Mark, our Senior Product Product Design Engineer, recently shared a story with our team about his experience using 3D printing to solve an everyday design problem.
He and his wife moved into their new house a few years ago and installed two-inch ‘Faux Wood’ Venetian blinds. The blinds are a tad fancier than the less expensive ones used in apartments, but not quite top of the line. The bottom of the blinds are a vinyl extrusion where the control strings tuck away and it has two caps to close off the open ends (these bottom parts can also snap into clips to keep them in place on doors). The caps were not made out of the best material and almost immediately split. Mark went to the box store where he purchased them and asked about replacements, however, they could only offer him what had fallen out of other blind boxes over time. He checked online, but there was no website or replacement part. He soon realized that even if he could find one the same thing would most likely happen again. So, as a 3D printing enthusiast, he came up with a new idea.
He decided to reverse-engineer the caps and 3D print them. The first one was a little too small so he scaled up the second one and created a pretty nice looking and durable replacement.
These are the little pieces and parts in our lives where a 3D printer can really soar – a simple item, nearly impossible to replace. These 3D prints prevented Mark from having to get a brand new set of blinds or try some other fix. He uploaded his solution to Thingverse so anyone else with this issue can benefit from it (there are other replacement parts like vacuum nozzles, knobs, clips and brackets on the site as well).
While this 3D printing piece may not be a toy, art or piece of fashion, it does help to solve an everyday problem in hardware design. For more information on our engineering capabilities, visit our site here.