3D print old-school typewriter parts

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2023/01/21/3d-print-old-school-typewriter-parts.html

1 Like

This might be useful if the new parts are printed in a metal sintering process but otherwise I’d be skeptical whether they’d hold up to use nearly as well as the original parts, which were presumably broken because they already weren’t strong enough. Skinny linkages like the ones shown in the image need to be stiff and strong. Manual typewriters take a real pounding.


Yeah, if you’re into making devices, contraptions and/or gewgaws with 3D printing, consumer doodads from ~1850-1950 are a great starting point, but you quickly realise that everything has to be redesigned. Metal is uniformly strong, heavy, elastic and expensive, while printed parts are anisotropically strong, light, plastic and cheap, so you have to understand what the original question was and then answer it under very different constraints.

You do see a lot of stuff on thingiverse etc. where someone has focused on redrawing a metal part in CAD but not thought about any of this. It’s a shame because it casts 3D printing as a tool for making fragile decorations, when it can be a very exciting medium in its own right:

As a typewriter collector and (amateur) restorer this is exactly why I started getting into 3D printing. There are tons of plastic and rubber pits that break and degrade over time that you just can’t get replacements for, at least not without trashing another machine.

A perfect example is the Smith Corona margin release lever from the '50s and '60s. These are almost always broken or missing, but a decent replacement can be printed from PLA (PETG for a stronger version).

You can also remaking feet from TPU.

I don’t think anyone is bothering to print metal parts though. I just don’t think the way metal forms from printing can be strong or precise enough. People either salvage or machine new parts.

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.