3D Printing, Maker, Programming

Today’s Functional Print, Failure Edition: Vacuum Cleaner Wheel

In today’s “I wheely love printing” news, I tried and failed to print a replacement wheel for a Kenmore Whispertone 12.0 vacuum cleaner.


The original wheel’s clip had broken, causing the wheel to come unattached from the vacuum canister:


Replacement wheels can be bought for $9 plus shipping, but why pay almost ten dollars when I have a perfectly good wheel printer sitting on my desk?

This was perhaps my most challenging OpenSCAD reproduction yet, but I was very happy with the finished model. It follows the original very closely but uses a little less plastic:

Vacuum Wheel Model

My first print, with 0.2mm layer heights, printed successfully and fit into the rubber tread perfectly.

But unfortunately, the clips were too weak and could not survive being bent towards each other:


So I printed another wheel with 0.1mm layers to improve adhesion between layers, and I modified the clip design to be wider at the base and not have any dramatic layer size changes:

This print’s clips were much stronger — I could bend them so they were almost touching, but it was really hard to do. Sadly, when I tried to clip the wheel onto the vacuum, the clips themselves were stronger than the base they were attached to, and they burst through the back of the wheel:


Since each of these prints took eight hours, and since I’m not 100% confident that I could get a working wheel on the third print, and since my mother-in-law told me I didn’t have to do it in the first place, I abandoned this project.

If you’d like to try printing the wheel for yourself (or would just like to use the model as a basis for a different project), the OpenSCAD script and STL file are available on GitHub.


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