Repairs You Can Print: The Zipper Box

Picture it: winter, a few years ago. [Ted Yapo]’s son is sent to the front lines of a snowball war. He rises to the task, pelting kid after kid with ease and taking down the Johnson twins with a two-fisted trebuchet maneuver. As he hunkers down to form the last snowball needed to claim victory, the unthinkable happens: the zipper box on his coat breaks and falls silently into the snow. Unaware, he leaps to his feet to take his final shot and the whole zipper unfurls, exposing him to both the cold and the enemy. They won the war, but at what cost?

[Ted] figured the coat was done for. He thought about replacing the zipper entirely, but that was going to be a lot of work. He cast a forlorn look around his workshop and his gaze fell upon the 3D printer in the corner. I can rebuild it! He thought. I have the technology! He was off to design a new box in OpenSCAD and had sturdy ABS replacement zipper box in no time. He installed it with dab of Duco cement, and the rest is history. That coat saw two more winters and countless snowball wars before [Private Yapo] presumably grew out of the thing.

Zippers are the unsung heroes of clothing. If you don’t know much about zippers, sink your teeth into [Dan Maloney]’s recent ode to the quickest fastener we’ve got.

10 thoughts on “Repairs You Can Print: The Zipper Box

    1. I’m not entirely sure what you mean by that but I probably disagree. I don’t think the contents of the article are all that bad. It’s an example of fixing something by printing a replacement part. Ok.. I don’t think that is particularly unusual nor particularly ‘hacky’ but… Judging by the comments I see here I would say that it’s apparent that many HaD readers do think actually printing something useful is rare. So… I guess it’s a hack! Or at least it’s something worth talking about. And.. the openscad file is actually available via the link so if you happen to have a broken zipper it’s even useful.

      But… what do the contents of the article have to do with my comment? I wrote that it was “well written”. One can do a good or bad job writing about anything. I liked the way she told the story. It made me want to read something that otherwise I might have written off as a little too mundane and clicked away. That is a mark of good writing thus the deserved[IMHO] compliment.

  1. I have never seen this failure mode before. They usually separate above the clip in the woven tape. The pot metal slider wears out first or erodes in damp storage loosing control. Failure is promoted by those thin wind flaps that get caught in the slider.

  2. I used to think that broken zippers spelled the doom for winter coats, bags, backpacks, etc. due to near impossibility of repair and terrible amount of work with replacing it… Until I found out that our local repair shop can replace almost any zipper (usually with a better one) for about $5.

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