In this case, the plastic tensioning bracket of a Craftsman 10in band saw had shattered due to excessive pressure. I was able to design and print out a replacement in under one hour.
The printer used in this article is the RepRap eMAKER Huxley #307, which I built in about three days. You can read more about it on my blog. To learn about open-source desktop 3D printers, visit reprap.org.
Step 1: Tools/Materials
-calipers/precision steel rule
-3D design software(123D, Sketchup, Blender, Inventor)
ABS plastic is chosen over other types for its strength and degradation resistance. It is also very easy to machine or finish. PLA is not chosen because it is biodegradable(made from corn). PLA is useful for prototyping wherein multiple iterations yield a large number of obsolete parts, which can simply be composted. This becomes a problem for a functional part, however, if the part is exposed to water for an extended period of time, or if the part comes into contact with any strong chemicals. ABS is a fairly standard plastic that many consumer products already incorporate.
Ideally, one would print every iteration in PLA, switching to ABS only for the "final draft." Or better yet, if the service is available, print only in ABS and recycle any obsolete parts.