3D printing – a practical application

Fellowes paper shredder PS60C-2

I have a Fellowes PS60C-2 paper shredder. some months ago it stopped working, so I opened it up.

Fellowes paper shredder PS60C-2

Opened case of Fellowes paper shredder PS60C-2

that revealed a tooth on one cog had sheared off and shattered.

Disassembled drive box from Fellowes paper shredder PS60C-2

Broken cog from Fellowes paper shredder PS60C-2

a search online for spare parts yielded nothing for this relatively elderly model (over 16 years old, so not bad going).

I could find a similar model on Amazon for about £40. however, I doubt that would last anything like 16 years. as the model I have cost £80 in 2002, which is worth about £115 today, I probably need to spend over £100 for something that will last.

this highlights a big problem with prices: they are poor indicators of value. for a good like a shredder or a washing machine, it would be more informative and fairer to be charged an annual price. as it is, we have to play a lottery. if you pay £400 up-front for a washing machine, you might get lucky and get ten years’ service, at £40/year; if you’re really unlucky, you might get just two years, at £200/year. there is of course a problem with this: a family of six will use the machine much more intensively than a retired single person. so, maybe we should be paying per hour of operation.

back to the shredder … other than a broken cog, the shredder looks to be in good order, so I wondered if I could find someone to 3D-print a replacement cog. I posted a request on the Cambridge Makespace forum.

shortly afterwards, Drew Ewen responded. we met. I gave him the broken cog to work from. he created a CAD (computer aided design) file and converted it into instructions for a 3D printer.

CAD rendering of replacement cog for Fellowes paper shredder PS60C-2

after a couple of failed attempts printing, he had a good-looking replica for me.

Replacement cog for Fellowes paper shredder PS60C-2

I replaced the broken cog with the replica.

New cog installed in Fellowes paper shredder PS60C-2

I reassembled the case and gave the shredder a whirl …

it worked!

I paid Drew a modest amount for his time and materials, which was considerably less than I would have had to pay for a comparable replacement shredder. so, I’m happy to have saved some money, avoided incurring a large carbon cost and saved a large item from going to landfill (some of the metal might have been recycled, but probably not much else).

By edward

Edward Leigh is a senior transport policy officer in local government. He holds an MSc in Transport Economics from the University of Leeds Institute for Transport Studies, gained with distinction in 2019. His thesis explored modelling of innovative interventions in the Cambridge road network to give more road space and traffic signal time incrementally to buses, cycles and pedestrians, without causing intolerable disruption to general traffic. He founded a transport think tank and campaign group, Smarter Cambridge Transport, in 2015, which he lead until 2022. The group advanced sustainable, integrated and equitable transport for the Cambridge region. It has forensically analysed the business cases for several of the region’s transport schemes, and has proposed many innovations to improve provision for active and public transport, including travel hubs (also called mobility hubs), Inbound Flow Control (more efficient than traditional bus lanes), and ‘lollipop’ routing of buses in cities, such as Cambridge, where radial roads are connected by in an inner ring road.

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