Author Topic: Home repairs with a 3D printer  (Read 4246 times)

Offline scoob

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Home repairs with a 3D printer
« on: January 20, 2013, 10:04:06 AM »
I thought I'd start off with an example of a repair I did yesterday.  We have a sectional sofa with built-in recliners, and one of them is operated by a 'rip-cord'.  There is a plastic bracket that acts as a guide for the cable, and it broke, rendering the recliner useless.  I found cables and the handle online, but not the bracket.  Good thing I'm a CAD guy with a 3D printer!

I removed the broken part, grabbed the calipers and a note pad (should've taken a pic of the sketch), and drew up a CAD model:


The broken part with the new part:


The new part installed:


It doesn't look like it, but I beefed-up the flange thickness, and the wall thickness of the guide tube.

The new part looks sort of rough, because I built the printer and still need to go through it and tighten-up some backlash and do more calibration.  I need to learn more about tweaking the settings as well.

Offline Klonus

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2013, 12:34:20 PM »
Hey Scoob. CAD guy here as well. What kind of 3d printer do you use?  I was considering buying one. It could make a great prepper item.
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Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2013, 02:29:02 PM »
I am now convinced we're in the 21st Century.  Well done, Scoob!

Offline scoob

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2013, 09:43:15 PM »
I built a RepRap Prusa Mendel for about $500.
More info:
http://reprap.org/wiki/Main_Page
http://reprapbook.appspot.com/
http://garyhodgson.com/reprap/prusa-mendel-visual-instructions/

Sorry for the brevity, but I just typed for a half-hour and it got nuked... off to bed.

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2013, 10:00:51 PM »
Sorry for the brevity, but I just typed for a half-hour and it got nuked... off to bed.

:banghead:  I hate when that happens!  (We're still working on the forum software upgrade behind the scenes here.  I hope we'll have fewer forum-caused post-nukings within a month or so.)

Offline scoob

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2013, 07:16:52 AM »
Thanks for all you do, Bill... but it's not the forum software's fault.  I was on a newer laptop, and my low battery warning gave me 5 seconds to plug in.  Plugged-in (too late), powered-up, post was still there, hit 'preview'....Ack! Blank page!  My wifi didn't come back on.  I'd have been alright if I'd connected, then hit reload, but I hit the back button instead.   ::)

Offline idelphic

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2013, 11:03:25 AM »
Nicely done.  A 3D printer would be nice to have, but sadly I don't have the Autocadd skills needed to spec out what I sometimes would like to prototype.

It would be rather interesting to print out parts for repairs or prototyping.
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Offline livinitup0

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2013, 12:55:24 PM »
This 3d printer technology utterly fascinates me. I'd love to eventually get one...but Id like to learn more about it and how to use it first...any sugestions on reading material?

I think it could pay for itself with small repairs like this and micro-manufacturing small business products in no time.

...and I really want to make a p90 stock for a .22 lol

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2013, 07:10:06 AM »
Nice work, scoob!


Offline thewarriorhunter

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2013, 08:04:02 AM »
that's pretty sweet. the 3D printer stuff fascinates me. eventually i would love to learn how to use this technology.


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Offline livinitup0

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2013, 08:07:27 AM »
I built a RepRap Prusa Mendel for about $500.
More info:
http://reprap.org/wiki/Main_Page
http://reprapbook.appspot.com/
http://garyhodgson.com/reprap/prusa-mendel-visual-instructions/

Sorry for the brevity, but I just typed for a half-hour and it got nuked... off to bed.

I did some reading on the RepRap website last night and this stuff is just freaking cool. Did you have someone replicate parts for yours? Is there some kind of community out there thats trading designs and whatnot?

From what I saw it looks like one of these could potentially be made for around $200... is that accurate?

Offline scoob

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2013, 09:33:30 AM »
Did you have someone replicate parts for yours?

Yes, we have a local group of 'makers' that are fairly active.  Use the search terms "openlab" "hacker space" "maker space" and see what comes up in your area.  A local guy printed my parts for $65.  Printing parts for new builders is a good way to get your own machine paid for and buy more filament.

Is there some kind of community out there thats trading designs and whatnot?

