Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Stanley Black & Decker’s Contributions to 3D Printing


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Headquartered in New Britain, Connecticut, Stanley Black & Decker is the world’s largest manufacturer of tools, fasteners, storage, and other hardware. They are also #2 in the world for security services. Originally two separate companies, Stanley Black & Decker came together in 2010 to become a leading global diversified industrial company. Under their umbrella are brands including DeWalt, Black & Decker, Bostitch, Sonitrol, and more. In the year 2017, Stanley added the large and famous Craftsman tool product line to its tool bench when it bought Craftsman from Sears for $775 million. Stanley Black & Decker’s contribution to 3D printing is multifaceted. Being a tools and hardware company, they are always innovating their products and processes. It is estimated that among all of their brands, Stanley Black & Decker releases approximately 1,000 new products a year. In recent years, they have taken on projects that entail 3D printed parts, 3D printing materials, and supporting 3D printing startups.

The Research & Development Tax Credit

Enacted in 1981, the now permanent Federal Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit allows a credit that typically ranges from 4%-7% of eligible spending for new and improved products and processes. Qualified research must meet the following four criteria:

  • Must be technological in nature
  • Must be a component of the taxpayer’s business
  • Must represent R&D in the experimental sense and generally includes all such costs related to the development or improvement of a product or process
  • Must eliminate uncertainty through a process of experimentation that considers one or more alternatives

Eligible costs include US employee wages, cost of supplies consumed in the R&D process, cost of pre-production testing, US contract research expenses, and certain costs associated with developing a patent.

On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the PATH Act, making the R&D Tax Credit permanent. Beginning in 2016, the R&D credit can be used to offset Alternative Minimum tax for companies with revenue below $50MM and for the first time, startup businesses can obtain up to $250,000 per year in payroll taxes and cash rebates.

STANLEY+Techstars Additive Manufacturing Accelerator

Stanley Black & Decker has been working with leading startup accelerator Techstars to launch the STANLEY+Techstars Additive Manufacturing Accelerator in July 2018. This program will be an opportunity for 10 3D printing startups to connect with entrepreneurs in Hartford, Connecticut to receive mentorship and resources to support and further develop their ideas and businesses. This is also a wonderful opportunity for Hartford; while it is an economically disadvantaged city, it has seen growth in early-stage startups that focus on science and technology.

As an innovative company, Stanley Black & Decker is interested in incorporating more 3D printing in their production process than they already do. The Additive Manufacturing Accelerator will expose them to the best new 3D printing startups within Techstars’ global network. Stanley Black & Decker hopes to form partnerships with the right startups and continue working together after the program.

3D Printing Projects

Besides working with outside 3D printing businesses, Stanley Black & Decker projects execute some 3D printed metal parts. The two parts, a 3D printed actuator housing for a post driver and a wheel shaft for a profile grinder, were printed with the Metal X 3D printer by Markforged.

The engineers at Stanley Black & Decker had to redesign the actuator housing, in a less-is-more fashion, from a two-piece part with fasteners into a unibody printed part. When the 3D printed actuator housing was tested, an analysis determined that the part was both more durable and lighter, not to mention it being 12.5 times less expensive, than the original one.

Conversely, instead of going from several parts into a unibody, the wheel shaft went from being one piece to three pieces in a more-is-less fashion. Engineers at Stanley Black & Decker found that producing a one piece wheel shaft out of a block of steel was wasting too much material. The company changed the method to 3D printing the flange of the wheel shaft and traditionally producing or purchasing the shaft. The two pieces are then connected with a machined key. Testing of the part found it to be durable, lighter, and lower costing.

By openly sharing the specifications of their 3D printing products as well as the economics of them, Stanley Black & Decker is further influencing the manufacturing industry by showing the true benefits of 3D printing. Smaller companies see that this manufacturing giant is utilizing the technology and can look into how 3D printing can fit into their business for their own benefit as well.

Stanley Model 1 3D Printer

Not only does Stanley Black & Decker support 3D printing startups and 3D print their own products, but they also have their very own 3D printer. The Stanley Model 1 3D Printer was created in partnership with the South Korean machinery company Sindoh, and released in 2017. It is designed as a desktop printer for both beginners and experienced users with user-friendly features for safety, quality, and reliability.


Being such a pioneer company since its origin, it is no surprise that Stanley Black & Decker is heavily invested in innovative technologies such as 3D printing. The company is constantly on the scope for the latest 3D printing innovations such as metal printing and the newest 3D printing startups. This exact dedication to innovation is perhaps what has made Stanley Black & Decker one of the largest multifaceted companies in the world.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at or share your thoughts below. 

Charles Goulding and Rafaella July of R&D Tax Savers discuss Stanley Black & Decker. 


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