Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Same-day Repair

Here's a true story just like the 3D printing hype I see in magazines and newspapers.

This morning the Snooze button didn't work on my twenty-year-old Westclox 22651.  It wouldn't move, it didn't click, it didn't do anything.  I tried to buy a new clock, but my local store didn't have any suitable replacements.

Could I fix it myself?  I disassembled the clock and found the cause of the problem: the snooze button was supposed to click against a membrane switch, but the plastic pin had broken off so the button was non-functional.

Hey!  That would be easy to fix by building a little spacer to replace the pin.  I brought out the calipers and took measurements: the rib is 2mm wide and 3mm high, the cavity is 5.8mm wide, and the required distance from the top of the rib to the membrane switch is 4mm.  Easy.

Too easy, in fact.  In less than an hour I had designed a new part on the computer, built it, and installed it in the clock.

It worked perfectly, without requiring any adjustments...nor even glue!  The spacer fits neatly between the button and the circuit board, held in alignment by the rib on the underside of the button.

If you've got a similar clock that needs repair, just download the model from Thingiverse.

Funny, I didn't even lose any sleep over it.


  1. Scott, I'm showing this one to my husband. I just know he'll love it.

  2. Scott, I know this question is not related to "A Same-Day Repair", but where do you get your consumables? I have a SD300 Pro also and my consumables have almost reached the end of their 2 year shelf life. Also, where do you get replacement magnetic pads and knives?

    1. I continue to buy my supplies from the folks at SolidVision, who equipped me with the machine in the first place. Click my profile picture and send me an email if you want all the details.

      Shelf life hasn't been an issue for me: I recently got an old 'blue' modeling kit, dated 2007, and it works perfectly. A user who got a dried-out Anti-Glue cartridge said it worked okay after he diluted it with distilled water. (But, I wonder, how?)

      3D Systems used to sell the previous-generation SD300 under their Invision LD brand. If you already know a 3D Systems dealer, inquire if they can sell you VisiJet LD100 modeling kits. (But an Invision LD user told me 3D Systems charges a lot more for the same supplies, so caveat emptor!)

  3. Imagine this! If a part on your 3D printer breaks, maybe you can print a replacement part on your 3D printer (especially if you print it before it breaks). One can imagine a 3D printer that was capable of replicating itself. Whoa!