Not long ago we reported that Swedish company Teenage Engineering posted the CAD files for the knobs and plastic parts in their library section so its customers could download and 3D print as free as they want. This is probably the first company in the industry making their parts open source at no charge.
Another company Elevation Labs, creator of the famous Elevation dock, an exquisitely well-crafted, beautiful iPhone dock, raised $1,464,706 of their $75,000 goal on Kickstarter. But after the successful funding, they failed to deliver the products on time. The funding was ended on Feb 11, 2012, but until end of October there are still people waiting for their docks. The worse part is, this iPhone stand from Elevation Labs only support iPhones with the 30pin Dock connector, so it can not be used for new iPhone 5 which was already launched way back in September.
Mike Hellers is one of the backers who received his dock very very late. He decided to DIY his own Lightning adapter for his Elevation dock. He put his design up on Thingiverse and Shapeways that people could download for free or get it printed and delivered by Shapeways for about $10.
This is really great for owners of a new iPhone that backed the Elevation Dock. Matt Haughey, founder of MetaFilter, found Mike Hellers' design and made their own improvements together his friend Michael Buffington. They made a new part that holds the cable down while also forcing the hard bend. "It's just two pieces of printed plastic and a couple off-the-shelf nuts and bolts going into existing holes to put it all together. " But for now, anyone who has a Elevation dock can upgrade it to allow for iPhone 5 charging.
(Images credit: Matt Haughey)
Apparently, Elevation Labs has difficulties in arranging its production and failed to deliver a good customer services. According to their Facebook page on Oct.21, their new iPhone 5 metal lightning mounts will be produced and delivered in two weeks for $15 or less.
As always, 3D printing your own parts in real-time is just impressive. Company like Teenage Engineering is for sure a pioneer in the industry that they realize the new era of personalized manufacturing is coming, and the definition of customer service should be redefined and redesigned. Whether to provide free files for replacement parts or to cooperate with local 3D printing shop to send parts to existing customers is up to the manufacturer, but they should always keep in mind, no matter how advance the technologies are, only great customer service can drive sales and customer loyalty.
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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