Thread Number: 69699  /  Tag: Member Selling Item(s)/Non Professionally
Gauging Interest in a Parts Reproduction service.
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Post# 926197   3/11/2017 at 08:16 (465 days old) by Dubis7 ()        

Hi there. I'm a student at George Mason University, and have recently partnered with the maker lab on campus to try and find a method of raising funds. I've been pitching a vintage parts reproduction service, something where people could send in examples of hard to find parts they need reproduced and have us recreate them for a fee, all while building an archive to recover the parts for future reproduction. We have 3D printing and scanning, access to an injection molder, and I've had success with small rubber part reproduction with plans to expand to both increased size and color matching for external parts.

If anyone wants to submit anything for reproduction, please let me know and I'll look into whether our setup is ready for it.

Post# 926201 , Reply# 1   3/11/2017 at 09:10 (465 days old) by TrainGuy (Key West)        

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One of the items a lot of us would like would be a set of rings for the unimatics, especially the coral and yellow rings.

Thanks, and good luck,

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Post# 926224 , Reply# 2   3/11/2017 at 12:12 (465 days old) by mickeyd (Hamburg NY)        
An answer to our prayers

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Hello Josh, and a warm welcome to Automatic Washer.

As soon as the 3D printer was launched, many of us here were so relieved that finally, at long last, we would have access to the out-of-stock parts for our beloved washing machines that we have yearned for,
for years, never thinking we'd find them again. The promise of what 3D printing could provide was literally miraculous, and a dream come true. We waxed ecstatic for days wondering when. Now you have arrived to bring it home. Thank you. How did you find us?

In addition to the rings Rich mentions, the agitator caps would be on my list, the black ones of the early 50's and the green ones atop the coral and yellow ringed modeis of 58-62.

Let us know if you can make them, as well as what other members request, and the orders will be immediate!

Post# 926231 , Reply# 3   3/11/2017 at 13:15 (465 days old) by Dubis7 ()        

Glad to hear I can help out. As a vintage appliance enthusiast myself, I was relieved when I was able to make the connection to this lab and gain access to the equipment.

I cannot make anything without examples to work from. This is all very early in experimentation, so color matching and larger parts are going to take some time to figure out, but I'm confident that it will happen very soon. If there's a part you would like to offer for reproduction, or you can work with someone who has the part and is willing to lend it as an example, please email me and we can discuss getting this going.

The key to making this work is to get a lot of people on board using the service. If we can do that, the expense can be distributed among multiple buyers and the costs can be kept very low.

Post# 926274 , Reply# 4   3/11/2017 at 18:55 (464 days old) by sfh074 (atlanta)        

sfh074's profile picture
If you could repro the '58-'62 rings in the 6th picture above, I would be in to buy a couple of sets. You would have to match the light yellow and coral colors as well and I have never seen the 3D printer filament come in those colors. Could you start by looking for printer filament in those colors first and show us a sample if you find something close? BTW, the original material along with the blue/green cap was neoprene. But if the 2 rings were made of hard plastic, that would work just fine. Here is a better shot with good color to view the 2 rings.


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Post# 926275 , Reply# 5   3/11/2017 at 19:06 (464 days old) by duke ()        

This post has been removed by the member who posted it.

Post# 926304 , Reply# 6   3/11/2017 at 21:13 (464 days old) by Dubis7 ()        

No real procedure on raising funds, we'd just like to bring some in by selling reproduction parts.

I'm not aware of any copyright issues, considering none of these parts have been produced in decades. If we get a cease and desist, we'll look more into that, but I think it'd take some real nerve for a company to call foul when they haven't cared in so long.

Post# 926306 , Reply# 7   3/11/2017 at 21:18 (464 days old) by duke ()        

This post has been removed by the member who posted it.

Post# 926360 , Reply# 8   3/12/2017 at 08:39 (464 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Wow!  This sounds wonderful!!  For years, several collectors have been hoping someone could do this.

The elusive Westinghouse door boot would be a great candidate for this process. The trouble is finding a boot to use as the model.  Would a damaged one be a good source?

I would also be interested in the cap and coloured rings for Frigidaire washers (the 1958 to 1960) style.

Can't wait to hear more about this!  I am already imagining GE transmission boots and filter- flo flumes!!

Good luck with your venture!

