3D Printed DIY Book Cradle - Your Own Book Holder and Display!

This DIY 3D printed book cradle is the perfect touch for every reader's book collection!
Odin Odin (180)
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When I set off in search of a book cradle, I found dozens of possible designs, each one cleverer than the next. Many held your book pages open for you, but I needed one that only cradled the book because I planned on creating my own book press for converting print books to digital. I'd seen some great DIY designs made from cardboard and wood, but I'm a 3D-printing hobbyist! I wanted to 3D print a holder for the books I planned to scan.

After some exploration, I encountered a design that I liked over on Thingiverse: a simple book cradle that would do the job I needed without getting in the way of the book press plate I planned to create.

But, once printed, I knew that the design would be one others would fall in love with for ordinary use as a reading support (especially for large books), or as a display method. The design is so wonderfully unassuming, it does exactly what it needs to do without getting in the way: and I could see this being used by students, academics, and librarians (as well as those who just want a cool display for their home bookshelf).

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3d printed book cradle thingiverse
by [fletcherdurant](https://www.thingiverse.com/fletcherdurant) on Thingiverse

I found this great model by fletcherdurant on Thingiverse that I instantly knew was what I needed. It had no love from the community, being far simpler than other designs, but I knew I'd be able to use it for my planned book press project as well as for a simple book display on by bookshelf.

Downloading the STL file
Downloading the STL file

Grabbing the model is simple, it's just one STL file. It loads perfectly into my Anycubic profile in Ultimaker Cura. You absolutely need a big 3D printer for this open, unless you just want to display tiny books. It might be possible to print on its side using supports if you have a smaller printer bed (to utilize the total volume of your printer better), but that's one of the reasons I like my Anycubic Kobra Plus so much (it's a great size).

Adjusting the STL file in Ultimaker Cura
Adjusting the STL file in Ultimaker Cura

I decided to flip the STL file in Cura so that the book cradle printed from its flat base up. This would introduce some small issues depending on the infill I used, but I wanted it to print without any external supports.

Setting the 3D printed wall thickness
Setting the 3D printed wall thickness
Wall thickness Wall line count Horizontal expansion
1.2 mm 3 0.0

I opted for baseline settings for my wall thickness. Looking back, I'd actually increase this slightly, specifically because of the type of infill I used. I might recommend a 2mm wall thickness for your print, which will increase printing time but make the whole thing a little stronger. That said, 1.2mm works fine.

Setting the 3D printed top and bottom thickness in Ultimaker Cura
Setting the 3D printed top and bottom thickness in Ultimaker Cura
Top/Bottom thickness Top thickness Top layers Bottom thickness Bottom layers
1.2 1.2 6 1.2 6

Again, I went with default thickness for these options, and I'm perfectly happy with this. This design's innate physics mean that it will hold up well to pressure (certainly the pressure of just a book), so the base settings are fine.

Setting the 3D printed infill in Ultimaker Cura
Setting the 3D printed infill in Ultimaker Cura
Infill density Infill pattern
15.0 Lightning

The infill turned out to be the hardest choice for this project. Go with something geometric and very stable, but add a lot of material waste and printing time, or take a risk and try my new favorite setting?

Let me tell you: the Lightning infill setting in Ultimaker Cura is absolutely incredible. While inherently less sturdy than other infill methods, it was perfect for a project like this, saving me a huge amount of time and material.

The recommendation for Lightning infill is closer to 30%, but Cura kept hanging up during slicing at 30%. I took a risk and halved that, and at 15% the lightning infill still turned out beautifully.

Setting the 3D printed speed in Ultimaker Cura
Setting the 3D printed speed in Ultimaker Cura
Print speed Top/Bottom speed
70.0 mm/s 35 mm/s

This will be dependent on your printer, and the type of filament you use. My Anycubic Plus, using ABS filament, did well at these settings.

Setting the 3D print travel settings in Ultimaker Cura
Setting the 3D print travel settings in Ultimaker Cura
Enable retraction Z Hop when retracted
Yes No

I find that enabling retraction when the nozzle is moving can be helpful, especially when I print with ABS. This is a setting you should play around with on a smaller print, to see how it changes things.

Setting the 3D print cooling settings in Ultimaker Cura
Setting the 3D print cooling settings in Ultimaker Cura
Enable print cooling Fan speed Initial fan speed Regular fan speed at layer
Yes 100 0 7

This is another setting that will change depending on the type of printer you have and the type of filament you use. Basically, what my setting did is tell the fan to kick in on max only at layer 7.

Setting the 3D print support settings in Ultimaker Cura
Setting the 3D print support settings in Ultimaker Cura
Generate support Build plate adhesion type
No Brim

With ABS, a brim can really help by adding an extra layer of plastic that keeps your print attached to the print bed. ABS is notorious from pulling up at the edges as it cools, and I wanted to avoid that. I didn't need supports for this print, and unless you're printing it on an edge, you shouldn't either.

Checking the print
Checking the print

Once you've got the print sliced up and loaded into your 3D printer, you'll want to keep a close eye on things for the first eight to twelve layers to make sure it's going as it should. If you see a lot of warping (especially when printing with ABS), it might be worth it to scrap things and start over. For something like a book cradle, it's important that the base is flat and solid.

The printing process on my Anycubic Kobra Plus
The printing process on my Anycubic Kobra Plus

As you can see, the walls and lightning infill are printing fantastically. I did end up getting a little pull on one corner, but it was very slight, and the brim kept the ABS from contracting took much overall. I don't have an enclosure and the room I print in has good air exchange, so that's going to affect how a temperamental plastic like ABS turns out.

My finished 3D printed book cradle using the Anycubic Kobra Plus
My finished 3D printed book cradle using the Anycubic Kobra Plus

Printing turned out a little rough in a couple of surface areas, likely due to my use of ABS and the very well-ventilated room. I chose ABS because I wanted something durable to go along with the lightning infill, but it's a harder plastic to get right. A little gentle sanding made things look great, however.

There was also the issue of my power dying in the middle of the print! My Anycubic Kobra Plus handled that beautifully, restarting the print without any problems, but it did create a temperature difference in the layers of plastic. Some weakness, but no splitting, so I'm happy!

For all you librarians, readers, and bookworms: this is the perfect 3D printing project
For all you librarians, readers, and bookworms: this is the perfect 3D printing project

I'm so happy with how this project turned out, and it's going to be ideal for my larger goal of creating a simple DIY book press for capturing my books in digital format. However, even as just a display for my bookshelf, this little cradle will do fine, and it's going to become a staple part of my display collection.

Did you try this project? Share your results with us in the comments or on Twitter!.

Interested in more 3D printed projects? Check out the best 3D printed Raspberry Pi cases!

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We all have our "things." Things that keep us going, keep us strong and motivated and true to ourselves. Things that move us, keep us feeling and centered and in a healthy mindset and perspective.

Odin's profile pictureOdin
Joined in 2021 180 guides
Odin Hartshorn Halvorson is a writer, geek, and hopeful futurist. A graduate from Stonecoast MFA, his work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He is the founder of Round Table Writers, an organization dedicated to "writers helping writers." Odin's love of Roddenberrian and Straczynskian ideals leads him to contemplate technology's role in our evolving philosophic landscape, a line of inquiry threaded through both his fiction and non-fiction writing. Learn more at OdinHalvorson.com
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