Win Big Prizes With Repairs You Can Print

Another month, another contest, and this time we’re looking for the best 3D printed repairs you’ve built.

The Repairs You Can Print Contest on is a challenge to show off the real reason you bought a 3D printer. We want to see replacement parts, improved functionality, or a tool or jig that made a tough repair a snap. Think of this as the opposite of printing low poly Pokemon or Fallout armor. This is a contest to demonstrate the most utilitarian uses of a 3D printer. Whether you fixed your refrigerator, luggage, jet engine, vacuum cleaner, bike headlight, or anything else, we want to see how you did it!

The top twenty projects in the Repairs You Can Print contest will be rewarded with $100 in Tindie credit. That’s a Benjamin to spend on parts, upgrades, and components to take your next project to the next level!

Students and Organizations Can Win Big

The Best Student and Best Organization will win a Prusa i3 MK3!

This contest is open to everyone, but we’re also looking for the best projects to come from students and hackerspaces. We’ll be giving away two amazing 3D printers to the best Student entry and best Organization entry. These two top projects will be awarded an Original Prusa i3 MK3 with the Quad Material upgrade kit. This is one of the finest 3D printers you can buy right now, and we’re giving these away to the best student, hackerspaces, robotics club, or tool lending library.

If you have a project in mind, head on over to and create a project demonstrating your 3D printed repair!

What is This Contest All About?

This contest is all about Repairs You Can Print, but what does that actually mean? Instead of printing Pokemon or plastic baubles on your desktop CNC machine, we’re looking for replacement parts. We’re looking for commercial, off the shelf items that were broken, but repaired with the help of a 3D printer. Is your repair good enough to show off as part of the contest? Yes! That’s the point, we want to see the clever repair jobs that people often don’t spend much time talking about because they just work.

Need some examples? Sure thing.

A while back, [Elliot Williams], one of the fantastic Hackaday Editors, had a broken vacuum cleaner. The wheels were crap, but luckily they were designed as a single part that snaps into a swivel socket. Over six or so years, the original wheels in this vacuum gave out, but a replacement part was quickly printed and stuffed into the socket. The new wheels have been going strong for a year now. That’s an entire year of use for a vacuum for five cents worth of plastic and an hour’s worth of printing time.

Need another example? My suitcase was apparently dragged behind a luggage cart for miles at either ORD or PHL. When it arrived on the baggage carousel, one wheel was shredded, and the wheel mount was ground down to almost the axle. The rest of the bag was still good, and I just removed the old wheel, salvaged the bearings, and printed a new wheel out of PLA. This suitcase has now traveled 60,000 miles with a 3D printed wheel, and it’s only now looking worse for wear.

How To Get In On The Action

We’re looking for the best repairs, jigs, and tools you’ve ever printed. To get started, head on over to, create a new project, and document your repair. The Repairs You Can Print contest will run from Tuesday, January 16th, 2018 through 12 PM PST Tuesday, February 20th, 2018. Here’s a handy count down timer for ‘ya.

58 thoughts on “Win Big Prizes With Repairs You Can Print

        1. Along similar lines, I was thinking of a bracket to hold my phone in position in front of the eyepiece on my el-cheapo 4″ reflector telescope. I struggled to get some half decent lunar eclipse photos last year, and was going to make the bracket from aluminium angle. Then I got a printer, and going on the old adage “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a thumb” it’s on my gunnadoo design/print list.

  1. Does setting fire to the pla and letting it drip into the cracks of a plastic freezer drawer count?
    it does have the advantage of not needing electricity and minimal programming.

      1. I bought the assorted plastic welder sticks from Horror Fright and chucked them in my Dremel.
        I was unable to get them to weld anything that way. Later I bought the actual HF welder, and was able to make a repair with one type of them.

        I know you are referring to 3D printer filament, I just don’t want others to make the same (Wrong!) assumption I made.

  2. I 3D printed faux candle sticks for the chandelier.
    The old ones had cracked and yellowed, and did not fit the new LED filament bulbs.

    Not sure it counts as a repair…
    But it was the point when the wife saw the 3D printer as a tool, instead of a toy. ;)

      1. Same here. My submission is replacement lamp shades for our floor lamp. The old ones had gotten brittle and crumbled. We were discussing replacing the lamp, but I said, “I have a 3D printer and the software to model new shades, gimme a minute…” Well, it was more like 16 hrs of printing later, but we now have 5 brand new shades, that (according to my wife) look better than the originals. This is the first time she’s seen the actual utility of having a 3D printer. I think I’ll encounter much less resistance from now on when I want to buy filament or upgrade parts. :)

          1. It’s pretty easy. You are appropriating the price of plastic parts to the cost of manufacture with a 3D printer. When he says “hundreds of dollars”, he talks about the cost of the parts from source. This washing machine door handle is priced at $24.82. You could think any non-critical part and use this same mentality. I wouldn’t advise 3D-printing a replacement to car engine components. But, replacing a $10 hanging door runner with a $0.50 printed part is exactly what this contest is looking for.

