This summer I discovered that one of the window latches in my home was broken. Since the windows are so old, I didn’t even bother checking for replacement parts at the hardware store. My repair consisted of wrapping duct tape over the broken part and fitting back inside the latch mechanism.
It worked, but was a less than ideal fix. The part had snapped in two places, making the entire part slightly unstable even when reinforced with duct tape. Additionally, the extra thickness of the duct tape prevented the latch from sliding smoothly and eventually started to bunch up the duct tape.
Several months ago, figuring that it was only a matter of time before I bought a MakerBot CupCake CNC, I modeled the part in Google Sketchup.
After getting my MakerBot operational yesterday, this was my second print. It was also my fourth print – another window was missing a latch entirely. A little light sanding and a slight use of a hacksaw blade to separate the small divide underneath the part, and it was ready for installation. Both latches installed without fuss and work far better than the duct tape version.
Unlike the duct tape fix, this repair permanently replaces the broken part with a functionally identical part that is also far more cosmetically appealing. Best of all, I now live in a house that is partially built by a robot I made. :)