These brands are Adafruit, Bohemia Interactive, Cooler Master, Framework Computer, Noctua, Raspberry Pi, Warhorse Studios, World of Warships, and Prusa Research. All 3D models shared on Printables.com are free, enabling anybody to download and print them at home. Some replacement parts can be printed domestically and on-demand, avoiding inventory and shipping costs. This also simplifies the process for brands to assist the right-to-repair initiative.
In addition to replacement parts, enterprises can also develop accessories and mods for their products. This enables customers to personalize and enhance their products, increasing their value and distinctiveness. And for fans of popular games and movies, brands can create official fan models, such as figures, costumes, and props.
“We’d like to thank all our partners for releasing their models on Printables and helping us start a shift in the industry. We hope that in a few years, it will be the norm to release 3D printable models to accompany the brand’s products. Having all of these models available will be a huge plus for the customers and add value to the product itself. And we expect a community of makers growing around each of the brands with a presence on Printables, with user-made improvements or add-ons,” said Josef Průša, CEO and Founder at Prusa Research.
Features provided by the brands on Printables.com
Users can print detailed models of the USS St. Louis. World of Warships, Wargaming’s free-to-play naval warfare multiplayer game, will share a detailed model of the World War I cruiser St. Luis. All components of the ship can be printed with no assistance on an Original Prusa MINI+ sized printer. Most components can be easily assembled together without the need for glue. The model was designed by Prusa Research designer Vlado Turek to demonstrate how far FDM printing can be pushed. Although the ship is over 80 cm long, users need just two 1kg spools for the entire model. All of the guns, cranes, anchors, and screws are movable. There are over 70 moving parts in total.
Cooler Master, a computer hardware manufacturer, allows users to browse replacement parts and case mods. Cooler Master intends to improve case customization by releasing 3D printable replacement parts and accessories. The company says this “move comes as no surprise”, provided that 3D printed mods are regularly used in their annual Cooler Master Case Mod World Series. This year, Printables.com was the primary sponsor of the Best Art Direction category in the competition.
With its 3D printable Mainboard Case, Framework joins the community. After upgrading their Framework notebook, users can use the remaining mainboard and 3D printed case to build a high-performance single-board computer. The only step customers need to follow is to insert the memory and plug in a USB-C power adapter.
The Czech game developer studio Bohemia Interactive is anticipated to share 3 models from their games. These models included a tank from the military sandbox Arma III, the infamous Yellow King from the post-apocalyptic survival game DayZ, and the Gryphon from the playful Ylands. Raspberry Pi, a producer of single-board computers, is joining the platform with cases for their boards, projects, and highlights of community creations.
Adafruit, an open-source hardware manufacturer, has reportedly been engaged in Printables since day one, publishing over 200 projects that incorporate their products. Noctua fans can now download spacers, brackets, and adapters. Noctua has made 3D printable spacers and fan ducts for their products available.
The developers of the popular medieval RPG game Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Warhorse Studios, have released a 3D printable figure of the game’s protagonist, Henry. RPG game fans can print and own a physical version of the game’s main character. The figure is ideally printed on an SLA printer, but it can also be printed on any FDM printer if scaled appropriately.
Furthermore, users can find all printable parts for the Original Prusa printers, as well as parts for the accessories on the company’s official brand profile.
“Right to Repair” and production of spare parts using 3D printing
As a result of the European Parliament’s Right to Repair legislation, companies that sell consumer electronic goods in the European Union (EU) have been required to ensure that they can be repaired for up to a decade since 2021. 3D Printing Industry asked EOS, Spare Parts 3D, DiManEx, Ricoh 3D, and Link3D for their perspectives on how 3D printed spare parts could assist consumer appliance manufacturers to comply with legislation while preventing massive physical stocks of replacement parts and subsequent costs.
Furthermore, Replique, a company founded by BASF‘s business incubator Chemovator, teamed up with German home appliance manufacturer Miele to develop and ship 3D printed accessories through its decentralized production network. Replique and Miele’s partnership announcement was timely, given the EU legislation granting consumers the “Right to Repair” on the goods they purchase.
Previously, Royal Dutch Shell had been using 3D printing for design prototyping and tooling for some time before shifting its focus to additively manufacturing spare parts. The company is 3D printing spare parts for hard-to-reach areas including its offshore platforms employing metal Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) technologies.
Elsewhere, Kimya, the additive manufacturing materials arm of technology company ARMOR, offered 3D printing services for the railway industry. An unidentified railway supplier turned to Kimya to 3D print a small quantity of a protective cover component developed in 1982 using the Kimya Factory manufacturing service. Because the mold for the cover no longer existed, the spare parts had to be redesigned from the ground up before production. The team was able to provide the 3D printed protective covers with cost reductions and shorter lead times by employing a PEKK filament developed in-house at the company’s R&D center, Kimya Lab.
3D printing platforms
Recently, Sigma Additive Solutions, a developer of quality assurance software for the 3D printing industry, revealed that it entered the EOS Developer Network (EDN) established by EOS, a leading 3D printer manufacturer. Sigma can offer software and analytics applications that are built on EOS application programming interfaces (APIs). The EDN partner program streamlines services and tools, allowing Sigma to expand its software offering via the EOS digital thread, including data preparation, machine management, process data acquisition, and reporting.
Furthermore, Materialise, a global leader in 3D printing software and service solutions, revealed the names of seven technology partners for its CO-AM platform. These solutions aid in the automation of design and pre-printing, printing, post-processing, and traceability for 3D printed parts. Materialise Magics has also been integrated into CO-AM, providing a new workflow automation feature.
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Feature image shows Printables.com website interface. Image via Prusa Research.