Solutions articles showcase ways 3D Printing can quickly solve unique problems.
Don't you hate it when you rush home from the local Big Box store so you can enjoy the latest gadget, only to find that the installation procedure isn't 100% compatible with your desire to live a pain-free life? You're not alone - it happens to me all the time!
The usually tried-and-true doorbell to my house, which produces beautiful chimes when it works, recently stopped functioning. I investigated, but couldn't quickly determine the problem. No worries, I'll save it for another day -- but it's quite annoying not having a functioning doorbell. How will I know when someone is ready to spread the Good Word to me?
I set out to purchase a simple wireless doorbell kit - that way I wouldn't have to fiddle with running wires through walls or hooking up transformers to 120V AC lines. After getting the kit home, I realized the switch portion doesn't fit nicely where the old switch was mounted.
The builders of the house placed the original switch and cemented around it, creating a perfect hole for it. A perfect hole that isn't so perfect for my brand-new and larger wireless switch. I could chip away at the cement or I could take the civilized route and use the 3D printer.
Making the Part
I measured the original hole and printed a quick piece I could test fit. It was good on the first go, so I could move onto the next step, which was making a small extension part, and a body that the switch could press-fit in to.
I took some measurements of the switch and drew up the part in CAD. I had to adjust the tolerances a couple times to get a nice fit. I printed my test parts in white PETG, only because it was installed in the machine at the time of this project.
I could have stopped here, installed the switch, and went on living. But a white plastic holder for a white/cream colored switch is just too ugly for me. I used this as an opportunity to try and find a nice color match by using the material swatches from the Architecture Color Kit. I selected a concrete looking color, which is actually a wood-filled filament!
After taking the part off the bed, I tried to press-fit the switch in, but it was just a little too tight. This clearly illustrates how the selected material and profile settings impacts the finished part. Easy problem to remedy though, as with just a little bit of light sanding, I was able to fit the switch into its new holder easily. Happy with the state of the mini-project, I removed the switch, grabbed some screws, and mounted the newly printed adapter where the old switch used to live.
Overall, this was a fun and quick little project that took a couple hours on a Saturday afternoon. It's easy to create custom parts for your house and add nice finishing touches so that they look like they belong!