Post# 926492 , Reply# 9   3/13/2017 at 04:52 (463 days old) by vacbear58 (Sutton In Ashfield & London UK)        

vacbear58's profile picture
I would endorse Paul's request for a Westinghouse door boot - although in the UK we had machines based on the Westinghouse Spaemates and I am sure we could use at least a dozen units. Like wise with the Hoover Keymatic, not a machine you had, but there are a number of these needing boots. have you any idea what would make an economic quantity for production?


Post# 926537 , Reply# 10   3/13/2017 at 09:30 (463 days old) by brainardcooper (Columbia, SC)        

What about water & oil bellows for Frigidaire Rollermatics & 1-18s? Would they be something that could be reproduced?

Post# 926542 , Reply# 11   3/13/2017 at 10:00 (463 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, Iowa)        

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I can echo those who have expressed interest in the lint chaser and cirulator rings for the 3 ring Frigidaires.  I'd also add that the caps are also drying up and can be difficult to find.


While I cannot speak for everyone, at this point just having fresh, good rubber for the caps and the rings is probably weighs in a bit higher than the actual colors. I wish I had good examples of the rings to use as examples, but without good examples that are pliable and a the agitator column to do test fitting, it will be difficult to recreate these.


Bellows still turn up for Frigidaires, while these rings have been almost impossible to find for decades.



Post# 926546 , Reply# 12   3/13/2017 at 10:15 (463 days old) by jkbff (Happy Rock, ND)        

jkbff's profile picture
Hobart made KitchenAid detergent compartments? Upper 'yibble' spinner? The lower wash arm support (I'm sure someone could reproduce the metal shaft pretty easily, but could that be made of a very hard plastic or a nylon hybrid?).

Ideally, the detergent compartment could be designed in a way that there could be a channel for a liquid gasket of some sort to be used to seal the unit against the door.

Anyways, just my random thoughts for this Monday morning.

Post# 926556 , Reply# 13   3/13/2017 at 11:16 (463 days old) by joelippard (Hickory, NC)        

joelippard's profile picture

I'd certainly be interested in this too.  The possibilities are great!  I'd like to see the oil and water bellows reproduced for the pre 1-18 Frigidaire line.  They were all the same part from Unimatic up through the Solid Stub Rollermatic and you don't see those for sale as often as you used to.  I have a 1-18 bellows around here but I've never heard tell of one failing because the rubber is so thick.  Please chime in on this guys...

Post# 926562 , Reply# 14   3/13/2017 at 11:57 (463 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        
Other 1-18 parts

turquoisedude's profile picture

Gee, that got me thinking - I've got a bad tub seal in a 1-18... Getting some more of those made would be interesting and I think I know of another Canadian collector who might be able to use a spare or three!

Post# 926570 , Reply# 15   3/13/2017 at 12:23 (463 days old) by mickeyd (Hamburg NY)        
Hello Hello Joe Joel!

mickeyd's profile picture
Nice to hear from you. Still have those two Energy Rings you so generously donated, one in use, one in storage. They are a bit smaller than the originals, but they fit perfectly AND,"No more tangles!" (That's only if you don't know how to load a Frigidaire properly, LOL.)

Think you said these are for the Rollermatics, even though they work in both Unimatics and Multimatics. How thoughtful of General Motors. How we miss their Appliance Division.

JOSH~ Are these too big to make at this time?

Post# 926574 , Reply# 16   3/13/2017 at 12:35 (463 days old) by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

unimatic1140's profile picture
You can't copyright physical parts, only patent them, however patents only last 17 years so they would be long expired. So that's a non-issue.

These parts being shown are mostly made out of neoprene rubber, I'm not sure that the technology for 3-D printing can print in rubber yet, however I could be wrong.

But if the 2 rings were made of hard plastic, that would work just fine.
That would not work fine unfortunately as you wouldn't be able to get the rings to fit onto the gray detergent column without them being able to stretch.

Post# 926581 , Reply# 17   3/13/2017 at 14:14 (463 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

With the old Frigidaire's you are dead in the water without numerous parts.
I think the Energy Rings are important for the Unimatics and Multimatics. You can go without the Circulator and Lint Chaser rings but not without Energy Rings! They are very hard to find and the Energy Rings from Rollermatics are NOT a good substitute. I would buy whatever I could get. So count me in.