There's a huge community of folks making these things, with several different designs that constantly being updated, improved, adapted, and added on to.
The best example of things to print, whether machine improvements/upgrades, full machines, parts, toys, game pieces, phone & tablet cases,etc., is Thingiverse.  Also check out GrabCAD for and DefCAD.
Thingiverse is mostly geared toward the 3D printing, and is owned by the company that sells Makerbot   I would say CAD and print (.stl) files for tens-of-thousands of models are posted, many with instructions/descriptions/ratings/etc. 
GrabCAD is just a 3D model depository where people post their designs that aren't necessarily specific to one type of production (3d printing, cnc machining, etc.)
DefCAD... firearms-related stuff.  Since Thingiverse has been monkeying with their terms of service, and pulling firearms-related files, DefCAD is trying to be the 'gun-stuff thingiverse'.

Globally, much of the 'community-level' stuff is done at the RepRap Forums, for the machine I have, specifically in the RepRap Prusa Mendel topic category.

Let me re-emphasize... THERE IS A HUGE COMMUNITY of makers doing this 3D printing thing.  If your questions aren't answered in the thousands of pages of documentation out there, you can get on IRC chat and ask someone for help in real-time.  You might even be talking to one of the designers, Josef Prusa, himself.


From what I saw it looks like one of these could potentially be made for around $200... is that accurate?

Not that I know of.  Even if you can build your own circuit boards from a kit or from scratch, you'll only save $100 or so.  You can knock off about $55-75 if you don't purchase a heated build platform, since it's only needed for the higher-temp plastics like ABS.  (I would recommend one even if you're only printing with PLA though)  There are ways to save money, but $500 should be in your expectations.

Once all of the machines from the Kickstarter have shipped, there may be some cheaper options based-on the more compact Printrbot.

Nicely done.  A 3D printer would be nice to have, but sadly I don't have the Autocadd skills needed to spec out what I sometimes would like to prototype.  It would be rather interesting to print out parts for repairs or prototyping.

Some of the folks with these machines don't have any CAD background at all, and are creating models with the free Google Sketchup.  There are loads of free online tutorials for Sketchup.  Other free CAD programs are out there, but I don't think they are very intuitive to learn.  I use AutoCAD (not cheap) and Revit MEP (even more *not cheap*) to make a living, and while many users are self-taught, they aren't the easiest software packages to learn.


Offline livinitup0

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2013, 10:00:18 AM »
well considering the prices of a pre-built machine, and the technological background needed to understand and run one efficiently I dont see why anyone would actually buy one. $500 is a steal compared to some of those prices.

Maybe im just a nerd but this technology is insanely exciting to me. small-scale manufacturing has been a hurdle for small businesses as a whole and this kind of technology could open the doors to business opportunities that were previously impossible for a lot of entrepreneurs.

Exciting stuff man, thanks for posting this.

Offline Scottman

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2013, 01:12:15 PM »
Very cool!

Offline scoob

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2013, 01:51:23 PM »
Thanks for the action on this thread... it's encouraging.

I finally posted my first 'thing' on Thingiverse:
Recliner Part

Offline livinitup0

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2013, 02:53:09 PM »
defCAD = epic on so many levels.

Offline Carpintiero

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2013, 03:13:11 PM »
I work with SolidWorks which includes the ability to run stress analysis on parts. Dassault has a program called Draftsight that is just like autocad but very cheap (free). I'm going to look into this 3d printer as well. Great thread.

Offline nkawtg

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2013, 04:17:10 PM »
Nicely done.  A 3D printer would be nice to have, but sadly I don't have the Autocadd skills needed to spec out what I sometimes would like to prototype.

It would be rather interesting to print out parts for repairs or prototyping.

I believe in the very near future there will be an online library of stuff users submit much like people do for sketch up.
You won't need any autocad skill, just download and print.
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Offline livinitup0

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2013, 04:37:53 PM »
I believe in the very near future there will be an online library of stuff users submit much like people do for sketch up.
You won't need any autocad skill, just download and print.

http://www.thingiverse.com/

I drooled for an hour on this site today

Offline backwoods_engineer

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2013, 03:29:37 PM »
Great work, scoob!

I am part of a local hackerspace (TechShop RDU) that has 4 3D printers.  I have been laying off to take the Basic Use class required to use them.  I think you've just put me over the top.