          2. Buy a 3D printer, learn how to run it and then show some of the stuff you made to your friends, family and neighbors. You’ll soon have a list of hundreds of dollars worth of plastic parts that have been broken.

          3. I have replaced critical parts with those I have designed and printed, but I won’t be posting about them or releasing them.
            It’s one thing for me to do it where I have tested that they will function properly. It is an entirely different thing to release them and hope others do the same.

  3. How about 3D printing a part which, instead of trying to replicate the function of the original/damaged one, provides even better functionality? Would that count as a “repair”?

    Or… -I know this can be quite a stretch of the Contest’s definition- but how about this case scenario? A product works well (except under certain circumstances, in which it fails/doesn’t work properly/isn’t helpful to the user) so you develop a 3D printed part that “fixes” it so that it will work under those circumstances. Would that enter into the contest’s scope?

    1. yeah, I’m kind of wrestling with this too. For me:
      Repair = restored functionality / prevent damage from happening again
      (ex: replace broken/missing knob, create a shim to prevent lever from damaging a switch)

      Upgrade/enhance = provide additional functionality

      Invent/create = provide net new functionality

    2. I would venture that a part that replaces another part and redefines the function should qualify.
      Such as a garden roto-tiller that becomes a snow blower by replacing the blades.
      (extremely unlikely, but only using it as an example)
      Or converting bicycle wheels/t[yi]res into snow tracks…
      Maybe they will make an additional category for such projects.

      1. There have been some tiller/blower combos that changed function by swapping the front half of the machine – but doing the changeover was pretty fiddly with several bolts and would take quite a bit of time.

        Neat concept since both a large snow blower and large tiller need power driven wheels, handles etc. that make the rear parts essentially identical. The drive forward to the tiller tines or blower augers and impeller are also very similar.

        Logical to have the thing come apart in the middle to save storage space for the rear half, but do it with quick release levers.

    3. Same here, although my project isn’t even replacing a part, it’s adding something which (imo) should have been part of the original product in the first place.
      (it’s a wedge that fits between a cushion and the seat)

    1. She doesn’t want a Cricut. She wants a vinyl cutter that can cut any design sent to it. Some Cricut models can be hacked to make them into cutters that don’t rely on very expensive design cartridges, some can’t be or haven’t been hacked.

      To buy all the Cricut design cartridges would cost thousands of dollars and whatever you makes with it is made of the same design elements as everything anyone else makes with a Cricut.

      If one of their frosting sheet cutters can be hacked, and also figure out DIY frosting sheets… yummy hacking for cakes.

  4. I recently installed some IKEA BAVE led lights for my study and had an electrician come and wire them up (along with a number of other wiring tasks). After the electrican left, I realised the internal wiring cover plate had not been installed. I had provided this to him, but somehow it went missing.
    Although it would be fine without the plate, I took it as a challenge upon myself to see how quickly I could script up a clone of the cover plate in OpenSCAD. Using the plate from another light for measurements, it was about two hours from starting to measure to installing the finished cover plate.

  5. Bigger wheels first. It’s desighners beautify things like bulging knuckles where the steel axle sets in an equally thick loop of plastic in the tapering off in a teardrop shape. They need to take a ride in an elevator that has a plastic (no Kevlar) cable the same thickness as the steel cable.

    Weak link engineering. Look for those breaking points first and don’t buy in.

    On The World BBC, I heard Europe just announced a war on plastics today.

    1. It’s not exactly a war, more a feeble request, for example, Iceland (a frozen food outlet) has been given 5 years to eliminate plastic packaging, I can’t help feeling 5 days would be more appropriate.
      I’m not against plastic, I’m against needing a thermic lance to open frozen food packages when bread rolls come in plastic that splits if a gnat farts near it.

  6. Can already see my video for this one: open with a sense of urgency, need a plastic part to save the world, takes a long nap curled up around the 3D printer waiting for it to finish, planet explodes 1/100th thru.

  7. Awesome contest idea. I think everyone is getting kind of sick of 3D printers used for little more than making toys. People need to see practical applications like these to take the tech seriously.

  8. The steering system of a boat was broken down and the part which had to be replaced (1cm long and wide) couldn’t be exchanged by the manufacturer. They wanted 2000€ for the whole steering “block”. We decided to measure it and and model it. Afterwards we have printed it and it worked. It still does I assume, the boats owner is still running around ;)

  9. i once repaired a limb on a bow (Archery): The tip-reinforcement fell off and (of course!) went missing… Without it, the edges were sharp and cut tru strings in 2-3 shots. So i designed and build a replacement tip.
    find it here for free. If you want modifications, i can provide FreeCAD-Files or make custom versions if you want.

    For glory! For repairability!

  10. Dont have a 3D printer. Have repaired hundreds of things regardless.
    Probably faster than waiiting for it to print too.
    Can we have a competition for repairs that use skill rather than replication ?

  11. Maybe if. Metal 3D printer was engaged to a Plastic 3D printer, they could genetate parts to comprize a printer? Maybe even assemble it, if said printers could swap print heads for tools to hold and again, uh, screw. Hey, don’t blame me. Everyone has been asking for it.

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