Have you ever wondered how the internal mechanism of a toggle switch works? Well I did and while researching online I came across some 3D-printed toggle switches:
I liked the simplicity of this kind of mechanism and especially the fact that the spring used to create the “click” is just a thin bar. Below I will show you my attempt at creating a laser-cut version of a toggle switch made only from plywood.
As this is the first prototype, I kept the design as simple as possible. Everything can be assembled without any glue. Pins hold the individual layers together.
You can download the cut file below. This template is designed for 3 mm material, but you can easily rescale it for a different material thickness. I used birch plywood as it is strong but still flexible.
After laser cutting, I sanded all the surfaces involved in movements (the spring, underside of the switch lever and center disc) with 200 grit sandpaper. You don’t need to remove much material, just smoothen the surfaces. Afterward, I applied a bit of candle wax. This will further reduce any friction.
Assembly is pretty straightforward. Put the pins in the bottom layer. The cut file also contains a little tool. The tool helps to put the pins in place and can also be used to remove them again.
Note: One of the pins is slightly smaller than the other four. This one goes into the middle hole. The other four are for the holes at the corners.
Next, add the middle layer, the center disc, the switch lever and one of the spring bars. I made three different versions of the spring bar. I found that I liked the thickest version best because it gives just the right resistance and a really nice click. All three spring versions are included in the file so you can choose which one you like best.
As the last step, add the top layer to cover everything.
I also made a little stop-motion video showing the assembly and of course also the click.
One thing I was concerned about was how durable the spring bar would be. But I have clicked my switch now at least a few hundred times and everything is still looking fine. The only visible wear is a tiny groove on the spring bar.
All in all, I am really happy with this toggle switch. It’s a nice fidget toy and I also have some ideas on how to use it in future projects. What about you?
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