Over time, things always tend to break with usage. While usually not ideal, it does present a unique opportunity...the opportunity to FIX it! You can call it optimism, but I like to think of it as an excuse to "work on it". It doesn't matter if the item is small or large, chances are you can have lots of fun tinkering with it.
In this case, we have two audio connectors that have seen better days. The plastic casing has deteriorated and cracked. These connectors are used to connect a mixer to a USB audio interface for recording a podcast at The Maker Station. So...these things are critical! Buy replacements? No way...this is a makerspace...let's patch them up!
Step 1: Recruit Makers to Solve the Problem
With the problem in front of me, I was ready to start. However, what better way to instill the maker spirit than to include others. So I found a couple of young makers nearby and recruited them to the task. There was a crowd of people at our makerspace all taking part in a Sugru build event, and this problem was well-suited for a Sugru repair. So off we went to try it out.
Step 2: Apply Sugru Wrap to Connectors
This is a simple solution, but works very well. Sugru is an amazing material that makes small, simple repairs insanely easy. There are many other options we could have gone with, but Sugru was fast, polished, and functional. We chose black to stay with the same color scheme.
It was fairly straightforward to spread the Sugru over the surface of the connectors and work the material to an even thickness and smooth surface. After letting it cure, the results were impressive. The connectors are repaired with a nice, comfortable finish and should serve us well going forward.
Step 3: Bonus: Makerspace Key
The connectors went so well that we wanted to try out Sugru on something else. The Maker Station has a shared access key for members. This key is in a coded lockbox for now. But, as you can see, the key was pretty boring. To remedy that, we applied a bold yellow Sugru coating to give it a unique and functional grip.
The final touch was adding the letter "M" for Maker, of course. Now that boring key has style and everyone will recognize it at a glance.
Our young makers had a fun and productive afternoon. The older makers had quite a bit of fun as well.