Ikea vs 3D-Printing

One day it was time. I stood with a small piece of plastic in my hand in the service area of Ikea. With one short glimpse every employee recognized the part and its purpose. With a raised eyebrow they looked at me and said: “You want to buy a spare part for this? Hm…, no…, that’s already old!”

I was wondering, seeing all the other people waiting in the area, if they were here to buy spare parts for a recently bought product and if this would be a sign in favour or contra Ikea. Without achieving anything I went home.

If you have a closer look, surprisingly the area of the breaking point seems to be thinned out although most of the load will be supported by this.

So I started an online research and found a place which is dedicated to such things: The Fab Lab Berlin. A place in which you can meet a lot of interesting people from all over the world, working on their projects. Thanks to a Open Fab Lab Tour I found on Meetup, I was able to have a glimpse into their maker space. Although I was impressed by all the possibilities and machines they offer to rent out to you I didn’t took a membership into consideration because I was just at the starting point of my project and had to do some homework first.

I told the story to a friend and he asked me why not rebuilding the part in Autodesk Fusion 360 and printing it out with an 3D Printer he has in his agency. So I walked home with a borrowed vernier caliper and a big list of tutorials and started the project. The program is very intuitive and has a huge community which gives you all the support you need to get into it. At the end my first 3D model looked great and was ready to print:

I simplified the model a bit because the bisection of the part didn’t appear useful to me at this time and only made the object more complicated to rebuild it in Autodesk Fusion 360. It became more obvious when I had to remove the supporting material from the final print. It was hard to remove the support construction inside the slender opening at the bottom of the part. I achieved it nonetheless and the part fitted the construction perfectly.

At the end everything was back to the old but by making use of the newest technologies. I am deeply impressed by this technology and will dig deeper into the topic in the future.