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Thread: 3D printing of sewing machine parts

  1. #1
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    3D printing of sewing machine parts

    I have been in a discussion with a few folks on Needlebar regarding the future of replacement parts for old machines using 3D printing.

    I did some searching on Shapeways(the site i use for 3D printing of stuff) and lo and behold...

    http://www.shapeways.com/model/10600...ductBox-search

    This is a top bevel gear for a singer 306... How is that for cool

    Printed in Stainless Steel it is $35.52 (currently)

    Lots of room for improvement, but what a start.

    I have been designing 3D parts on my PC for a while in anticipation of this process.

    I may print a couple Wheeler Wilson 8 parts to test them out.

  2. #2
    Junior Member MadCow333's Avatar
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    I confess to not quite understanding that technology. But I'd like to.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Windblown's Avatar
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    What a great application for this . A great idea.

    ~Karen
    Kasey 1937 221-1 Featherweight, Red Eye Singer Treadle 66-1, 2 301's both long and short bed, 403, Free Number 5 Treadle, Jones hand crank Kenmore 158 19131, Viking Lilly 555

  4. #4
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    Is this like pressing parts out? I don't understand either. But that's not news.ha.

  5. #5
    Super Member mlmack's Avatar
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    Printing in 3D involves a machine that lays down multiple layers of material, usually some form of plastic, that eventually builds up into whatever shape you wanted to print.

    Not sure how a solid stainless steel part would get printed.

  6. #6
    Super Member NikkiLu's Avatar
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    You and me both!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by MadCow333 View Post
    I confess to not quite understanding that technology. But I'd like to.
    Nikki in MO

  7. #7
    Super Member JudyTheSewer's Avatar
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    Very cool! This technology could keep a lot of great machines running long into the future.

  8. #8
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlmack View Post
    Printing in 3D involves a machine that lays down multiple layers of material, usually some form of plastic, that eventually builds up into whatever shape you wanted to print.

    Not sure how a solid stainless steel part would get printed.
    Ditto that on not understanding how to use a 3D printer to make anything out of steel ... unless he means making a plastic prototype then taking the prototype to a CNC machine to mill out???

    Wanna clue us in Steve?
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  9. #9
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Quick lesson in 3D printing....

    Imagine a cake decorator (bag of frosting with little tiny plastic/metal tip)

    Use the cake decorator moving back and forth to lay a layer of frosting in the table

    Let it cool a bit

    Add a new layer on top

    repeat this until you have a cube of frosting

    You just 3D printed a "cube"

    Now make it a machine not you
    Now make it plastic instead of frosting
    Now make the hole at the end of the "decorator" 1/10 of a millimeter across

    That is for plastic printing

    Metal is done the same way but it is ultra fine metal powder mixed with a bonding agent(epoxy)
    after making it they sinter (HIGH temp bake) it to remove the moisture and fuse it back into solid(ish) material

    Fine metals like Silver are done with the printer printing the "wax master" and then using traditional lost wax casting make the silver part.

  10. #10
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    I use a free 3D drafting program called eMachineshop. I design the part, have the program save the design as a .STL 3d data image, upload it to Shapeways, they validate the design in 10 minutes or less, then you can order it. My parts have been coming in about 2 weeks.


    The really amazing use of this is in artificial knees and such. they can do a MRI of the knee, superimpose the 3dCAD drawing of the base replacement joint, adjust the design to fit the patient, and then have it produced using a more expensive method called "laser sintering" to produce a flawless Stainless steel part in 48 hours... AMAZING!!!

    Laser Sintering is where they take a "box" of tightly packed metal powder and aim three lasers at it. one from the top, one from the side, one from the end.

    ONLY where all three meet is it hot enough to melt the powder.

    they keep the lasers moving back and forth like the above printing until done.
    They literally lift the fused metal part out of the powder. (Think of it as greenware ceramics)
    then they fire it in a furnace to complete the fusing until it is solid, really solid.
    then a polish and ship...

  11. #11
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    The technology is fascinating, and practical applications are expanding. Public information about the process has become more well known due to news stories about the manufacturing of functioning weapons, esp guns. I'm mostly intrigued by the medical applications, but it would be nice to just manufacture missing machine parts.

  12. #12
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Maybe we could get replacement metal gears made for some of the Singer's with plastic gears. Or those machines that have a tendency to crack the plastic cam stacks. That would make me perk up with interest.

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    Maybe we could get replacement metal gears made for some of the Singer's with plastic gears. Or those machines that have a tendency to crack the plastic cam stacks. That would make me perk up with interest.

