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One-Piece One-Handed Guitar Capo

by LoboCNC Feb 25, 2015
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I have printed 10 of these for myself, kids and friends. Thank you for a wonderful and functional design which works with acoustic and electric guitars! I always show people your capo when they ask about what 3D printers can actually do? Unbelievable, thanks again!

Printed it with your exact settings and it works perfectly on my acoustic! Thank you for making this :D

Works like a charm on my classical guitar. Printed it on a prusa mk3 with the default 0.2 profile, 20% infill

How have I not thought of this!? Though I've heard that it's to weak. I'll play with it and adapt it if needed. Stay Tuned. Nice Design

Sorry bro, not working :S

I made it, Useless, cause it is not strong enough.

Try infill 100% and layer heihgt 0.05mm

Nice design but that stringy mechanism is too weak.

I printed one with the exact settings but it's too weak and strings rattle, especially when capo is on the 1st fret

Works great on ukulele, I like the natural spring in it too.

Awesome! Your model has been selected as one of the Top 3D Printed Christmas / Holiday Models this year. Search "Top Free 3D Printed Christmas Gift 2015 Printing Ninja" to see. (sorry thingiverse bans url addresses)


how did you do this design? Is there a option in Solidworks to test the object in motion (i am only using DesignSpark Mech.)?
Or was designing this a try and error -thing?

Thanks a lot - I am trying to use a similar clamp for some ohter purpose but muchmore smaller....

Solidworks has tools for stress testing static structures and it also has tools for doing motion studies of interconnected rigid parts, but I don't know that it has tools for testing flexing structures. I designed this with a lot of trial and error.

I printed at .2mm layer thickness, with 5 shells and 35% infill. It seems that all of the flex is occurring at one point in the spring, and the spring action isn't very strong. I suspect that the layers aren't fusing well, as suggested in one of the responses before. Will re-print with higher temperature and increased extrusion multiplier to see if it the performance improves.

This makes an excellent chip bag clip too!

Hi have you tried making it thinner. It often gets in the way when playing chords at the frets closest to the capo. It also feels like it gives a bit too much pressure which lead to the conclusion you could scale the z axis to 0.7 or 70% and maybe use more infill, maybe 60%. No more capos in the way. I also broke it with your settings while pressing as much as possible on the spring lever. The best i think would be to print it solid.

Different guitars (depending on neck thickness, string gauge and action) will need different amounts of spring force in the capo, so there's no way to come up with a perfect set of dimensions. If your guitar needs less force, I think some slicers will let you set a Z scale of 70% and leave X & Y at 100%. Also, if you keep squeezing this capo after the 2 grip pieces start touching (near the spring), it will break!

Hi have you tried making it thinner. It often gets in the way when playing chords at the frets closest to the capo. It also feels like it gives a bit too much pressure which lead to the conclusion you could scale the z axis to 0.7 or 70% and maybe use more infill, maybe 60%. No more capos in the way. I also broke it with your settings while pressing as much as possible on the spring lever. The best i think would be to print it solid.

will this fit a 7 string?

The maximum span it will reach across is 2.09". It might work up to the 3rd fret on a 7-string, depending on your string spacing, but the 5th fret might be too wide.

Thanks, and after printing it, it ended up working on the 7th fret but with a bit of fret buzz, it worked until 5th fret without any buzz whatsoever though.

dude a single piece capo

I printed one with the instruction settings and it works very well. I am super impressed with the design. Nice job!

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Such an elegant design, both in the engineering sense and in the aesthetic sense. The look reminds of the scrolls on the violin and the G clef, and functionally it works beatutifully. I've been looking for a printable capo before, but this is the first I printed. Such a great match for the medium.

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Hey Lobo, Great design, I see in the comments that you said you posted the solid works file but i cant see it. Is there any chance you could re-post it? I have some ninja flex filament which prints at close to ABS temps so thought id try to print it in ABS with the rubber pad incorporated into the design, not sure it'll work but id like to try. Thanks & Congrats on being featured.

Printing in ABS wont work because ABS simply isnt as stiff as PLA. A normal spring is hardened by heating it up to glowing temps and putting it in water

That's weird - the Solidworks file seems to have disappeared. I just posted it again.

I printed one with ABS at 50% infill and it broke. I reprinted with an 80% infill and it's holding up. Again, a great design for a one piece capo

And you get enough clamping force with ABS - that's good to know. I was thinking that you wouldn't have trouble with ABS breaking, but that it might not be stiff enough to keep the strings from buzzing.

Lobo, thanks for the update. I was just about to post it works great except it needs a bit more tension on the outside string. I'll try this fix you posted and let you know.

If you are having trouble with the capo spring breaking or if it is too weak, you may not be getting complete fusing of the perimeter lines. Try printing at a hotter temperature and printing more slowly, and if you see any sort of gap between the lines as they go down, try increasing your extrusion multiplier parameter by 1 or 2 percent.

Very wonderful design!
It's look like "eye of ra"

I printed in 0.4 nozzel,PLA, 30% fill.(0.2mm layer.)
It's failed. Grip power is low.
I will print 100% fill in PLA.

made one with 20% infill and the spring bit snapped, might need to do 100% infill

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great design, i'm gonna try to perfect an ABS print of this one.

What nozzle size did you make it, the width of 5 perimeters can be quite different

I'm using a 0.4mm nozzle. If you are using a smaller nozzle, you'll need 6 or 7 perimeters to ensure that the spring section solid.

Would you be willing to post the source file? I'd like to make some small customizations.

I designed this using Solidworks 2011, but I can export to other common CAD formats like STEP, IGES, Parasolid, etc. What format do you need?

can you export it to inventor?

I've just uploaded the Solidworks 2011 source file for the capo. I believe Autocad Inventor can import Solidworks files.

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The coil spring was specifically designed for PLA. It took quite a few iterations to get it so that it would have enough clamping force but yet not break. ABS is not as stiff as PLA, so I don't think it will work.

I found that it will break if you compress the tabs all the way. It broke on me when I was squeezing the tabs to test it's springiness. :(

Anybody try this in PLA? Would it be too brittle?

In the description it says PLA so read ;)

Has anyone tried printing this with ABS? what density should i print it on?

I printed it. It is good for electric but to small for acoustic, work well but probably will need something rubber-like against string to work better (but without, work just fine)

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Depending on your neck thickness and string gauge (lighter strings are easier to capo), this may not have enough clamping pressure without adding a pad to clamping bar or to the presser bar.. I've updated the instructions with some suggestions for making the capo work well.

Working like a charm here on an acoustic folk guitar with steel strings. Not sure what it would do on a wider classical neck though.

Anyway, thanks, looks great!

Anyone tried it yet? How is it?

Looks like there are two makes posted so far. I'm waiting for someone who can play better than I can to post an audio clip!

I am totally printing this tonight!

Great idea! Nice and simple.

Very nice indeed, beautiful design. Never used a capo myself, being very versed in bar-chords ....but I like anything Guitar.

lol. That was kind of a vein comment! hahahaha. I don't know hat is how you meant it but it sure sounds funny ;) In truth, being very versed in bar chords (a necessity for any serious guitarist) will only account for a small amount of what one can do with a capo. Try it out and you will see just how awesome it can be; I promise!

Grat's on being featured!