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Old 04-05-2013, 09:49 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1989 25' Excella
Roswell , Georgia
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 6
Images: 1
Replacing vintage parts

I would like to share a little experience that might help others. My wife and I were leaving our 1989 Excella one morning in a hurry and found the door hard to open. "Pull it hard" says my wife - I did and I broke the handle to the inside our main door.

The handle was made from cast pot metal so it could not be glued or welded. The manufacturer is long gone. There are complete lock replacements but they dramatically change the look of the door. There are also a few jury rigged solutions to be found on this web site...but they change the look also. I just wanted a replacement handle.

My solution costs less than $60, looks like the original, and is much stronger (stainless steel). And it comes from a 3D printer.
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I drew the replacement handle in three dimensions using a free version of Sketchup 8. I did that in one night and spent another night preparing (debugging) the design for 3D printers. The requirements for printing 3D objects are much more demanding than requirements for simply rendering a pretty picture. I used both MeshLab and NetFabb Studio. The Shapeways website has all the information you need to get and use free or open source 3D design software.

I uploaded the 3D design file to, paid about $60, and a few weeks later, a stainless steel replacement part arrived at my home.

But if you want the same exact handle, you don't need to do any of that design work because I have already have done it. I am offering the 3D design for free. Just go to my Shapeways store (BeeHacker by trearick on Shapeways) and you can buy the part for the cost of the material.

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Old 04-06-2013, 12:08 AM   #2
Rivet Master
webspinner's Avatar
1971 25' Tradewind
Menlo Park , California
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,250
Images: 15
Nice fix!

There is a place called TechShop that has facilities in an increasing number of cities around the US - SF, San Jose, Seattle, Detroit, Austin, Releigh, Pittsburgh - where you can have access to a wide variety of DIY tools, including 3-D printers (and also laser printers, milling machines, CNC routers, plasma cutters and plain old table saws).

DIY has entered the digital age.

Our travel and renovation blog:
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:58 AM   #3
Rivet Master
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1964 19' Globetrotter
The Sea Ranch , California
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,377
Images: 18
Blog Entries: 3
that is too cool Trearick
Wherever you go, there you are
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