This 3D Printed Leash Lock Might Just Be a Dog Walker’s Dream!

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UntitledMost people with canine companions well know the ins and outs of walking the dog, and anything that makes that process more efficient is helpful. If the Dog Whisperer strategies haven’t helped you, then maybe this 3D printed Leash Lock will. The idea is to improve upon the retractable leash (the one that you use a button for lengthening and shortening), which needs an improvement. The string is always thin (my dog broke one before), and more importantly, it is difficult to get that button to hold the length of the leash you’ve chosen. Retractability with a lock, so that you can fix leash length in place–this is the visionary goal of Andy Bratton’s Leash Lock: An Innovative Dog Walking Tool.

There are universal problems in life that we should try to fix, and dog leashes are one of them. Andy Bratton set out to do just this for his Appalachian State University’s Senior Industrial Design studio course–and he has done all 3D printing dog owners a favor by publishing this project in a four part Instructable. Here, he summarizes his vision for this new and improved 3D printed leash:leash2

“It uses a 3D printed handle to enclose a Figure 9 rope tensioner and a 1/2″ tape leash, and provide the user a way to adjust and lock in the length of leash between themselves and their dog. Many problems, including tangling and tripping, can be solved simply by allowing having the appropriate amount of leash between you and your dog. Standard retractable leashes serve to keep the leash taut, but don’t give the user any way to reel their dogs back in if they get into trouble. Leash Lock lets you do this manually, and provides a dog walker with superior control over their pet when walking, playing, and socializing.”

He sounds like he could possibly put the Dog Whisperer out of business in one 3D printed swoop!

For the project, Bratton used the following materials and tools: a 3D printer (Prusa i3); some hardware like 4 screws, 4 knurled press-in inserts, a Figure 9 rope tensioner; and material for the leash itself. He used an old and very strong climbing rope, but you can also use other 1/2 inch webbing or a standard tape leash. I find this to be a great improvement on the retractable leash’s usually thin string.

leash3For Step Two, which is the 3D printing of the handle and enclosure, Bratton has attached the .stl files. He recommends using ABS, with 1.3 mm spacing and 15% infill. Sanding or chiseling will be necessary to remove excess material that could rub with the leash as it lengthens and shortens. Step 3 is the assembly, which you can read about here since it is a rather detailed description.

Finally, the last step has some notes that also show his project’s conceptual graphics, and the proper way to use a Leash Lock. As Bratton explains it:

“Simply unwedge the leash from the rope tensioner and then pull down on the front of the loop that hangs below the handle to shorten the leash. Lock it back in place when the leash is at a satisfactory length, and unlock it to let it run out again. This simple but powerful feature allows a dog walker maximum control over their proximity to their pet and, therefore, a much more enjoyable experience all around.”

If you walk your dog you most likely do it daily, so file this one away under ‘Innovative Everyday 3D Printed Necessities.’The design was created in order to be offered for a reasonable retail price, as he explains:

“I designed this product over the course of the Fall 2015 semester toward the goal of producing a limited number and testing them in a retail environment at a cost of $12. This event was successful, but as I don’t have the capital to pursue patenting or further production, I’ve decided to release this Instructable detailing how to make one yourself using some easy-to-find hardware and a 3D printer. Alternatively, if anyone would like to purchase one, I still have a few left (shipping not included)!”

If you make one or decide to purchase one of the remaining pre-made Leash Locks, Bratton would surely be excited to hear about the appeal and success of his project!  Discuss this story in the 3D Printed Leash Lock forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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