One of the most practical applications for 3D printing touted by advocates is the use of the technology to replace spare parts. Whether obsolete, expensive, or just too far away, a replacement component can be hard to come by. If you’ve got a CAD file for the piece you need, though, you can either print it out at home or through a local 3D printing service. The only problem with this is that not every part has a corresponding 3D model. Kazzata, as far as I know, is the first marketplace to fill this very practical and very important niche.
The idea is pretty simple: if you need a spare part, you go to Kazzata. On the marketplace, you’ll find a variety of 3D printable files. It’s fairly small, as the company starts out, but you can find such unique items as a seat handle to any Ford Ka made between 1996 and 2008. Depending on the designer’s preference, you’ll be able to get the part for free or a small price, half of which goes to Kazzata. In the case of the Ka handle, it’s free!
Can’t find it on their marketplace? Request that the part be designed or supplied by a manufacturer, sending them all of the info you have about it, including photographs of the piece you need replicated. Designers will bid to try their best to replicate the part or the manufacturer will supply the actual CAD file to Kazzata. Next, you’ll either receive the file for printing at home or Kazzata can set you up with the nearest 3D printer in their network to have it printed for you.
Right now, Kazzata is just a nice looking website with a great idea, but as the marketplace grows, their services will be even more valuable. From the consumer’s stand point, it may be possible to easily replace broken items in their lives. Kazzata, however, points, out an extremely interesting prospect for manufacturers: “Today, you have to predict the quantities of spare parts that will be needed in each location around the globe, and then manufacture, store and transport parts on demand. And you lose money on slow moving parts, and likewise when there is unexpected demand and the parts are not available. Kazzata takes the hassle and risk out of this whole process, letting you move to a completely on-demand model. We store and manage the digital design files of your spare parts, and then 3D print them right when customers need them.” Reducing storage for goods has been an oft promoted benefit of 3D printing for manufacturers, but Kazzata is the first company (that I’m aware of) taking advantage of this directly. As we’ve seen from good business ideas in the past, though, they won’t be the only one doing so for long. My hunch is that you can look forward to other 3D printed spare parts sites, soon.