Monthly Archives: September 2013

3D Printing and the Arcade Machine

So here is a bit of an interesting problem that I was able to solve with the help of Hacker Lab’s 3D printer.

So as I posted earlier, I’ve been working on an homebrew arcade machine and had to scrounge quite a bit of parts for that cause. It turns out that one of the Joysticks i managed to lay my hands on was missing a vital component, the plastic actuator that engages the microswitches on the bottom of the stick assembly.

Now, I had one good joystick with all the components and the other which was missing this plastic part. (Technically, it was missing an e-ring and a spring as well, but a quick trip to Home Depot remedied that issue.) ¬†As I’m mulling over possible solutions to this problem – Do I really want to order this tiny plastic part? Do I really want to wait on it to come…it hits me. I have access to this amazing 3D printer. I can measure it, model it, print it. Problem solved.

It took 2 tries but I’m happy to report that I was able to print my replacement part and the joystick is holding okay. Things like this are what 3D printers are excellent for. With a little bit of creativity and unchained thinking, you’d be surprised at what applications you could come up with? What could you do with this tech?