HOWTO beat high pram-repair costs by 3D printing replacement parts

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66 Responses to “HOWTO beat high pram-repair costs by 3D printing replacement parts”

  1. scifijazznik says:

    Pram, Pram, Pram, Pram
    Lovely Pram
    Wonderful Pram

  2. Rob says:

    How long until the takedown notice?

  3. aj says:

    Don’t ever tell the CPSC about this, or they’ll ban it.

  4. Andy III says:

    It’s been a while since I’ve read a posting where I hadn’t the slightest idea as to what the subject was, and the author didn’t make any attempt to give a clue.

    “Oh, a ‘bugaboo pram’! I generally like ‘finklewinkle kruts’ or ‘shikey wissiles’.”

    • Paul says:

      You should’ve looked up what “pram” meant immediately after you watched The Holy Grail (I like to push the pram-alot). :) 

      If I hadn’t done that I’d be right there with you.

      I have a bigger problem with a $600 baby stroller. That’s clearly for people who just want to look cool pushing there baby around in a $600 stroller. What they don’t realize is that most people won’t know how much it costs so won’t know to be impressed.

      • IT_guy says:

        Really?  “Clearly for people who just want to look cool”? 
        I imagine that’s debatable.  While I happen not to like the Bugaboo stroller, it’s definitely a good tool for certain situations.  It’s configurable in many ways that most regular stroller aren’t: baby can face both towards you and away, you can use it with just two big wheels to make it very easy to pull over sand and snow, it’s usable for babies from infancy to older, the handle is adjustable for tall people in a way that many strollers are not, all textile parts can be removed and laundered unlike many models, and so on. 
        So – maybe it’s clear to you that it’s just to look cool, but to someone who’s either used it or looked into it, it’s far from just a “cool” product.
        Hope you get farther than the cover with your next book. 

      • mypalmike says:

        I saw the Holy Grail probably a dozen times in my youth before finding out what pram meant.  The way the “I like to push the pram-a-lot” line was delivered, I figured it was some sort of British sexual slang that I wouldn’t find in a dictionary.  This was back in the day when your computer might use an acoustic coupler to communicate with the outside world, so no, I was not able to google it.

  5. traalfaz says:

    One of my hopes for 3D printing is the ability to replace broken parts, like battery doors or other such things that are always breaking, ideally with better designs that won’t break as easily.  One person designs a new door and posts it on Thinkiverse, everyone’s set.

    Doubly true for things for which there are no longer parts available.

  6. LinkMan says:

    As a Bugaboo Frog owner myself, I’m not sure I’d agree with the statement that it’s “by far the best pram on the market for style, function, ergonomics and collapse ability.”  I like the way it looks, but style is totally subjective.  It is very functional, but our far cheaper umbrella stroller gets just as much use (our first kid actually preferred the umbrella stroller for comfort once he got bigger) and if I was a serious runner the Bugaboo wouldn’t cut it as a jogging stroller.  For ergonomics, the Stokke Xplory has it beat.  And on collapse ability, the Bugaboo downright sucks.  While it can be collapsed to lay very flat, it’s an awkward process that requires two hands and more than one step.

    • Martijn Vos says:

      We considered a Bugaboo. I considered the ability to seat a child facing forward or backward pretty important, and the Bugaboo is very light and nimble. But also quite breakable, was my impression from online reviews, where lots of people lauded them for replacing broken parts very quickly.

      So instead we bought a second-hand Teutonia for EUR 120; heavy, Teutonic quality. Wider and heavier than the Bugaboo, and not nearly as easily collapsible, but extremely sturdy, it steadies you in the bus, instead of you having to steady it, and other than being light and nimble, it does everything the Bugaboo does. Okay, maybe it’s a bit too wide, but we’re happy with it and didn’t pay a fortune, and I think it’s going to outlive my son.

  7. Guysmiley says:

    Google says:

    pram noun /präm/  /pram/  praams, plural; prams, plural

    1. A flat-bottomed sailboat

    2. A small, flat-bottomed rowboat for fishing

  8. scifijazznik says:

    In all seriousness, as a parent, I suggest NOT buying a Bugaboo in the first place.  The cheap ones go for around $800.  I hope to spend less than that on my son’s first car.

