3D printing – a practical application
I have a Fellowes PS60C-2 paper shredder. some months ago it stopped working, so I opened it up.
that revealed a tooth on one cog had sheared off and shattered.
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.
after a couple of failed attempts printing, he had a good-looking replica for me.
I replaced the broken cog with the replica.
I reassembled the case and gave the shredder a whirl …
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).