Thread Number: 71155  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
3D Printing Door Seals & Other Parts?
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Post# 941877   6/5/2017 at 11:15 (324 days old) by Volvoguy87 (Cincinnati, OH)        

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I'm beginning to read up on 3D printing as a potential means to replicate parts. The technology is evolving rapidly and can be used to make items out of materials other than just plastic. A few years ago, one of our members seriously looked into having Westinghouse Slant-Front door boots replicated using the original manufacturing technique of extruding a strip of material in the necessary profile, cutting it to length, and gluing the ends together. The problem was that such a production run would have had to meet a minimum number of units, it wasn't cheap, and the logistics of getting everyone who wanted a boot coordinated and paid up was quite difficult. Also, getting enough customers to buy the whole minimum production run was not really feasible. Is 3D printing a viable alternative?

I believe modern front loader door boots contain a lot of silicone, but I am curious to know if 3D printing in silicone, or some other substance, can be used to replicate a WH door boot (or other door boots). I have handled WH door boots and they are not silicone, they seem to be more rubbery. Can a different material be used if it is in the same shape and profile as a WH door boot?

While the individual price for a 3D printed door boot, or other part, may be higher than the price of one made in a traditional-method production run, there would be no minimum number of items required for a production run, and the associated cost. The computer file used to program the 3D printer can be stored until needed, and even emailed around so it can be used wherever and whenever it is needed.

Has anyone ever used 3D printing to make parts?

Post# 941923 , Reply# 1   6/5/2017 at 16:30 (324 days old) by henene4 (Germany)        
3D printing isn't worth the hazzle

For a school project we worked with our local university to print a housing that was about 40cm*30cm*10cm.

To print that, we had to split it into 2 parts already. These parts then shrunk due to expansion while printing.
Because you print layer by layer, you can't simply add a factor in sizing to perfectly adjust for shrinkage at different points with different thicknesses.

The end product was never usable due to parts falling\ripping of while removing it from the printer base, suport structures to print some parts not being strong enough or simply the printer not being exact enough.

Given you want to print parts of a significant size with a non-solid, flexibel material and to a exactness that allows proper sealing, I doubt any private person could afford having something like that made.

Post# 941932 , Reply# 2   6/5/2017 at 17:23 (324 days old) by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        
Door seals

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I imagine that door seals will normally be cast in some kind of mould. How do 'pattern spares' manufacturers go about it?

A few years ago, I ordered a pattern door seal for my mum's machine. It was thinner quality than the genuine original, and had a blemish at the 7 O'clock position. I had the distinct impression that an old, torn/split seal had been patched up, and used as the mould master. Nevertheless, the pattern spare has performed rather well.

Would it be possible to design a mould out of modelling clay, then pour in the silicon latex?

Post# 941934 , Reply# 3   6/5/2017 at 17:26 (324 days old) by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        

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Or better still, design and print the mould, then use the printed mould to cast a door seal. Simples!

Post# 942004 , Reply# 4   6/6/2017 at 03:10 (324 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Some years ago, I started a thread of the future of 3D printing. It's only a matter of time that not only will you be able to replicate any part you wish, even metal parts, but you'll be able to replicate entire machines. The skies the limit.

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