  9. wheezer says:

    Having recently become a father myself, I was overwhelmed with the amount of choice in the pram market. So I decided to turn to a trusted source: the German consumer reports group Stiftung Warentest. The last pram test by Stiftung Warentest found all tested pram manufacturers to be fairly poor. Bugaboo was one of only 3 that scored a ‘C’, while all others scored a ‘D’ or worse. This is due to the fact that none of the carriages were actually one-size-fits-all (different babies are of different sizes and grow at different paces), and all carriages were at least high in pollutant count. This was after having found the same in 2009 – on average the amount of pollutants had actually increased since then.

    So, my advice to would-be pram owners is to forget about brands, and by a second hand one from ebay. The 3d printer trick might come in useful for this. Not only will you save a bundle, but most of the pollutants will hopefully have been washed off by then due to continuos usage. Most importantly, do not believe the hype. Find the model that is right for you and your kid.

    • gadgetphile says:

      Funny, less than a decade ago there seemed to be much less on the market in the US, but now that my kids have grown out of the infant and toddler support systems, there seems to be a greater variety of products on the market, much of it from non-US brands.

      Maybe this is due to a second baby boom in the US (NY Times says 2007 births surpassed the baby boom’s peak). Maybe part of it is due to being able to sell $600 strollers and prams in the US.

      Either way, the above comment certainly applies- all those parents who bought expensive strollers in 2007 are going to want to recoup some of their investment in the strollers by reselling them- especially if they have another kid since they’ll need all new stuff and get rid of the old.

      But that’s where repair and replacement parts are even more valuable- old stuff will get sold really cheap if it’s broken and someone able to fix it can either get great use out of it or fix it and flip it.

  10. Andy Levitt says:

    So is this infringement?  I’m sure if I fabbed a complete pram and sold it, it would be.  I’m sure if I welded the busted widget back together it wouldn’t be.  Does creating a repair part for an item I already own infringe?  What if I used the metal from the original part as part of the repair part?

    Does it harm the manufacturer?  While $250 for a replacement part must be a profit center, I don’t think I’d ever purchase a consumer item where repair parts were only available from the manufacturer for crazy prices.

    • gadgetphile says:

      As with auto parts, I’d think a compatible aftermarket part is fine- especially if it’s a wheel, net, tube or that kind of thing.

      If the part is patented or copyrighted or has a trademarked symbol on it, that would be different, but usually it’s the design of the whole thing that has intellectual property protection, not the pieces.

      Maybe the manufacturer could make the point that countless man hours went into designing one specific piece, but a 3D printed part will usually be redesigned anyway to suit the process and make improvements to address the observed failure mode.

      Either way, I don;t know how this applies for one off parts made at no profit to the designer.

  11. Andy III says:

    Yowzer! $600?!?!?! 

    My first car didn’t cost near that!

  12. irksome says:

    A $600 pram would go great with a lime green Leica.

  13. coop says:

    I know, let’s use 3D printers to make parts to make 3d printers…. oh, sorry, idea taken. ;-)
     
    http://craphound.com/?p=573
     
    coop
     

    • Max says:

      That’s exactly what Dr Adrian Bowyer suggested at the recent “3D printing masterclass” in Bath.
      I think he worked out that if everyone used their printer to print another 2 within about 16 days there could be enough printers for everyone on the planet.
      Exponential growth is a beautiful thing to behold, from a suitably safe distance.

  14. angusm says:

    Reading this makes me think that the ‘intellectual property’ wars have only just begun. Look forward to legislation mandating takedowns for any site or person that distributes specs for ‘proprietary’ parts, plus a levy on all 3D printers and their consumables.

  15. Kayin McLeod says:

    i didn’t even know what this is. in fact, i had to look up “pram”.

    today i learned it’s a stroller for self absorbed twat parents who take up more space then they need to because of lack of awareness outside their own bubble once they have a kid.

    /firstworldproblems

  16. The Thompson Five says:

    For future reference:

    Crisps = Chips

    Chips = French Fries

    Lemon Squash = Lemonade

    Flat = Apartment

  17. Richard says:

    I think all the comment focused on an overly expensive stroller are missing the point. It’s pretty cool that if you have a 3D printer you can repair that stroller you find by the dumpster and keep it out of the  landfill. I look forward to the patent wars coming from companies trying to hold on to their overpriced repair goods and services. Glad to see 3D printing coming of age.

