3D Printing is often heralded as a completely new fabrication method, creating things that simply cannot be manufactured in other ways. While this is true, the widest reaching usefulness of 3D printers isn’t for pushing the limits of fabrication. The real power is in pushing the limits of manufacturing for individuals who need one-off parts.
The proof point is in the story shown above. A missing key on a keyboard could have meant an otherwise fine piece of hardware headed for recycling, but was saved by a single part printed on a desktop 3D printer. Multiply this by the increasing number of people who have access to these printers and you can see how using 3D printing for repairs will have a huge impact on keeping our gear in service longer.
We want to see how you’ve saved things from the rubbish pile. Show them off in Hackaday’s Repairs You Can Print contest. The best Student entry and the best Organization entry (think Hackerspace) will each win a high-end 3D Printer. But anyone can enter, with the top twenty entries receiving $100 credit for Tindie.
If you’re like us though, these prizes are just icing on the cake. The real reward is showing what some think is mundane but the Hackaday crowd believes is worth celebrating. Check out all the entries so far and join us below for a few highlights.
Good Ideas That Will Nod Your Head
On the open Internet you’re more likely to see online love for a suit of Fallout 3 armor printed over five months than you will a keyboard kickstand. But to be honest, these repairs are like the hammer and nail of 3D printing: not much thought is paid but they hold the world together.
Toolboxes get used and they’re designed tough to protect what’s inside. But when those latches are open they can get caught and that’s what led to the demise of the one shown above. No problem, the replacement for the broken latch is going strong. Shown in the middle above is a hinge repair for a laptop that proves it doesn’t have to be pretty, it just needs to work well. And finally, It’s a pain to take a shower if you can’t hang the showerhead. This shower head worked fine and just needed a replacement cleat.
Headphones are all different and good luck finding replacement parts. This one’s not finished yet but the idea behind printing a Beats headphones part is to keep the perfectly good audio in use. In the middle we see a highly recognizable part; tape dispensers are worthless unless you have the hub that holds the tape. And finally, broken wings won’t keep this keyboard kickstand from going back into service.
Show us what you’ve got, you have a week left. We want to see the Repairs You Can Print!