Introduction: 3D Printing and Designing Replacement Parts
3D printing can be a very useful technology, not only used to print vases and other "useless" items (i also enjoy printing "useless" items). Yesterday a holder, that attaches a rail that the shower curtain glides on, to the wall broke. I'm sure i could find it in a hardware store but since i have a 3D printer i decided to try and draw it and then print the part.
Step 1: Measuring the Object and a Quick Sketch
When designing something in a cad program if the part i'm making is a physical object and simple i like to make a quick sketch of the object on a paper so i don't have to measure it when modeling it later. I don't bother with making the sketch to scale or even good looking ;) The measuring was done with a digital caliper.
Step 2: Modeling the Object
For this project i used Autodesk Fusion 360 i found that this is a really good and easy to use. It have very good tools and functions recommend it strongly. There are many good and detailed guilds for those who are new to 3d design.
Step 3: Slicing the Object
Before we can print the object we have designed we need to transform the .stl file to .gcode that is a machine code that 3d printers can use. I personally use Cura but there are many good and useful slicers out there so find the one you like the most. This model didn't need any support materials or a raft, i set the infill to 20% but that didn't mater on this model because its so small and don't have and big areas so it will fill the object to 100% when printing it no mater what you set the infill to. I sliced the object and saved it on a sd-card as a .gcode file.
Step 4: Printing the Object
The printer i own is a Anet A8, its a Prusa i3 clone, its a cheap but good printer if you know a thing or two about technology, its a kit printer so you need to build it yourself, and if don't mind upgrading a few parts (the connectors on the main board are not rated for the current that the heated bed uses at higher temps, so adding a mosfet to take the load if recommended).
If you don't own a printer, find the closest makers lab that have a 3d printer or you could order the part from a 3d printing hub.
When printing i use painters tape and paper glue on the tape, that helps with getting the first layer to stick to the bed. This part was printed in PLA so a heated bed isn't required. The printing time was about 10 min with a print speed of 55 mm/s, bottom layer speed of 20 mm/s, travel speed of 120 mm/s and an infill speed of 60 mm/s.
Step 5: The Finished Object
The print turned out great and no cleaning or modifying where required, the only thing left was to mount the new part and it did fit like a glove. The process of making this mount took about 1,5 hours mainly because i was new the Fusion 360. If i would do it again now it would take under an hour.