With this post, I'm starting a new category called blitz. This category will contain 3D-printing projects that are fast in execution and are performed in somewhat urgent circumstances.
I'm subscribed to Curiosity Box — a service that sends you a box full of geeky awesomeness four times per year. The last box that I got had a drinking bird toy/experiment.
Sadly, one of the legs of the bird was missing. Now that was a bummer. I twitted about it, and soon the official Curiosity Box account responded and promised to resolve all the problems.
I did not doubt that the Curiosity Box team will send me the missing leg, or even a new bird. But I already told my daughter that I would show her an exciting drinking bird, and it was very annoying that I can't do it.
But then I thought: "Hey, the legs are simple shapes made out of plastic, and I have a 3D printer that prints plastic." So I took a photo of the available leg, imported it into Fusion 360. Then I sketched up something over the imported canvas and extruded it to the correct thickness. The print took only 15 minutes.
That was it. I had the missing leg after about half-hour of modeling and printing. And it works as well as the original.
The Curiosity Box team contacted me on Twitter in one day and told me that they could assist me with this problem. But I already have a working bird… I thought that it does not make sense to send something now and waste our world resources if I don't benefit from it. I thought about asking them to add the leg to the next box that they will send to me. But again, I have a working bird. And the original injection-molded part is not much better than the one I printed. Moreover, if I use this bird a lot, I can print epic muscular legs that are way better then the original ones. And I can make a base that includes a water reservoir on a perfect distance next to the bird.
I think we are still far away from the age where 3D printers are as reliable and affordable as are currently the 2D paper printers. But imagine if one day you didn't have to ship tons of plastic around. You would ship essentials and send 3D models over email. Edelkrone is already doing that. Check out their ORTAK products.