The success I experienced at a getting a playful artifact printed on a 3D printed lead to the modeling of more practical piece to be printed.
The 30 year old vintage bus we live and learn is lacking some pieces on each screen, that keep it in place in the tracks. They no longer make the part, so our 3D printing assignment led me down the path of getting a replacement part modeled and printed in 3D.
I started by using 1233Dcatch to see if I could get accurate enough dimensions to design it myself.
I learned that getting a good 3D scan is not that easy, but it was a great experience.
After realizing that the precision and curves of this part would require more experience and better tools than I had access to, I decided to send my modeled file to someone who could give me an estimate on getting a more precise model of the part I modeled and getting it printed in a substance that could withstand the tension that moving a screen back and forth on a track would produce.
Johnny from Delray, whom I discovered on from Makexyz modeled the part, printed it, and provide us with the STL file for $30. You can view it in 3D here.
He quoted us an additional price if we wanted 10 more of the same part. We have decided to test it for a while. The little knobs broke off when we put the part in the window, but they don't impeded the part from doing the job of keeping the screen 'intact' on the track. We are thinking that the part needs to be printed with a slightly more flexible material.
Upon the recommendations of my classmates in Intro to Physical Computing, I've decided to try to have the part printed at Shapeway since they had a wide variety of materials to choose from. We've ordered 5 copies which comes to about $17.00 (with shipping).
Johnny's story is an interesting one so we asked him if we could interview him. This interview is a great inspiration of a young man who had an idea and thought himself the skills he needed to make his idea a reality. He has no formal training in 3D printing, but wanted to create a prototype for an invention. He not only taught himself the skills, but also brought a 3D printer to create the prototype.
He currently has a patent pending on the kitchen gadget that he invented. That is what I call a real Maker.