Handling Scottish Community Housing: 3D Printworks Case Study

We live in a throwaway society, everyday countless appliances and objects are discarded thoughtlessly due to minor malfunctions which could be rectified with small repairs. We hope that accessible 3D-printing services and technology can enable businesses and individuals to fix things for themselves with easily manufactured replacement parts. This blog is a case study of a project 3D Printworks completed for a Scottish community housing client which illustrates 3D printing's usefulness in minimising waste, prototyping and lean production. 

We were approached by our client and tasked to replicate and re produce a fragile door handle which was too often needing replaced within Scottish community housing homes.

The handle is a replacement for the handle you would find on a shower door. If the original handle gets damaged it causes the entire shower door to need replacing. Such maintenance was proving time consuming and expensive for those responsible, so they quite rightly searched for an alternative in ourselves. Happy to oblige, we took on the task and manufactured a replacement handle which could be used to easily supplant a faulty handle and in doing so would nullify the necessity of a replacement. 

These kinds of small functional objects are where 3D printing can be at its most useful. One of our engineers were able to measure and copy the dimensions of the original handle and produce a CAD drawing which is a kind of technical drawing that can be understood by our 3D printer.

The original handle was most likely created by injection moulding a polycarbonate material. This method has the advantage of being similarly speedy to 3D printing however can be comparatively costly when only a small production run is needed. In this instance 3D printing allows for a lean approach to manufacturing this item meaning only what is needed is produced and value is not lost. 

 

Prototypes of Handles in a row
Handle prototypes

Prototypes

In order to achieve the required strength and quality of the object we firstly had to produce some requisite iterations to get things perfect. You can see these iterations below and the progressively increasing solidity of the part (left to right). We printed the handle using our own brand "Snow White" PLA and "Bold Black" PLA 3D printer filament.

The finished product (right) is sturdy, cheap to produce, light and manufactured using Natureworks sustainable materials. 3D printing here has proved an ideal option for this very specific circumstance and in doing so has reduced waste whilst effectively problem solving. We are proud to see this item going to use in a Scottish community housing project.

3D Printworks offers professional printing services to make your projects and ideas a reality. If you or your business think you may benefit from our 3D printing services then please contact us and a member of our team will guide you through the processes from concept to creation.