    • Michael Curran says:

      You’ll never see a high end stroller by a dumpster, they are almost universally handed off to “less-prosperous” friends or sold. 

  18. fxq says:

    My solution is to adopt children whom are already potty trained and can speak complete sentences. My first prototype will be in college soon and I’m already thinking about improvements to 2.0.

  19. LinkMan says:

    When the Bugaboo Frog first came out, it was about $600 and was by far the most expensive stroller on the market.  It’s also an awesome stroller.  I have one, and while I might not have chosen it if a wealthy family member hadn’t offered to get us whatever stroller we wanted, it truly was the most functional option available at the time for our needs and we’ve put hundreds of miles on it.

    Today there are lots of $600 strollers on the market, and quite a few that cost considerably more, including the Frog’s successor, the Bugaboo Cameleon, which runs closer to $1000 once you add in the extras, and the latest offering from Bugaboo (because they couldn’t handle having Stokke and Orbit strollers on the market that cost more than the flagship Cameleon), the ~$1500 Bugaboo Donkey.

    It still amazes me, though, that they named their new flagship the Donkey, as if even the people at the company itself think you have to be an ass to buy one.  And this is coming from a generally satisfied owner of their original model.

  20. gadgetphile says:

    So, does the Right To Repair movement (as it applies to legislation) just apply to cars or would it cover this too?

    • Donald Petersen says:

      I’m curious about this, too.  I had a small plastic lever inside the exterior door handle of a 1997 Volvo break, and of course Volvo wouldn’t sell you just the little white plastic dingus that actually broke, but only the entire door handle assembly, to the tune of a couple hundred bucks.

      I ended up finding one at a junkyard for about $20 (again, I had to buy the whole doorhandle), but it would have been so much simpler to make on a 3D printer.  My question is: how sturdy is the plastic used for 3D printers?  This particular piece, while fairly small, was required to handle a fair amount of torque as it transferred the horizontal pivot of the trigger-handle to the vertical movement of the rod connected to the latch.  Can 3D printers use materials that can handle fairly strong stresses like that?  Or do they normally utilize more delicate and/or brittle plastics?

      My hot tub has a pump that has failed and been replaced a couple of times now.  The first time, the pump impeller housing leaked, and the second time the pump motor itself seized.  Both times, I would have been happier to replace just the part that was broken, but they are assembled in such a way that you can’t remove the pump impeller from the shaft without breaking the impeller.  There’s no good reason for this, except that it forces you to buy the entire $320 assembly.  I have no ethical compunction whatsoever against fabricating my own replacement parts using any means necessary when confronted with a “replacement parts” policy as draconian as this.

      If the 3D printers of today can make genuinely durable parts, then I’m gonna have to get me one sooner than later.

      As for the Bugaboos, yeah, they’re loaded with features, but the pricing is pretty out there.  They had become a bit of a status symbol, too, so I wouldn’t like pushing one even if it were a gift.  My household has two preschoolers, and over the last four years we’ve owned at least nine strollers, each aimed at a slightly different specialization, and all nine of them together cost significantly less than one Bugaboo.  We’re currently down to six strollers, and really only three of them that we actually use in any given week, so I don’t mind the fact that we have a fleet in place of a single high-end stroller that could replace any of them (except for the two double strollers we have, and the disposable Chinese one we got for free which we use for air travel because we’d never miss it if we lost it).

  21. Brian Bailey says:

    HOWTO: beat high pram-repair costs by…not buying an overpriced yuppie stroller.

    My wife and I made it through three infants with a $70 stroller that I gave away this weekend to a happy new parent.  It was in perfect working order.
     

  22. tsa says:

    I learnt the word “pram” in High School. I’m Dutch, maybe that’s it :P

  23. mccrum says:

    So, a new part costs $250 but a printed part costs $25 and the cost of the printer in the first place, correct?  What’s the true cost then?

