With 3D4U, appliance manufacturer, Miele is the first company in its industry to offer its customers a broad range of 3D-printable accessories. The company is starting by releasing data records for ten objects which can be downloaded immediately, free of charge from the Thingiverse platform. These include kitchen gadgets, vacuum cleaner accessories and useful items for the handyman. Several models even have customizable motifs and parameters. For further information see the IDTechEx report on 3D Printing 2019-2029: Technology and Market Analysis.
In the industry, 3D printing has long been commonplace, but this technology is also becoming increasingly popular in private households. "With 3D4U, we aim to offer our customers additional benefits and put ideas into practice which we were not previously able to implement as part of our comprehensive portfolio of accessories," says David Buhl, 3D4U project manager at Miele's Bielefeld plant. "In doing so, each part reflects our expertise in product development, for instance more than 90 years of Miele experience in floor care."
Each 3D4U accessory comes with a description of the recommended printing parameters, with technical feasibility tested using a fused layer modelling printer (FLM printer). This produces a liquid filament, which is deposited layer by layer, creating a finished object working from the bottom upwards. Miele recommends the use of filaments made from polylactides (PLA) in the 3D printing process. This material lends itself to use on common domestic 3D printers and its use is quite widespread in the community.
For the 3D4U launch, Miele is offering ten objects in the three categories: "Kitchen gadgets," "Vacuum cleaners" and "Handyman." These include a borehole cleaning aid with an airflow design optimized in computer simulations - just like product development for Miele vacuum cleaners. Fitted to the handle tube, this device sticks to the wall, leaving both hands free to operate the drill.
Another useful device is the 3D4U valuables separator. Thanks to the fine structure of the membrane in the attachment, this vacuum cleaning accessory works as to prevent smaller valuable items from landing in the dust bag or container.
3D4U also offers handy accessories for use around the kitchen as printable downloads, such as a coffee clip. This device allows packaging to be re-sealed once opened and the contents to be precisely dispensed via a screw cap. This keeps coffee beans and other pourable products fresh for longer. The 3D4U motif dispenser, which conjures up a design on a coffee with cocoa powder or caster sugar on cakes and biscuits, makes for variety. Users can easily create their own motifs by downloading cap templates and adding their own motif using a CAD program.
Source and top image: Miele