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DNA Helix Pencil Holder

by Jimbotron Oct 2, 2016
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Awesome design. Does anyone what scale I would need to make this to hold whiteboard Expo markers (20mm)? Thanks in advance!

For this design you'd need to scale it beyond 200% to turn the 8mm holes to 20mm. I recommend scaling this Sharpie (13.4mm) version instead: If you scale this sharpie item to about 157% you should get about 21mm holes.



I rarely comment on things but I just wanted to say that this is the best designed model I've ever printed. So many models on here aren't designed with the mentality of how hard/time consuming they will be to print. Hats off to you!

Thanks - I really appreciate the compliment! I did put a little more thought into this one - and I had a lot of helpful suggestions from the community.

Can I use it with Sharpie?

If you scale it from pencil ~8mm, I'm sure it would work for Sharpies (13.2mm).
But to make things easier (since I got a few requests) I also have a Sharpie version: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1924310


Could get the top to print properly. Need to try printing again.

Make sure you are printing the "DNA_Helix_Pencil_Holder_Full_06.stl" STL file. With that file, the top and bottoms are both in contact with the build plate and you click them together after printing.

The tall print file (with the DNA helix fully intact) is meant for advanced/brave/curious printers and is a very challenging print. My printers cannot handle the tall one, but I posted it as optional based on a request from the community.

Thank you. I printed the other one last night.

Found someone selling this on etsy without attribution. Wanted to make sure it wasn't you before I reported it: https://www.etsy.com/listing/554506871/3d-printed-dna-helix-pencil-holder

Thanks for pointing this out. It'd be nice to at least get credit for the design. Oh well.

This thing is really cool! Gonna print a couple for my daughter to give to her teachers.

I uploaded this file into tinkercad to edit the helix. You see, i was trying to make the helix twice as big, so it had 32 pencil holes instead of 16. When I uploaded it, the helix had holes in the design that aren't supposed to be there. Did anyone else have these problems? If so, how did you fix it? Is there any other program that I could use?

I'll take a look at it tonight when i get home (if I get some hobby time this evening). In the meantime, I have posted 8 hole extensions that allow you to add more holes. If you print two sets of 8 hole extensions then you will hit your 32 hole goal. Also, it is best to print the extensions with a large break-off brim.

The design gets a bit tall and tipsy at 24 and 32 but it works. I hope that this helps. I'll look at those holes in tinkercad later. I built this in Sketchup Pro and I don't have any holes.

This design is being sold by protoshopdesigns without credit or permission:

Funny that their "Contact Us" link leads to a broken/blank page. :(

Have you tried contacting Squarespace? Their terms of service indicate that they should be able to take it down or at least provide you with contact information.

"3.1. Only Use Content You’re Allowed To Use. You represent that you own all rights to your User Content or otherwise have (and will continue to have) all rights and permissions to legally use, share, display, transfer and license your User Content via the Services. If we use your User Content in the ways contemplated in this Agreement, you represent that such use will not infringe or violate the rights of any third party, including without limitation any copyrights, trademarks, privacy rights, publicity rights, contract rights or any other intellectual property or proprietary rights. Content on the Services may be protected by others' intellectual property or other rights, so please don't copy, upload, download or share content unless you have the right to do so."

You can try reaching out to them through their contact page:

What is the diameter of the pencil holes?

Would it work with something slightly larger like these felt-tipped pens? http://www.staples.com/Paper-Mate-Flair-Felt-Tip-Pens-Medium-Point-Assorted-16-Pack/product_643378

Check out: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1924200
I made and posted a 12.2mm version which should accomodate your pens. Thanks for the nudge, I've been planning to make a sharpy pen holder (110% scaleup for 13.4mm).

DNA Helix PEN Holder - bigger version of pencil version

No, the current version is designed to support pencils (7mm to 8mm typically). I used 8.2mm in CAD for the pencil holder.

I don't have the Paper-Mate Flair pens to measure, but I'm guessing that they are typically 10mm to 12mm in diameter. I'll make a Pen version using 12.2mm or 12.4mm holes and post as a remix. Check again in a few days.

Another option you can try is to scale this up to 150% and try printing it that way. With the 150% scale, the holes should be ~12.3mm. If you try this at 150%, let me know how it works out.

Very nice.

Would it be an idea to have "locator" pegs in the split build and have two files? ie Peg and hole to align and join the two pieces?

hmmm, that could be done yes. So you are suggesting a peg and hole based pressure fit? The only downside is that pegs tend to snap off easily - but then we can always revert back to glue in that case.

I'll noodle on this a bit and post a new version with some type of easy snap together design. I might have to sacrifice a pencil slot to do this (hopefully not). Bonus Side project: I could also design a "middle" part that can be printed and inserted to add an extra 8 pencils worth of height per middle section.

Do you want each part as a separate file as well?

Having printed one now, it is a unique way of printing :), with a locator you could use capillary action to glue the parts together.

It is a shame but I have my doubt that this will survive in the classroom for long before breaking along the join. I will let you know how it copes.


I posted a new version with your suggestions in place. The little tongue and groove (locator) really does help a lot with placement for glueing and you are absolutely right that the extra surface area will help increase capillary action for a stronger bond. I also posted the top and bottom parts separate along with a bonus "extension" part for dual extrusion prints and customization.

I have not had any problems with these breaking along the glue joint. I do worry about the joint between the legs and the base parts though. Let me know how it holds up in class. Also I'd love to see a picture :). Thanks again. - Jim

I meant as a guide and then glueing, not instead of. It would hold it together more torsionally.

Yes separate files.

Dont sacrifice a pencil slot, just some locating lug was what I was thinking of.

This would look so cool as a dual head print. Red for the outer part of the helix, black for the inner.

very unique way to print

because DNA is just not twisted enough :)

I did the unique "two in one" print for two reasons. One: my printer (and most printers) can't reach that 200+mm height needed. Two: It allowed me to create a support free design. Otherwise, I would have to worry about bridging at the top.

Do you think people would prefer them as separate STL files? Or a tall version for the Delta printer users?

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i would put put both options up cause some people can print that high

ok, done. I posted the tall version. Thanks!

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