To some this might seem to be common sense and no doubt 3D printing aficionados will be thinking that the is great, print their own replacement parts but, it as you might expect just ain't that simple.
It seems common sense to many that you could, in theory, print out parts but currently it's only really viable on plastics so far as we know and, it can actually be more expensive than just a bog standard mass produced part. Whilst it may seem to be common sense that this is a flyer, the realities of cost might say otherwise.
The time factor is one thing as 3D printing isn't exactly quick but you also need detailed plans to print from and, as you might expect, manufacturers are not at all keen on sharing proprietary information about the components used to make their products.
Meaning that are plans online to print out parts you need are extremely unlikely to happen anytime soon.
More likely is that manufacturers, such as Whirlpool appear to be doing in this trial, will print them for you and charge accordingly.
Now before anyone starts with the usual "big bad company", "fat cats" and all the other drivel, it's a business. Businesses only survive if the make money... it's kinda a thin you know. So we don't blame Whirlpool at all if they charge for this but, we'll gut them if they overcharge. Before anyone comments, please consider charging for a service is no problem and perfectly okay, reaming people is not.
But Whirlpool are trialling this, they started a pilot project ini 2017 and have a partnership running nor with a Singapore based company to help so, looks like this might go somewhere. Maybe.
Remember that time thing mentioned about printing parts, well that is not even remotely fast enough to be used on production so, this is only of use after production of the parts stops. Till then, it's cheaper to batch produce we think.
So far it's only 150 parts which is, a minuscule amount as Whirlpool parts run to tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of lines so, this is really, really tiny.
It is nice to know that manufacturers are looking at these new technologies however, even if they're not embracing them with open arms.