3D Printed Parts That Were “Just What I Needed”

3D Printing & Imaging Workshop

martin koch

“To my surprise I found that the bridge on my electric ukulele ripped off. I could get it repaired or the whole uke replaced, which would have left me for weeks without my uke.

Measuring the original dimensions, minutes of modeling and half an hour of printing was all it took to have a prototype. Four design iterations later, the bridge was beefed up and the cord fixation changed just to my liking. I have now a better uke bridge than before!”

—Martin A. Koch, Manresa, Spain

Greg Williams

“My office has a paper towel dispenser, but the key was long gone. I designed and printed a new key. Since I couldn’t find a replacement key, it saved me from having to replace the entire dispenser.”

—Greg Williams, Milltown, N.J.

alex franke2

“I made a small wire spool rack with an old broom handle, but my attempt at organization soon became a lesson in knot theory — an utterly tangled mess. Rubber bands and tape were too tedious and sticky, so I worked up a little parametric clamp in OpenSCAD to help keep spooled wire in its place. Just pull it off to get to the wire, and snap it back in place when you’re finished. Or you can pull the wire through the window while holding the tab.”

—Alex Franke, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Bill Tomiyasu

“I’m with SYN Shop, the Las Vegas hackerspace, and we just started doing a podcast. I bought an inexpensive Canon video camera (as an extra) and wanted to use my Sony wide-angle lens on it. Needless to say, the lens adapter that came with it didn’t fit. So, I printed one. The cool thing is that it’s held onto the camera with friction only, since the Canon doesn’t have a threaded lens ring. I got to learn a little about Blender and this was also my very first 3D print!”

—Bill Tomiyasu, Las Vegas, Nev.

Eiki Martinson

“The door of my refrigerator has some rails on the inside shelf area that are supposed to keep the mustard from flying when you open the fridge. One of mine broke, and naturally, the little hook bit fell into the door itself, never to be recovered. So I took the mirror image one from the other end of the rail, modeled up the part I needed (tricky little geometry) in SolidWorks, and printed it in ABS. Problem solved! You’d be hard-pressed to even notice that the part isn’t original.”

—Eiki Martinson, Lighthouse Point, Fla.

Pete Prodoehl

“When we moved into our current house, the light above the front door was just a bare bulb, with nothing around it. While at Home Depot the wife found a cheapie plastic majigger that would fit over the light bulb. This is also when she suggested I could ‘make it work.’ I really don’t know how I could have done this as elegantly without a 3D printer. Using open source software I designed the needed adapter and then printed it out using open source hardware, and the total cost of materials (ABS plastic) was probably less than 50 cents.”

—Pete Prodoehl, Milwaukee, Wis.

Jamie Cunningham

“I do some video work for my band and other small nonprofessional side jobs. I’ve always wanted a rail system for my DSLR but just couldn’t justify the expense of some of this stuff for a hobby — a camera rail system with a follow focus can cost upwards of $1,000 or more!

So I decided to build my own using my 3D printer and parts I could find at the big box stores. I designed some parts, used Marcus Wolschon’s Follow Focus off of Thingiverse, and got exactly what I needed for less than $30!”

—Jamie Cunningham, Clearwater, Fla.

Chris McCoy

“The BuddyGripper3D evolved from the BuddyGripper Original (buddygripper.com), which was developed while I lived in Madrid, Spain. There on a Fulbright Grant to finish my Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, I realized I needed a device to attach my iPhone to a tripod so that I could travel and capture my experiences. Manufacturing was costly, so I switched to 3D printing. After that, creativity flourished and I shared it with the Thingiverse.com community. What better way to ‘put fun in your pocket’ than to 3D print your own BuddyGripper3D?”

—Chris McCoy, San Francisco, Calif.

alex franke1

“My boy scored a nice soccer goal, and when I sat back down, I went falling through the back of my folding travel chair. I can’t imagine anyone would be able to sell me the part to fix it, so turned to OpenSCAD and made my own. It’s held up very well for over a year now, and soon I’ll be printing another one to repair a similar tear on the other side.”

—Alex Franke, Chapel Hill, N.C.

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