3D Printing Shelf Pegs [Updated]
July 10, 2013 24 Comments
Update: The internet is a wonderful place. Shortly after posting this, I received contact from one of the commenters below. Through a short discussion, it looks like one of the readers went on to buy 100 sets (400 pegs) from the Shapeways link. I have them listed at Shapeways manufacturing cost only, but I feel I profited in helping the world in such a little way.
When buying a house, you always find that there are some parts of the house that the previous owner had something installed, and the bag of spare parts and the supplier they used are lost to antiquity. This some times only gives you the option of replace, hack, or just live with it. This happened in the house we bought last year.
The shelves in the kitchen don’t have your standard Ikea style shelf pegs that hold the shelves up. Neither do they have the standard shelf pegs you can buy at home depot. These are custom jobs created by some unknown manufacturer. Not only are the non-standard pegs, but the holes they fit into are not only custom, they are a funky insert, twist and lock style.
After a discussion with a colleague at work I thought I’d 3D printing. After going through a bit of a process, I ended up ordering a set from shapeways.com. Here is the comparison of the original with the new.
To get to this was a bit of adventure, first I tried 123D Catch from autodesk. That ended up with a somewhat ugly warped model. From there I determined that since it was primarily a collection of geometric shapes, I moved onto 123D Design (note that it is web based, as well as desktop (OSX/Windows). The software (both online and OSX) itself is somewhat buggy, quirky and different on each platform, but after a few restarts I ended up with this shapeways part. I’ve included a rendering below.
The price (including $1.80 handling) is $2.40. When comparing to a Home Depot single part unusual peg for $2.20, this opened my eyes are fair bit. Now with $6.50 shipping and $1.80 per part handling it was clear that I wasn’t going to save any money doing four individually.
Taking a leaf out of the plastic model aircraft, I connected them together with 1 mm rectangular prism and shown below. Four connected this way came out to $5.17, giving an all up price including shipping of around $12. This ends up being within striking distance of small over-priced anything made of plastic that you get at the store. I’ve tested the fit, and they seem to work well. The strength passed my “I’ll try to break it with my hands” test, so it will probably hold the shelf up really well. After discussions in the comments below, I have now made sure that publicly the 4-way model is downloadable as a STL and purchasable on Shapeways
The effort, price and product honestly shocked me. You can print in various plastics, metal and even full color sandstone.
So now armed with this new hammer, I can suddenly see all these other nails needing fixing. My next 3D printing project is probably a contraption for powered opening and closing of some hard to reach blinds with a 9V motor, a battery, some wires and a switch. What would Magyver think of this?