Many visitors to the MakerLab are intrigued by 3D printing technology but wonder how they could apply this new tool in their daily lives. One emerging application is replacement parts. For example, Swedish synthesizer manufacturer, Teenage Engineering, has replacement parts available via Shapeways. In addition to printing parts offered by manufacturers, if you have access to 3D design software and a desktop 3D printer, you can design and make your own parts! This capability is particularly valuable if you are trying to obtain parts for an object that has been discontinued by the manufacturer. This happened recently to one of our friends, who owns a unique Sears Craftsman weedwacker that uses plastic blades instead of the traditional spool of plastic string. Our friend ran out of the original set of blades that came with the weedwacker. Unfortunately, Sears no longer carried this product or any of its parts. Fortunately, the MakerLab came to the rescue! MakerLab guru Danny used a shard from an original blade to design and print a suitable replacement on a Makerbot Replicator 2 printer. As a result, a defunct lawn tool was revived and given a second life. How many times has something like this happened to you? By gaining 3D printing skills, you may be able to replace rather than rebuy!
Come make something in the MakerLab this summer. We are open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:00 to 5:00.