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Embracing 3-D Printers, Manufacturer Tells Customers to Print Their Own Replacement Parts

•, By Geeta Dayal
 Want a new part for your synthesizer? Need a replacement knob or dial? In a first, one company is telling its customers to just print their own.

It’s a move that signifies a major step into a new commercial marketplace, where customers can buy products directly from companies for on-demand, at-home manufacturing. And while we probably won’t see complicated, mechanical products from big corporations reaching us through Thingiverse for a while yet, knobs and dials are the perfect static, detachable objects to begin the movement.

Teenage Engineering, makers of a popular synthesizer known as the OP-1, posted the 3-D design files of various components on digital object repository Shapeways, and is instructing 3-D printer-equipped users to print them out instead of buying them.

“As an alternative to shipping plastic parts around the world, we let anyone print their own,” said David Möllerstedt, head of audio at Teenage Engineering, in an e-mail interview with Wired. “It’s a really interesting development that 3-D printing is becoming more accessible.”

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