Not long after iRobot announced that their next version of the Roomba robotic floor cleaner would be hackable with 3D printed mods, vacuum giant Hoover announced a 3D printing spin to their own classic cleaning product. Hoover has opened up their upright vacuums to 3D printing mods through the popular MakerBot-owned file sharing site, Thingiverse, so that you can now print accessories for your standard vac.
Beginning with two accessories for the new Hoover Air Cordless vacuum, the company is hoping to bring new life to their cleaning products. Over at Thingverse, you can currently download a snap-on battery mount for an extra LithiumLife battery for the Air Cordless and a flashlight mount for cleaner’s extension wand, to shed light on dark and dirty places. The company has also published two cute models for legacy Hoover vacuums, for the nostalgic vacuum connoisseurs out there. If you have access to a 3D printer or love cleaning enough to outsource to a 3D printing service, you can 3D print Hoover’s parts to spruce up your sprucer upper.
Global Vice President of Product Development for Hoover, Paul Bagwell, says of the new pilot program, “3D printing at home will offer unique opportunities for brands like Hoover. We wanted to explore those opportunities early in the development of the technology. We are driven by innovation that meets consumers’ needs, and we are continually evaluating new technology that may help deliver this.”
The company states in their announcement that they’ve been working on this project for months now, with Hoover engineers and developers asking, “how can we design vacuum tools and accessories that better address consumer needs?” The company plans to continue addressing those needs with more designs this coming spring with even more printable tools.
Though it may be difficult to argue that an ordinary vacuum is as exciting as iRobot’s robotic counterpart, it seems that 3D printing gimmicks are becoming an increasingly necessary part of a company’s marketing campaign these days, ensuring that they are “tech savvy” and “current”. Making their printed designs publicly available also opens up their product development to the world’s design community, saving the company time and money they’d have originally spent on R&D – another lesson being learned from large businesses that have begun taking advantage of the open source movement.
Nevertheless, an interesting development, leading me to ask: would you 3D print accessories for your vacuum? And, also, what other common appliance do you think could use some gimmicky 3D printed parts?