any thread distortion. That will not round off or chamfer the end of course, but it’s a start. A hacksaw, angle grinder, or even a Dremel can cut the bolts. The angle grinder or Dremal could also be used to chamfer the end.

I’m not suggesting you should do this, only that it can be done.

re: 3: I don’t think the covers are going to stop rust. They may slow it down. One thing that could really help with rust is to coat the bolts with some grease before putting the covers on. If possible, try to keep any grease from getting onto the inside of the hex part of the covers. Then, coat the sides of the nuts with some clear nail polish and push the cover over the nut. The nail polish will stick to the nuts and, hopefully, also to the covers, sealing out moisture. Another option would be to use band clamps or similar to compress the covers onto the nuts.

re: 4: seriously? Cutting back bolts would void your warranty? That’s a harsh warranty condition.

re: 5: well, there’s no counter-argument for that ?

re: 6. Certainly a bonus.

FYI, the classic way to stop rust on exterior bolts is to wrap them with non-vulcanized rubber tape. You wrap the tape around and around the bolt(s), completely covering it/them. Over time, exposure to the elements will naturally vulcanize the rubber. Then, if there’s a need remove the bolt(s), a knife is used to slit the rubber and free it from the bolt(s). Because it confirms closely to the threads, it completely seals out everything that could damage the bolt(s).

While some members have suggested you just trim the bolts I love that you are finding practical uses for your 3d printer. The beauty of the low to moderately priced manufacturing tools we can now buy for home use is that they open up possibilities. Today you designed a cover for some bolts, tomorrow maybe you will design the next “big thing”. Keep designing and sharing so we can learn together. Irv