Of course, all the rubber parts in the world won't help a bit if you need a Torque Spring!

Post# 926649 , Reply# 18   3/13/2017 at 19:57 (462 days old) by sfh074 (atlanta)        
Hard plastic rings on detergent column

sfh074's profile picture
3D printing is still limited to hard plastic. No soft rubber. The 2 rings could be reproduced in hard plastic and made with a split which would allow you to spread it open enough to get it over the detergent column. Then simply glue them in place and place the split around the back so it is out of view. I am currently restoring both a 61 and 62 multimatic and in need of the 2 rings big time, they are totally dried out and cracking. The 2 caps are still pliable and should clean up pretty well with brake fluid. I say that since I have had pretty good success in the past. So yeah, could we start with reproducing the 2 rings in hard plastic since soft rubber isn't an option in 3D printing?

Post# 926658 , Reply# 19   3/13/2017 at 20:21 (462 days old) by kb0nes (Burnsville, MN)        

kb0nes's profile picture
The Unimatic rings and cap would really be best reproduced by molding them from a silicone or other pliable rubber material.

All one would need is a really nice original and a mold could be made. It is simply a matter of casting replacements. Once the mold was made multiple rings could easily be cast.

A molded replica could be nearly identical, although color matching may be tricky. Even the lettering would transfer.

3D printing a part like is not desirable. First you will need a scan and secondly you will see the grain that most all 'affordable' 3D printers leave behind. They just aren't all that accurate yet. Finally you would be limited to the materials that a 3D printer can melt and print with.

Post# 926787 , Reply# 20   3/14/2017 at 12:22 (462 days old) by mickeyd (Hamburg NY)        
Only JoeL knows what these are~

mickeyd's profile picture

Or who manufactured them, or where they came from. They work so well I wouldn't remove it for anything. Look how pretty, amber and somewhat translucent around the edges,
and working well for 8 years.

Joe Lippard to the enlightment chair please. ;'D

Post# 926791 , Reply# 21   3/14/2017 at 12:31 (462 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, Iowa)        

swestoyz's profile picture

The tricky part of the pulsators/energy rings are the metal collars inside. 


Years ago I contacted an outfit to see if they could "rebuild" the pulsator using a method this company had in place to recondition typewriter platens and rubber rollers for printers, etc.  They would first strip down the pulstators by removing all of the old rubber from the metal collar and vulcanizing new rubber over the collar and turning it down to shape using a lathe. 


Life distracted me and I never got around to sending a sample in.  I should pick up the pieces and see if the outfit is still willing to look at this.



Post# 926802 , Reply# 22   3/14/2017 at 13:12 (462 days old) by classiccaprice (Hampton, Virginia)        

classiccaprice's profile picture
I'd love a Westinghouse door boot and a clear/white Kenmore agitator detergent cap. Maybe an older style Kenmore for a spare as well.

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 3         View Full Size
Post# 926855 , Reply# 23   3/14/2017 at 17:16 (462 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

Ben,you are correct. That would be the challenge.

Post# 927004 , Reply# 24   3/15/2017 at 11:39 (461 days old) by Dubis7 ()        

Hey, all. Sorry about the delay. I had trouble finding this post again.

Right now, we're in the experimentation phase. We're about to start work on plastic and rubber casting in plaster, which is going to make it much easier to do larger pieces and color matching.

For ease of tracking, if you would like a part reproduced, please contact me at I cannot do any work without an example part, or at least measurements to go off of. We will be creating a website to list which parts are available once we begin building our archive, and I'll post a link to that once it's live. In the meantime, we're working on a case by case basis as we build up our equipment. I'm not asking anyone to pay or send anything until we're ready to start, and we're taking absolute care not to damage anything.

As for concerns about 3D printing rubber, don't worry, we aren't. We are 3D printing some molds, and casting rubber in either silicone putty or liquid silicone. It should allow us to more easily match hardness and color. 3D printing is mostly an intermediate step, but it can work for smaller plastic pieces.

If someone has the rubber agitator parts they'd be willing to loan to us, please contact me. I think those would be an excellent candidate for testing.

