Last fall, the site purchased an Ultimaker 3D printer and it has already been put to good use. We designed and produced a new fuse blocking device to be used in the Relay Racks and Main Control Board for danger tagging fuses. These new devices are cheaper to make and safer to use in the fuse clips because they are designed not to spread the fuse clips when they are installed.
We have also produced small tools for the equipment operator to use when changing filter paper on the R10A/11/12 and the R10B/13/14 skids. There are plans to produce fire resistant door chocks for the Fire Brigade, as well as a variety of sizes of plugs to be used to in case of leaks in fire water or service water.
How a 3D Printer Works
Printing with a 3D printer is a bit like making a loaf of sliced bread, but in reverse. Imagine baking each individual slice of bread and then gluing them together into a whole loaf (as opposed to making a whole loaf and then slicing it, like a baker does). That’s basically what a 3D printer does.
The 3D printing process turns a whole object into thousands of tiny little slices, then makes it from the bottom-up, slice by slice. Those tiny layers stick together to form a solid object. Each layer can be very complex, meaning 3D printers can create moving parts like hinges and wheels as part of the same object.
The possibilities are seemingly endless. You could print a whole bike - handlebars, saddle, frame, wheels, brakes, pedals and chain - ready assembled, without using any tools. It’s just a question of leaving gaps in the right places.