3D Printed Zipper Saves the Day!

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[Amr] recently built a 3D printer and came across his first practical application for it — his jacket’s zipper broke!

What we like about this project is [Amr] goes through the entire design process to finished product in his video. He starts by showing us the failed zipper, explaining where and why it failed, and then identifies the design features he needs to keep in order to make a functional replacement. To help accomplish this he checks out the Wikipedia article on zippers which shows an excellent animation of what happens inside of the zipper.

Now confident in his knowledge of all things zipper, he begins to model his replacement using SolidWorks, which is an industry standard among 3D CAD packages — for more information on how to use SolidWorks, we’ve been covering it in our 3D Printering articles!

Once satisfied with his 3D model, he tries to print it, but since it’s so small it pops off the bed mid-print. He adds a brim feature to the part and then it prints perfectly, in just over 30 minutes. We’re not sure if it was his first design iteration, but the zipper works on his jacket first try!

Of course we know he could have gone into town and bought a replacement zipper — but where’s the fun in that? Have you ever repaired something trivial just because? Let us know in the comments!

Comments

  1. Ren says:

    Last week a zipper pull on my 34 year old snowmobile suit broke, I expected it to last longer than that!

  2. djneo says:

    Finally a use for 3d printers

  3. Tom the Brat says:

    I’ve been trying to put zipper teeth together that way for decades. Just can’t do it without the pull!

  4. k says:

    Yay useful thing! I’ve replaced a dishwasher part and a few shower curtain hooks.

  5. matt says:

    So a aluminum pull broke and he thought it would be a good idea to replace it with a ABS/PLA one? This seems like a exercise in futility because this is just going to break in a couple weeks.

  6. fartface says:

    So is his copy of solidworks legal?

  7. MikeyS says:

    What I want to know is how do you slide the zipper onto the Jacket? Most jackets have a stop that will prevent the zipper from sliding out completely…

    • a_do_z says:

      Me too. I have thought that such a repair would require removing the crimped top stops or a two part slider that could be assembled around the zipper.

    • Amr says:

      There was indeed a plastic stop at the top of the zipper. All I did was cut off enough of the plastic with a pair of wire cutters to allow me to slide the new zip through.

    • sneakypoo says:

      Real replacements are slightly bent open when you get them so that you can put them on anywhere along the length. Then you just squeeze it shut with a pair of pliers and run it back and forth a few times to get everything back to normal. I used to work in the bag/wallet business so I’ve replaced more of them than I care to count.

      If you have old zippers that are starting to split open on you, a quick squeeze with pliers will usually rectify that problem. Just an FYI.

  8. Adam says:

    Well done! This was just a way to play around with a printer. If you really wanted to save the coat you would have just used the other zip that is on the same zipper. Just flip it around.

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