    • flosofl says:

      You’re absolutely correct. I purchase a brand new 3D printer for every part I fab. Because I’ll never ever use it for any other purpose.

      • mccrum says:

        But if you don’t have access to one like most of the first world’s population it’s something to consider.  This article is like talking about a guy who has a CNC machine at work running one off his laser cutter.  If you don’t have access to one you’re still looking at paying the real cost of a replacement part or carving one out of wood or another piece of plastic.

    • Morkl says:

      The part was printed by
      Shapeways, an on-demand 3D printing service, so the $25 cost probably covers shipping, part of the printer and some amount of  profit.

  24. tsa says:

    I guess the manufacturer also prints the part when you ask for it.

  25. Thorzdad says:

    Yeah…I think the first step in the repair should be not to shell-out $800-1,000 for a stroller.

  26. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Not one person here knows that pram is short for perambulator?

    And it’s not just UK terminology. That’s what my mother called them in Massachusetts in the 50s.

    • Donald Petersen says:

      I knew that; I was just five minutes too late to speak up.  But man, it’s hard to imagine anyone younger than a genuine Victorian asking if the baby’s comfortably somnolent in her perambulator.

    • knoxblox says:

      If my recollection is correct, I learned the word from the books about Paddington the bear.

      Hmm. I haven’t read them, but do the Harry Potter books ever mention babies besides Harry himself, or do kids just materialize out of thin air in his world?

  27. Simon Bradshaw says:

    This is likely to be one of the killer apps for 3D printers: quick, cheap spares for parts where shape (rather than, say, mechanical strength or resistance to heat or solvents) is the important factor.

    It’s also why the UK is going to be a particularly friendly legal environment for 3D printing, because we have a very strong tradition of laws that favour permission for third-party repairs to consumer products, especially where such repairs are functional rather than cosmetic.

    (Disclosure: I wrote a paper on this, co-authored with Adrian Bowyer of the RepRap project, as name-checked above.)

  28. bklynchris says:

    I am sorry, but the bugaboo can buggablow me.  I hate them, wider and heavier than the Maclaren Techno and 500 bucks spendier at least?  I often see mothers standing at the top, or bottom-of the subway stairs with these dumbass forlorn looks on their faces hoping that someone will offer to help them drag the massiveness of it up/down the stairs.

    They are too wide, take up too much space in stores and restaurants, and hell, sidewalks for that matter.  They are the humvee of strollers.  I used to get mad at stores that would not let people in with their strollers, now I get it.

    On the other hand, can’t wait to send this to my friend who has to make a part for his Audi that breaks more often than is financially feasible to buy repeatedly. 

  29. Comrade7 says:

    Remember, an elevator is called a “lift”, a mile is called a “kilometer” and botulism is called “steak and kidney pie”.

  30. Tribune says:

    hmm looks like I was the only one who was confused how you could get repair parts for parameter ram

  31. greg allen says:

    I’m as awed as the next guy about 3D printing a repair part, but I’m going to guess that the $250 quote for a repair the OP mentioned was not to replace the single part, but to replace the entire chassis. Or it included the cost of shipping a chassis back and forth to a service center. While the 90% topline discount is appealing, there are plenty of ways to account for the quote besides profit gouging: the obvious one is product liability. I’m sure a baby stroller company that regularly shipped out brake parts for home repairs would not survive the flamewars that it’d provoke. 

  32. DJ Xpress says:

    it’s called a stroller.  Using these uber hipster neusoul words like “pram” make you sound ridiculous.  You’re not european.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Precisely whom are you addressing?  Because Cory is in fact European.  Unless you want to argue that the UK is not part of Europe, which would make the whole question of English language terminology irrelevant.

  33. jaytkay says:

    A $600 baby stroller? Enjoy your DoucheWagen, kid!

  34. What the heck is a “pram”?    Let me google it. Oh wait – it’s just an overpriced baby stroller?!   1) who cares  2) if you can afford a $800 plastic baby stroller, you can afford repair parts?    3) babies are overpiced.  Come back when you have a 3-D printer solution to make humane babies.  

  35. James Riley says:

    Yeah, he said so on Twitter recently. 
    *Using my twitter signin since I’ve not got around to resetting my BB account and I want to go to bed rather than do that.

