One application where a 3D printer will prove its worth is in creating replacement plastic parts for things that have broken. This is the situation that face James Bruton when he found that his Tom Tom’s windscreen mount bracket had broken and some parts had been lost.
He then decided to use his Lulzbot AO-101 3D printer to create replacement part that was modeled on AutoCAD123D. Making a new Tom Tom sat nav sucker mount was not viable so he had a brainwave to use a “donor” cell phone windscreen mount and 3D print an adapter bracket to connect the two.
After modeling the adapter, which included the ball joint which had to be filed down, the original Tom Tom mount now connects up to the new cell phone sucker mount. The following video takes us through the process.
One difficulty in creating a part like this is that James had to model the part from scratch using AutoCAD. Without a 3D scanner it is difficult to replicate broken parts with a 3D printer. We’re waiting for a 3D printer with an integrated 3D scanner which would make a great device that is able to copy objects in one easy step.