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3D Printing 101: A Practical Application

3D Printing 101: Creating a New Wheel for a Dishwasher

3D Printing to the rescue!

If you pay much attention to the news, you will see all sorts of wonderful stories about the power of 3D printing, or additive manufacturing. From a German engineering team who has discovered how to forgo the assembly line and print an entire 3D car, to scientists who are working on printing a fully-functioning human heart, the prospects for 3D print are astonishing. But with all of these groundbreaking advancements, many readers who are not highly trained scientists or engineers are left wondering – what can 3D printing do for them?

In response, I give you, the dishwasher wheel.

A Practical Application

While cleaning up my kitchen the other day, I found that one of the wheels on my dishwasher was cracked and unusable. Knowing how ordering spare parts for appliances can be a huge pain, I was not looking forward to going online, hoping to find the correct model, or, if not, waiting on hold with customer service, then paying for the part plus shipping and handling, and waiting for weeks for the part to arrive.

Dishwasher wheel missing!

Dishwasher wheel missing!

But then it hit me, this is a great application for my Stratasys uPrint SE Plus 3D printer.

The Wheel and Clip

Using one of the unbroken wheels as a guide, I carefully measured each piece and plugged the calculations into Autodesk’s Inventor design software.

Measure the original parts

Measure the original parts

Then, I just sat back and waited while my Stratasys uPrint SE Plus created an exact duplicate of my existing wheel.

The 3D Printed parts

The 3D Printed parts

A side by side comparison

A side by side comparison

Here is a comparison of the original wheel on the left with the 3D printed wheel on the right.

Installation

I snapped the wheel in the place of the broken one and it works like a charm. No need to deal with all of the hassle.

Final Installation

Final Installation

This experience got me thinking about all of the other practical uses my printer has for replacing broken or worn out parts. With the power of the uPrint SE Plus 3D printer, I can replace nearly ant plastic part, like the handle on a drawer, or replicate all of those tiny pieces missing from my board game sets, even print period appropriate handles for a vintage dresser. Amazingly, I can create these entirely customized pieces from scratch and have them ready to go in a matter of hours, not weeks.
While this doesn’t yet replace purchasing a part from the manufacturer, it makes it possible to replace hard to find parts, or parts that are no longer made.
I hope you will stop back by this blog soon to follow us as we continue our exploration of the amazing practical applications of 3D printing. If you would like to learn more about 3D printing and how you can make it work in your company or home office, email us for more information.

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Spectra3D is a full service 3D printing company specializing in 3D printed jigs and fixtures, casting investments and prototypes.

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