Everyone has at least one broken appliance lying in a corner or closet, waiting to get fixed. A good friend reached out to Practical 3D Printing, with a broken appliance that couldn’t wait for a fix. His clothes dryer’s door handle broke off and the replacement was +$100. Since his dryer is used daily, he needed a solid replacement in a hurry. Challenge Accepted!
This dryer has a round door in front, with a glass window. The handle attaches to one side, forming a roughly 60 degree arc. It’s held in place by three screws that attach in soft plastic towers. All three of these towers were broken on this piece (but are superglued in place in these pics to give you an idea).
A caliper reveals a 7.5″ radius and a compound curve on the broad slanted surface. The towers are 4mm (ID) and 8mm (OD) and extend about 30mm.
Update 1 : 9/26/2013
We modeled this part in OpenScad in about 2 hours. We strengthened the design with more internal support structure and thicker attachment points. Note that this design requires inserts/sleeves to be glued into the attachment points. The inserts can be barbed metal or plastic and will accept the original machine screws.
Check it out on GitHub
We printed this model using MakerWare onto blue painter’s tape in draft mode. Despite using a raft, both ends of the print lifted ~2mm, even stretching the tape. The resulting print was fine on one side and off/compressed by almost 3mm on the other.
- Printer: MakerBot Replicator 2
- Software: MakerWare (using MakerBot slicer)
- Settings: Draft mode (10% infill, 0.3mm layer, 90mm/s), Rafts and Supports enabled.
- Print Time: ~3 hours
- Material: Translucent Black 1.75mm PLA
- Mass (Weight): 54.5 grams (0.12lbs)
We had the original item to replicate and a rough description of the door. Next time we’re getting detailed pictures of the broken part and anything it touches. This would have saved considerable time iterating on the design.
We had originally considered scanning this piece, but decided that it was simple enough to model directly. We’ll scan the next one.
We’re pretty pleased with the first attempt at replicating this part, but there’s definitely room for improvement. We’ll be addressing these things in the next revision:
- Adjust the size of the screw towers, based on the actual clearance on the dryer’s door.
- Increase the height of the outer lip by 2mm to match the original part.
- Add in the smooth lip and the compound curve to the slanted surface!
- Increase the model’s polygon count to get a smoother print. We might even try smoothing this piece with THF!
Check back often for updates!