Post# 927008 , Reply# 25   3/15/2017 at 11:49 (461 days old) by sfh074 (atlanta)        

sfh074's profile picture
Josh, I sent you an email a few days ago. Please call me. Bud

Post# 927019 , Reply# 26   3/15/2017 at 13:45 (461 days old) by Dubis7 ()        

In regards to the part you're looking at, Joel, I believe we can make that work. It's large, but it's fairly thin. If you'd like to talk about reproducing it, please shoot me an email.

Post# 927180 , Reply# 27   3/16/2017 at 12:07 (460 days old) by joelippard (Hickory, NC)        

joelippard's profile picture
Those pulsators are an original equipment replacement part from Frigidaire that I purchased in a parts lot from Ebay. I sold most of them to fellow club members but kept a few in case I needed them. I have them with the "D" hole for the regular Frigidaire's and the large round hole for the 1-18 Models.

Post# 929285 , Reply# 28   3/27/2017 at 21:23 (448 days old) by TrainGuy (Key West)        
Checkin' In

trainguy's profile picture


Is there any update on your project?


Post# 979113 , Reply# 29   1/20/2018 at 07:36 by sfh074 (atlanta)        

sfh074's profile picture
Just posting to update this old thread.

Back when this thread first appeared, I jumped at the chance to talk to this Josh guy from George Mason University who was soliciting the idea to send him parts to reproduce. He was wanting to start a small business of rubber and plastic parts reproduction. I just wanted fresh agitator parts to finish a washer restoration project. Anyways, after several phone conversations, I sent him my agitator cap and rings for a '62 Frigidaire. After receiving the parts he would elaborate how the process was going and talked at length how he was getting tooling and experimenting with resins. After 5 months of nothing but hem-hawing and just talk, I finally got him to admit he hadn't done jack. Hadn't even began to make the mold for a single part. Today I feel lucky he actually returned my parts back to me!

After this brick wall experience, I started calling around and found 2 companies that were interested in taking on reproducing old rubber parts. But both had the same stipulation .... they wanted the rights to the final mold or at least a copy of the final mold. What that means is they would have the right to produce the part at will and sell the part if they wanted to. I was told I would not own the final parts since I did not design/create the original part! WTH! You want me to spend $4200 just to create the injection mold, for the agitator cap alone, and then I don't have exclusive rights to said mold? Turns out $4200 was the cheaper of the 2 bids, the other company wanted $6400. Then to top it off, the first company had a minimum 100 parts run at $27 per part. So just to get a cap repro'ed .... $2700 + $4200 = $6900. So we are talking $69 per cap. PFFT! And the possibility of selling 100 is like zero, especially if the price was greater than cost.

Atlanta, GA

Post# 979127 , Reply# 30   1/20/2018 at 10:21 by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        
Well Bud,

re inventing the wheel is always expensive. However, those of us who plan on using our machines into the future are going to have to pay for that luxury. It has never been a cheap hobby.
And, without Energy Rings and Tub Support Mechanisms, we will all be dead in the water eventually.
So even if these parts are expensive we still have to have them. We will just have to pay it.

Post# 987383 , Reply# 31   3/20/2018 at 09:55 by Dubis7 ()        
Apologies and Information

Hi all,

First of all, I'd like to reach out to apologize to anyone who felt that this was anything malicious. There was never any attempt on my part to scam or misrepresent what I was doing. Unfortunately, as I was attempting to do this project at the same time that I was finishing college, I ended up far over my head with the amount of research that it would take to ensure that I could successfully make a mold without risking any damage to the parts I was given.

I'm much happier that I was able to return the parts undone, than return an unsuccessful mold along with damaged originals.

That being said, I've done some research myself, and would like to offer you that information so you can reproduce parts yourself, if you so wish. I've found a tutorial video here (

and had purchased the parts I was originally experimenting with from Smooth On, which can be found with a quick google search. You'd need to color match with dyes that they sell, and use a durometer (a specialized tool) to measure the hardness of the original rubber so it can be matched.

I hate to see that some of you feel I had attempted a scam here. That is absolutely not the case. I simply did not have the time I had intended to, which can be chalked up to a lack of experience, and was very careful to keep any parts I had been sent safe to avoid damaging them while I was waiting. In fact, when I realized that actually creating the molds would take longer than I had initially anticipated, I reached out to anyone who had sent me parts to inform then and give them a chance to ask for their return.

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