note to self — don’t replicate things that are flawed

My first at-home 3D printed object was a replacement for a wall-mounted ceiling fan remote control holder that had an arm broken off. Way back when, I thought it was going to be a great first attempt at learning how to mimic an everyday object and printing a new one, thus finding immediate value in owning a 3D printer. Yesterday I learned that I was wrong.

I wasn’t wrong in the “finding immediate value in owning a 3D printer” part, but rather I was wrong that mimicking an existing object that was broken was a good idea.

You see, my wife was vacuuming yesterday and hit the remote with the end of the vacuum as she was pushing it around the room. The same arm that was broken off on the original holder snapped off of my replacement holder in exactly the same way. What became apparent was that the object that I replicated was flawed to begin with; it is designed in such a way that this sort of accident will invariably break off an arm.

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It should have been apparent that the walls of the arm were too thin, and that I should have made them thicker, or have a little more width at the base. But I wanted to keep to the measurements as closely as I could. I mean, a large company has engineers and industrial designers that made these things to specs that will last a lifetime, right?

Now I get to redesign the holder in such a way that should my wife hit it again, an arm won’t break off. In fact, I should probably not even use “arms”, but a more encasing “wrap”. This will be fun!

While I learned one lesson yesterday, this incident also reinforced the value of owning a 3D printer. I wasn’t upset that my wife broke the holder, or that it broke at all. Instead I get to print another one; I can print another one. I can make it better.

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