The idea of 3D printable replacement parts for house appliances has long been something that large brands and startups have imagined and it now the time seems to have come. With the new 3D4U portal, premium domestic appliance manufacturer Miele becomes the first company in its branch of industry to offer its customers a broad range of 3D printable accessories.
The company is starting by releasing data records for ten objects which can be downloaded with immediate effect and free of charge from the Thingiverse platform. These include kitchen gadgets, vacuum cleaner accessories and useful items for a handyman. Several models even have customizable motifs and parameters. With easy to use, durable 3D printers now really costing just over 200 dollars or euros, 3D printing accessories becomes a practical option.
In advanced industries such as aerospace and motorsports, 3D printing has long been commonplace. But this technology is also becoming increasingly popular in private households. ‘With 3D4U, we aim to offer our customers additional benefits and put ideas into practice which we were not previously able to implement as part of our comprehensive portfolio of accessories’, said David Buhl, 3D4U project manager at Miele’s Bielefeld plant. ‘In doing so, each part reflects our expertise in product development, for instance more than 90 years of Miele experience in floor care’.
Each 3D4U accessory comes replete with a description of the recommended printing parameters, with technical feasibility tested using a standard desktop filament extrusion 3D printer. Miele recommends the use of filaments made from polylactides (PLA) in the 3D printing process, which are the most common, affordable and biodegradable plastics available.
For the 3D4U launch, Miele is offering ten objects in the three categories ‘Kitchen gadgets’, ‘Vacuum cleaners’ and ‘Handyman’. These include a borehole cleaning aid with an airflow design optimised in computer simulations – just like product development for Miele vacuum cleaners. Fitted to the handle tube, this device sticks to the wall, leaving both hands free to operate the drill.
Another useful device is the 3D4U valuables separator. Thanks to the fine structure of the membrane in the attachment, this vacuum cleaning accessory never fails as a versatile helper, preventing smaller valuable items from landing in the dust bag or container. Whether vacuuming boxes, drawers or even handbags, cleaning building blocks or searching deep-pile carpeting for a lost ear-ring – dirt disappears into the bag, leaving your valuables behind.
3D4U also offers handy accessories for use around the kitchen as printable downloads, for example a coffee clip. This device allows packagig to be re-sealed once opened and the contents to be precisely dispensed via a screw cap. This keeps coffee beans and other pourable products fresh for longer. The 3D4U motif dispenser, which conjures up a motif on a coffee with cocoa powder or castor sugar on cakes and biscuits, makes for great variety. Users can easily create their own motifs by downloading cap templates and adding their own motifs using a CAD program.