    Joe

    I wonder what the present cost for doing this is and is it likely to go down in time as usually happens with new technology?

  14. #14
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    Maybe we could get replacement metal gears made for some of the Singer's with plastic gears. Or those machines that have a tendency to crack the plastic cam stacks. That would make me perk up with interest.Joe
    Brilliant!! had not thought of that!

  15. #15
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blueheavenfla View Post
    I wonder what the present cost for doing this is and is it likely to go down in time as usually happens with new technology?
    The current cost of that gear is $35.52
    It would have not been possible 1 year ago (in this market)
    Next year I predict 1/2 this price...

    We have time to plan..... learn simple cad.... make designs... build a library of patterns...

  16. #16
    Super Member dellareya's Avatar
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    I sent you a private PM. Hope it gets to you. This Technology is fascinating. It blew mine mind years ago when we first started hearing about 3D printers. The possibilities are endless. I've told my students about advanced technology concepts for years. So many "concepts" are now everyday reality.
    P.S I also live in San Lorenzo, but only for the last 55 years.

  17. #17
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    In 1966 Gene Rodenberry's Star Trek was fantastical science fiction. Now, it is reality.

    I was either born 100 years too late, sigh, or 100 years too soon. Nuts!

    Joe

  18. #18
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveH View Post
    Metal is done the same way but it is ultra fine metal powder mixed with a bonding agent(epoxy)
    after making it they sinter (HIGH temp bake) it to remove the moisture and fuse it back into solid(ish) material

    Ahhhhhh!!! I know how 3D printers work with plastics and pulp products, but had not heard of the metal powder.

    how does the strength of the powder metal parts compare to regular forged metals?
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  19. #19
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Sue,

    Scintered (sic) metal castings are nothing new. And they can be very strong and durable. Winchester started making the receivers for the 94s lever guns from scintered metal in 1964. The powdered metal was mixed with a binder then put into a mold and super heated to melt the metal. The resulting part needed much less final machining and fitting, thus reducing costs. This was continued until about 1981. There is no lack of strength or durability with them. The only problem is this type of metal will not take a normal chemical bluing.

    MIM, ( Metal Injection Molding ) is another form of manufacturing where powdered metal is used with a binder or catalyst to make parts. Again strong and durable.

    I doubt it matters how the powdered metal is shaped as long as the proper heating and heat treating is done with the finished part.

    Joe

  20. #20
    Super Member quiltjoey's Avatar
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    Way over my head but sounds, "way cool"!!!

  21. #21
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    The possibilities for 3D printing are astounding and as the printers get more portable and affordable for home/individual use. While it's awesome that people can upload files and have them custom printed, some day it would be cool if, instead of ordering parts, we could just print them on demand. It would be so nice to not have planned obsolescence.

  22. #22
    Super Member Lyncat's Avatar
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    This thread has been very educational for me! Interesting stuff!

  23. #23
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    A friend of mine has been involved in a reprap project and I've watched with interest as he has replicated things in plastic. Don't know why I didn't have a light bulb moment to think about reproducing sewing machine parts. I guess because I didn't know they could be reproduced in metal. Thanks for sharing this most interesting discussion.

  24. #24
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trivia42 View Post
    ... some day it would be cool if, instead of ordering parts, we could just print them on demand.
    Someday is today. in fact you can choose the material and color prior to it being made, something not available with traditional manufacturing.

    HP is now marketing in Europe a 3D printer for home use. If HP is in the market, it is here to stay....

    Go up to the Shapeways website and check the HUGE list of parts and things you can order from people who are on the site. You design a part, make it public, decide the "my fee" and turn it loose. anytime someone buys a part you designed, you get your cut.....

    The REAL benefit that I see in this is that peoples creativity is no longer limited by what equipment they have access to and creating a prototype is no longer an expensive proposition.

    My daughter loves to make "chainmail" jewelry and things but doing the small work with existing pliers is rough. I took the design of a small pair of bolt cutters, scaled it down to one hand sized, and replaced the cutters with narrow jaws. We are on the v2 prototype. the first was too small and had a bind in the movement. it only cost $40 to print and discover that. v2 is going to be printed in a couple weeks. same price.
    Last edited by SteveH; 06-17-2013 at 07:47 AM.

  25. #25
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Ok, Here is the original thread I started about 3D printing.

    let's chat this emerging topic up!

    My boss just bought a home 3D printer. after the holidays we will be playing with it here for a bit. Should be fun!

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