  36. LinkMan says:

    Of course I turn on facebook today and one of my friends has posted a video called Stroller Envy.

  37. Ken Williams says:

    Seriously folks?  I like cheap solutions as much as the next bloke, but some of these nice strollers are actually – wait for it – *nice*.  If you push your kids around a lot, and you don’t want to curse the damn POS stroller all the time, you can buy a nice one.  I thought there was plenty of appreciation for well-made things on BB?

    On the other hand, I can’t vouch for the Bugaboo brand specifically.  And maybe Bugaboos aren’t so well-made if their parts break like this.  And $250 for the part is so out-there that I almost don’t believe it.  But I really didn’t expect all the stroller-hatin’.

    • Kimmo says:

      I thought there was plenty of appreciation for well-made things on BB?

      Well, this pram did break, and the tiny parts to fix it were exorbitantly priced. I’d say there’s more appreciation for clever repairs than fancy kit around here. And as the following comments and their likers (+15 and +9 respectively at the time of posting) testify, plenty of us are aware of the ramifications of wasteful, poisonous consumer culture approaching its zenith in regards to well-off parents and their precious spawn.

      In all seriousness, as a parent, I suggest NOT buying a Bugaboo in the
      first place.  The cheap ones go for around $800.  I hope to spend less
      than that on my son’s first car.

      today i learned it’s a stroller for self absorbed twat parents who take
      up more space then they need to because of lack of awareness outside
      their own bubble once they have a kid.

      /firstworldproblems

      I particularly liked the comment mentioning the chemicals oozing out of plastic crap (brominated flame retardants, anyone?), and exhorting parents to buy their kid a second-hand stroller. I’m sure your kid couldn’t give a flying fuck whether you find an old pram a hassle or an embarrassment in front of your consumerist friends, but would probably rather not inhale a soup of questionable substances that had never existed until the 1950s.

  38. Duann Scott says:

    Wow, the word pram seems quite controversial.

    It is common use in Australia, where a stroller refers to a smaller, lightweight item suitable for children that can support their head.

    The $250 is because the closest repair center is 1440km = 900 miles away.

    That is the minimum they would quote as they could not confirm what was wrong.

    The pram was bought second hand on eBay

    It is now rock solid….

    Thanks

  39. Ben Gaskin says:

    For New Zealanders (and I suspect most non-american english speakers) pram is the first word that comes to mind.  I read through a few comments trying to guess what the american word for pram was.  Then I found the comment that said ‘stroller’… makes sense but it would’ve taken me ages to guess/remember that

  40. 41 swans says:

    As a parent of a preschool-aged child, I remember feeling angst over stroller choice.  I think if you have a walking-based lifestyle, a Bugaboo can work for you.  If you are just getting strollers in and out of cars, spending that kind of money just isn’t necessary.  I bought one cheap frame for the bucket car seat, one “off road” type stroller, and a Maclaren Volo, which was the lowest-price Maclaren at the time and may still be.  I had 20% off coupons for the last two, so I saved a bit.  The Maclaren has been the best $70 I ever spent, and once the baby was bigger, what we exclusively used.  Easy in airports, easy in and out of the car.

  41. Quibbler says:

    Forget the 3D printing (or is it laser cutting) I could make this part with a hacksaw, file, and a drill for a fraction of the cost.

  42. Maximilian maximalist says:

    before layers draw lines between legally printable parts and illegally printable parts they should make designed obsolescence illegal. 

  43. benher says:

    I love to push-the-pram-a-lot (in Camelot)

  44. andrew jones says:

    Bugaboo prams, like designer toddler clothes, are over-priced gimmicks for naive first-time parents with more money than sense. If they knew what us long-term parents know, they’d realise that whatever pram you buy it will be trashed, filthy and worthless within 18 months. Take it from a dad of three, save your money, get something that’s cheap and decent, and spend the cash you saved on a family weekend away or a decent DSLR – you’ll appreciate it much more in the long run.

  45. markbellis says:

    A machine shop will make copies of small parts like that  – if it’s something simple, they might charge you less than 25 and make it out of aluminum.

  46. machinestate says:

    This is why I bought a dodge neon, 600k miles and never had to replace the prams

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