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Offline flippydidit

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2013, 10:23:49 PM »
I am DEFINITELY interested in this technology.  I've got a few ideas that would be perfectly suited for home based industry.  Printing my own money!  (figuratively)
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Offline scoob

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2013, 08:09:18 AM »
I haven't had time to print much lately, but I'll try to get some time this weekend.  Some of the first things a new mendel builder/owner prints are upgrade parts for the machine itself... like carriage pieces that accept bearings, instead of printed bushings.  I also need to print a filament spool that I'll be happy with.  Will post pics as I print these.

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2013, 08:53:41 PM »
A machine that makes improved parts for itself... That makes my brain hurt. If it starts designing and making its own parts at will, destroy it before it's too late!  ;D


Offline scoob

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2013, 08:24:13 AM »
A machine that makes improved parts for itself... That makes my brain hurt. If it starts designing and making its own parts at will, destroy it before it's too late!  ;D

Yeah, if it figures out how to plug itself in, it becomes target practice.   ;D

For those wanting 'bang for your buck' to get into 3D printing, check out the Printrbot.  The Printrbot Plus is the equivalent build-size (8"x8") to the $500 Prusa Mendel I built,  for $700 in kit form (add $100 for fully assembled).  You can get a 4x4 Printrbot Jr kit for $400, then print your own upgrade pieces to make it bigger.  And no, I have no affiliation to Printrbot.  I've just been kinda following their project because makes home 3D printers a little more affordable.

Update on my printing this weekend:  I tried to print some upgrade parts that would allow me to quick-detach the extruder head, and snap other tool heads like a dremel or laser cutter.  I had some issues with the taller prints turning into spaghetti, so I bagged it, did a partial tear-down and re-wire/tighten/clean&lube job.  I threw the failed pieces away, but next time I'll take and post pics to show what a 'fail' looks like.  I also drew up a fan mount for cooling the filament as it exits the extruder (solution to part of the spaghetti problem)... tried to print it, and it was only a partial success. 

Offline scoob

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #24 on: January 30, 2013, 06:09:27 PM »
Update on my printing this weekend:  I tried to print some upgrade parts that would allow me to quick-detach the extruder head, and snap other tool heads like a dremel or laser cutter.  I had some issues with the taller prints turning into spaghetti, so I bagged it, did a partial tear-down and re-wire/tighten/clean&lube job.  I threw the failed pieces away, but next time I'll take and post pics to show what a 'fail' looks like.

Looks like I actually kept the failed part:



I also drew up a fan mount for cooling the filament as it exits the extruder (solution to part of the spaghetti problem)... tried to print it, and it was only a partial success. 


Offline idelphic

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #25 on: February 01, 2013, 12:37:42 PM »
How much trouble would it be to plot/design print a battery box?  would use AA batteries.
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Offline nkawtg

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #26 on: February 01, 2013, 12:51:30 PM »
Easy Sneezy to print one. A little more skill needed to draw one in CAD.
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Offline scoob

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #27 on: February 02, 2013, 10:59:32 AM »
How much trouble would it be to plot/design print a battery box?  would use AA batteries.

Do a search on thingiverse for "battery box" or "battery tray"... or better yet:
battery box
battery tray

If you have a specific design in mind, can you post it, or at least describe it?

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #28 on: February 04, 2013, 04:46:16 PM »
Do a search on thingiverse for "battery box" or "battery tray"... or better yet:
battery box
battery tray

If you have a specific design in mind, can you post it, or at least describe it?

Total size would be the size of my Kindle Fire,.. or a 7" tablet.  Thickness relevant to the batteries.  Recessed USB jack which is the charger .  Batteries would be in pairs supplying 3v, but would have multiple 'packs' to increase the run time. and off hand I can't remember how many that is,..

I might split one 'pack' off to use with a charger - so you would have a place for a solar charger, panel on the back of it also.  So you can cycle batteries around and always have power.
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Offline cheryl1

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Re: Home repairs with a 3D printer
« Reply #29 on: February 05, 2013, 08:47:28 AM »
+1 for this post. There is a longstanding disagreement in our house about 3d printing, and now I have evidence for my position! Neither my husband nor I have any background in computer design etc. and I just recently learned 3d printers even existed for home use. I am soooo interested in where this technology is going, and I told my husband that some day we'll be able to just print off those little widgets that break and render household items useless instead of having to order them or drive 50 miles to town for a replacement. He said no way, that'll never happen. I am going to win this one after he sees your post!  ;D
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