Here’s a fun one! Recently, our CEO Steve Schell used the MOD-t and his 3D design skills to repair a Nerf foam pistol for his son. A key component of the toy became damaged during use and – faced with a very disappointed young man – Steve sprung into action!

1 - Disassembled with broken component POST
Nerf pistol with broken barrel component circled in red.

Before designing the part in CAD software, Steve first needed to use a caliper to measure the broken part and take note of its dimensions. Once he had that information, Steve used Solidworks to design a 3D printable file.

Nerf Toy Component Solidworks

With the file designed it was time to print it out!

Shark fin restored! 3D printed replacement part (left), and the original broken barrel component (right).

Finally, it was time to reassemble the pistol. Voila!

Ready for action!

Though the photos make it look easy, Steve did encounter a few challenges along the way. In his words:

“After printing it once, I found that two of the critical dimensions were slightly off: the small gap between the ribs that run the length on both sides was slightly too narrow, and the inner diameter of the cylindrical section was slightly small. So I went back into CAD and adjusted those dimensions by the amount they were off from their target dimensions. The re-printed part was spot on and worked great.”

Learning to use CAD software is an important step in designing custom parts for your next 3D printing project. For beginners, Tinkercad is a great place to start! Not only is it free, it will also teach you the basics with its built-in tutorials, and since it’s web-based you can access your designs and tinker away from any computer with an internet connection!

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