tapestry hanger

Print: Tapestry Hangers

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Back with a bang; pandemic has left us a little strung out, and didn’t have access to the makerspace for awhile. This has been largely resolved, and we’re starting to churn stuff out again!

As part of some home redecorating we wanted to clean up some of the tapestries and quilts one of us had up on the walls. We poked around Amazon a bit and found these walnut-flavored Quilt and Tapestry Hangers:

These worked… okay, come pre-finished in a variety of flavors, matched the tapestry, and looked good in the space they were hung. There were a few issues as per Maker Dave’s review:

  • The “cam” screws aren’t set into the baseplate so had to grip with pliers, or…
  • …set with CA and a quick-setter (Zap Adhesives Zip Kicker or Bob Smith 151 Insta-Set)…
  • …which made the hanging annoying.
  • Build quality is somewhat hit-or-miss; holes didn’t always line up…
  • …not egregiously, but enough that you can notice if you’re up-close.
  • There were also random counter-sinks (even in the same batch)–sometimes none, sometimes both on one side, sometimes on opposite sides.
  • The wood is… not strong and we snapped one while cranking it down.
  • Aesthetically they’re a little rectangle-y at the top; from the front it’s fine but from the side it seems a little off.

None of these are show-stoppers; for $18/4-pack it’s not a bad deal and gets the job done. We thought we’d whip up a modified version that narrows them down (from about 1¾” to 1″) and has the cam integrated into the baseplate.

Our Design

We chamfered the cam bolt hole; our local Home Depot doesn’t have #8-32 hex bolts (our original idea, and better overall), although they’re cheap from McMaster-Carr. We decided to stick with what we could pick up on a whim–we’ll stick with CA/quick-set to glue those in; worst-case scenario is they might need a re-glue, but we haven’t yet.

We curved off the top so the cam nestled in and created a more-uniform silhouette; this is a minor detail, but makes for something a bit more interesting. We also rounded over the pointy end of the cam in hopes of keeping the hangings safer; it’s unclear if that really matters.

The Joy of Iteration

One potential improvement we came up with early was to add a small cam-matching “divot” in the base to help lock in flexible hangings, even thin ones. It’s not helpful for something solid like a painting on MDF, but for banners, it’s marginally grippier.

In addition to that, we can put hangers at the bottom of hangings to help keep them relatively flat/taut. Being able to tweak the design to add this is one of the reasons we love rapid manufacturing.

Final Thoughts

Even with only a 10-15% infill our hangers were noticeably stronger than the original wood ones. We primed and painted ours in a variety of styles; we ended up liking that fake-metal spray paint the best (a dark bronze). We recommend not painting the contact point of the cam or baseplate to avoid potential paint rub-off, which could discolor the hanging, but the rest is fair game. We painted everything then just sanded off the contact points.

Our design pretty much maxes out at a ½’ thickness and is better in the ~¼” range; beyond that the basic design doesn’t allow for much wiggle room. We’ll drop a version with a slot on the cam (instead of a hole) would would allow hanging a wider variety of things, even picture frames, although we’d also put hangers on the bottom if it was heavy.

We’d recommend getting some sort of cap bolt for the cam bolt, or just printing something you can slip on. We also tried a version with both round and square incuts around the front cam bolt hole so the bolt cover becomes an integral part of the design–we liked that but want to mess with the design so it prints easier before we release that one into the wild.

All in all, this seemed like a pretty good use of 3D printing: while we could certainly whip these out reasonably fast on the band saw and sander and drill press, being able to size it to our needs (and re-size if we have different needs) ultimately this was a win.

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