La Bricoleuse owns a custom hatter's tool - a conformateur, a very early model invented in France in 1844 by Allie Aine. In the old time, a conformateur could allow makers to shape a hat to a customer's exact head "shape" in addition to their size.
So this conformateur, handmade of ebony and brass with mother-of-pearl carved fittings, is kept in a good condition except its feet. One was missing and another one was replaced with a poorly-whittled stub of wood.
Fortunately, she got help from maker Luis Freeman and his RepRap 3D printers. Together, they have tried to 3D-print 2 new feet for the conformateur, using plastic material PLA.
The printing of the foot involved a learning curve. The shape of the first attempt involved some instability in the design and resulted in a weird "poop" of plastic at the top peg. The second attempt, we misjudged the correct height of the foot and it was too tall. It also developed stability problems in the peg, because the small surface area did not provide enough time between levels of printing for the PLA material to solidify. The peg looked like a Slinky when you stand it on end but then poke the side with a finger, so it's askew. On the third try, Luis realized that if we were to print two simultaneously, the issue with the peg stability would be resolved in the time it took to shift position from one peg to another.
1. Original conformateur wood foot.
2. First prototype with poopy peg failure.
3. Second prototype with height error and crooked peg.
4. and 5. Successfully formed feet!
"1844 meets 2012", La Bricoleuse named this experience in her blog. She used modern 3D printing technology to repair a tool made of 19th century technology, isn't it cool?!
photo credit: La Bricoleuse
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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Anja wrote at 8/31/2012 8:09:58 PM:
Thank you, corrected. ;-) Nice work you have done! Hope to see more exciting projects from you.
Rachel E. Pollock, "La Bricoleuse" author wrote at 8/31/2012 3:30:47 PM:
Cool to see how many folks have wound up hearing about my foot-printing project. (Sure, i could have just cut down a dowel rod but where's the fun in that?) For the record, though, I'm female.