Planned Obsolescence 0 – 3D Printer 4

Yet another win against planned obsolescence, checkmate by the 3D printer. If you haven’t seen the previous parts of the series, here they are:

Planned Obsolescence, 0 – 3D Printer, 1 Broken Stuff 0 – 3D Printing 1 Planned Obsolescence, 0 – 3D Printer, 2 Planned Obsolescence 0 – 3D Printer 3

The failing device was a UV sterilizer. Its cover is held by two little plastic notches, which broke. Plastic.

Analyzing the problem

The problem is that, without that little piece of plastic, the whole thing doesn’t work. That’s because there is a little switch that is activated when the lid is closed, and that switch doesn’t get activated.

The tricky part here is that the missing plastic part is very small. It is basically 2mm thick and a few millimeters large. Besides, the hole is higher than the plastic pieces that are left. There is no way we can just put a screw directly inside the remaining plastic.

Additionally, 3D printed pieces have only a limited level of detail. And the less plastic there is, the less robust it is.

The main issue here is that we have to have something go inside this hole to hold the whole cover. There is no way a piece of plastic will handle that. It has to be a screw or bolt.

I also didn’t want to use any glue, so the holding piece should be held by another screw.

Designing the piece

I came up with a very simple design: a screw to hold the printed piece in place, and another screw that acts as a sort of hinge.

And the printed piece comes to life, notice how we are really reaching the edge of how much detail we can get:

Putting the piece in place

I first needed to drill the existing door’s plastic to fit the holding screw. Low tech drill here:

Time for truth: screwing the piece in place and testing it on the machine. In here, you can see the little switch that needs to be activated in order for the machine to work.

Final result

And the final result: a fully functional door again, and a working sterilizer.

3D printer, 4th object fixed without needing to trash things and replace them with new ones. Yay!

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