Featured 3D Print: Metal Replacement Hinge

Author: Matt Tyson/Wednesday, 1 August 2018/Categories: 3D Printed Items, Cool Things to 3D Print

Featured 3D Print: Metal Replacement Hinge

It doesn’t feel that long ago that our CEO Michael Tyson founded 3D Printing Solutions in 2013. That year we brought our first 3D printer; the original UP Plus. A sturdy desktop 3D printer manufactured by Tiertime in 2013, the UP Plus quickly became the number one selling 3D printer in Australia. From day one we began not only using the UP Plus to showcase customer applications, but as a tool to print custom solutions and replacement parts for ourselves.

The UP Plus 2 improved upon the UP Plus design!

The UP Plus 2 improved upon the UP Plus design!

While the industry has rapidly changed with incredible innovation (easy-to-print Nylon filament, unique post-processing, affordable Industrial 3D Printing); the primary goal behind this innovation has stayed consistent; empower the user to solve problems. Internally 3D printing has solved our fair share of difficulties with fast and cost-effective solutions like a handrail for our retail premises, and giving a new life to our age old treadmill.

Earlier this year on a saturday night, the cast steel hinge on Michaels fridge broke. In a scenario like this, the traditional solution would be to hunt for all the eskies, buy plenty of ice and wait until the replacement part arrived; a time consuming and costly scenario. As you can already guess by the title of this article, we are 3D Printing Solutions so the answer was far simpler. Since moving to our retail premises in 2017, all our current model printers have been on display in our showroom but Michael still had that trusty UP Plus and a spool of Polymakers PC-Max™ which he kept at home.

Broken cast steel hinge

Broken cast steel hinge

The hinge wasn’t a complex part so designing a replacement hinge was incredibly simple and 3D printing with PC-Max™ on the UP Plus didn’t feel outdated thanks to Polymakers focus on compatability and Tiertimes continued software support five years on. While there are some incredible benefits when printing PC-Max™ with an advanced thermal system or an enclosed printer; the UP Plus still printed the nano-reinforced PC-Max™ at 260°C with fantastic results thanks to the parts small size. With additional time, annealing the printed part would have ensured maximum mechanical properties however this was a time sensitive incident so annealing was not possible.

Replacement hinge printed in Polymakers PC-Max™ PolyCarbonate

Replacement hinge printed in Polymakers PC-Max™ PolyCarbonate

Within two hours we had the replacement part designed and printed and a robust same-day solution. The replacement cast steel part arrived later in the week however given our curiosity and how well the printed part continued to perform; the PC-Max™ printed hinge was installed for a total of four months!

While there are certainly benefits to using the latest 3D printing hardware, 3D printing functional parts on what some would consider an ‘out-dated’ printer was easy as ever thanks too Polymakers focus on compatibility and innovation when developing PC-Max™, along with Tiertimes robust manufacturing and legacy support.

Click here to buy Polymakers PC-Max™ PolyCarbonate 

Click here to buy the latest Tiertime / UP 3D printers

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