This has been a long overdue post on how useful having access to a 3D printer can be. I have one for the past few months and I am still learning new functions in the program slicer and I am very rusty in terms of CAD design software. Throughout my career, I learned a little bit of AutoCAD but I never really used, so most of it I had forgotten. Thus, having a 3D printer gave me an opportunity to re-learn CAD and of course, learn about the intricacies of preparing a 3D model to be put into our physical world.I am not going to go much in depth as this post is not a tutorial on how to design and 3D print parts. There is simply too much to cover and much better resources out there. To illustrate the "wonders of 3D printing", I will focus on a simple, yet useful feature of 3D printing: DIY repairs.
My printer is the Creality Ender 3 v2, that despite being a budget, is a very competent printer, especially for beginners.
|My 3D printer setup with some customized (printed) mods|
And to better exemplify this great functionality of the printer, I am gonna use this real example: replacing a broken handle from my shed. The shed in question is a Rubbermaid Jumbo Storage Shed (52 x 30 x 82" H-1229).
|All 4 holding pins of the shed handle broke off|
The first step was to take detailed measurements of the existing handle with the help of a caliper.
Second step, transfer all the measurements into a CAD program. In this case, I used Rhino:
Third step, slice the 3D model in a slicer program to prepare for 3D printing. Due to the handle geometry, a lot of supports were needed in order to print it:
Note that I needed to shortened the non-structural edges to fit into my printer's bed.
And after about 20 hours, here is the final product beside the original handle after the temporary supports were removed:
In order to make the supports easier to remove, I got more stringing on one of upside down surface. I then used a small torch to fix the stringing:
And now, to the final trial: installing the new handle in the shed door.
All I needed to do was to slowly force the screws into the new printed handle to carve the treads into the new handle holder. It fits nicely and is functional! :)
Click here to download my 3D model of the shed door handle.