My family uses this laundry rack all the time, so when the wind blew it over and cracked one of the top rails (rendering it surprisingly unstable, I’ll add), I realized I needed to repair or replace it quick. A few wraps of tape would be a fast solution but most likely be too floppy to be effective, so I thought about adding a sleeve that would hold both sides of the break together like a cast on a broken bone. I first considered using heat-shrink tubing, but then I realized I could quickly 3D print something that is designed for the exact size of the doweling. I love a good functional print.
First, I measured the diameter of the broken rod with my digital calipers and bumped it up a tiny bit to give some wiggle room/allow for shrinkage. This is not uncommon with printing. I then knocked out a quick tube shape on Tinkercad with tapered edges to keep clothes from snagging. Final measurements were 10.2mm ID; 13.2mm OD; 100mm long.
The design process took a few minutes; printing was about 30.
Getting the sleeve onto the dowel required a bit of force and a bit of heat from the hot air gun — a trick that I find myself using pretty frequently with printing. Rather than throwing away an “almost-there” design, warm it up with some hot air and work it into place before it cools again. This saves me a lot of waste.
It seems to be holding strong now; the Nylon-X filament is pretty durable.
There are countless other ways to have fixed this but for the amount of effort and cost, I’m particularly happy. Luckily I had the tools to make this repair happen so quick. Now it hopefully doesn’t split along a layer line. If it does, I’ll update here.