Use 3D CAD Modeling, 3D Scanning, and 3D Printing to Fabricate Discontinued Parts

Consumer products are changing every day. Manufacturers continuously develop new models, and sometimes discontinue sales or support of legacy products. This can cause frustration for customers, because they are forced to upgrade their older products to the newest model when their older product breaks. Other customers search for the discontinued parts in old-inventory on the internet or various auction sites.

What if you could just have someone manufacture the replacement part for you?

Isn’t that really expensive?

The answer to these questions is actually… “It depends.” Parts that have complex geometry or use multiple materials can cost more to duplicate. In some cases, it can cost more than the cost to replace the original product.

However, for many consumer, mechanical, or aesthetic parts, there is hope! We have successfully leveraged 3D CAD modeling and 3D printing to manufacture one-off and small batches of replacement parts for reasonable prices.

What do you need to do?

Send us the part

The easiest way for us to determine the design intent, take accurate measurements, and do our reverse-engineering is to have the actual part in our hands.

We take things from there!

We Digitize the part

After we take accurate measurements, we use Solidworks 3D CAD to model the part.

3D scanners can also be used to take a point cloud directly from the part. The point cloud can then be converted into a surface model or solid model.

We Prepare the model for printing

When the 3D model is ready, the next step is to prepare it for printing. We use various software “slicers.” These programs virtually slice the part into thin layers that are printed sequentially to build up the print. These layers are then combined with settings in the software, and post-processed to output the G-Code. This G-Code is the same type of language that runs any CNC machine in a machine shop.

We Print the part

After we generate the G-Code, we prepare the printer for operation. Typically, this involves cleaning the build plate, or the surface on which the printer deposits its many layers of material to build up the part. We clean the print nozzle to prevent any residue from previous prints from producing blemishes or discoloration on the new part. Finally, we load the appropriate filament or resin into the printer. After we do all of this, we finally load the G-Code file and start the print.

We Inspect the part

To make sure that the part conforms to your specifications, we inspect critical part dimensions.

We Post Process the part

After the printer completes its program, we harvest, or remove, the product from the build plate. Depending on complexity, parts from our FDM machines may have had water soluble supports. Typically, these do not leave artifacts on the surface of the part, but we sometimes have to do minor cleanup.

In the case of SLA parts, a lattice of support material supports the part. We must manually remove these supports, and clean up the surface of the part.

We Ship the parts

Don’t worry, we professionally and securely pack your parts, the original and new part, in sturdy packaging, and send everything to you with insurance and tracking.

Easy as that!

Not being able to find replacement parts for older products can be very frustrating. We can leverage our skills with 3D CAD modeling and 3D printing to breathe new life into your legacy products, keeping them out of the landfill and providing value to you for years to come.