Prusa Research, famous for its range of 3D printers, today announced that it is working with heavyweights in the PC and maker industries to provide 3D printable replacement parts, upgrades and models via its online portal. Familiar names such as Cooler Master, Raspberry Pi, Noctua and Framework Computer now offer their models via this free service.
Prusa Research's online portal, Printables, is akin to Thingiverse. They are both a repository / library of objects that users can download and print on the best 3D printers. In addition, Prusa and its new partners offer replacement parts via the new Brands portal. Here, we can see brands offering a range of 3D printable replacements, upgrades and consumables for their products. All of the models are provided free of charge. Brands will have a verified badge and banner to distinguish them from community-created models. But this badge is not exclusive to just the brands; notable designers in the community have also been awarded this distinction.
The right to repair our equipment is a strong ethos in the PC and maker communities, and for years that ethos has led to 3D printers being pressed into service to print a quick fix. With access to 3D printable models, users no longer have to wait for their purchase to arrive; they can print and repair their devices. Prusa hopes "that in a few years, it will be the norm to release 3D printable models to accompany the brand's products. Having all of these models available will be a huge plus for the customers and add value to the product itself."
So what can we expect to download and print?
Framework Computer's DIY laptop is designed to be taken apart and upgraded, so much so that it uses a series of hot-swappable USB-C dongles. The mainboard is designed to be replaced for future CPU upgrades, which means it can be easily removed and built into a desktop machine. But there have been no official cases on offer until now. Framework Computers has released a 3D printable case for the mainboard, which turns the laptop into a desktop PC. Noctua's range of 3D printable objects includes spacers and adapters for its range of fans. There is also a fan duct for the low-profile NA-FD1. All we need to do now is find the right shade of brown PLA filament.
Makers rejoice, as industry favorites Adafruit and Raspberry Pi have released models for popular projects. Adafruit has released models for converting an iPad into an iBook, DIY MP3 Player Walkperson and a Raspberry Pi media server. Raspberry Pi has released models for a Raspberry Pi Pico Iron Man arc reactor and a case for Pimoroni's Plasma 2040. Prusa has a presence in the new brands portal, offering replacement and upgrade parts for its popular 3D printers.
Gamers, don't feel left out in the cold. Among the brands are Warhorse Studios, World of Warships and Bohemia Interactive. They all offer models and assets from their range of games.
Other brands are expected to join the project, with Prusa already in talks to add more to this fledgling service.
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Les Pounder is an associate editor at Tom's Hardware. He is a creative technologist and for seven years has created projects to educate and inspire minds both young and old. He has worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to write and deliver their teacher training program "Picademy".
But there have been no official cases on offer until nowThe official case was first made available back in February.
I hope many more companies pick this up and offer official models. In recent years most of my builds have used 3d printed parts - functional stuff like ducts and baffles to improve cooling, brackets and mounts to clean up a build or make something fit where it couldn't before, and even some whacky cosmetic stuff. Im sure there are still pics online of the "Robco Hoverbox" that I did for a Fallout launch party. All of the logos, stencils, the crazy fan mount, the satellite leg mounts, etc. were 3d printed for that project.Reply
I'm all for right to repair, but I see it from both sides. A few years ago we had customers wanting us to provide repair services for hardware that was cloned based on our designs and was failing at customer sites. We did the original design, and our firmware was installed on the units but the rest was a low quality copy.Reply