Breakages are virtually a Christmas tradition — new drones around the house, too much haste while doing the dishes, and so on. One day, all such items will be easily replaced by the household 3D printer. But in the meantime, it is the vacuum cleaner clearing up the mess that gets all the cutting-edge renewal technology. Hoover, venerable maker of hoovers, has teamed up with Makerbot to offer accessories you can print yourself.
For folks who own an Air Cordless Hoover, there is a new holder available for the extra supplied lithium battery, and if you’re planning on venturing into the attic or under the stairs, you can print off a flash-light holder for the nozzle, too. Admittedly, the two new add-ons are peripherals rather than key parts of the cleaning machine, but they are nifty, nonetheless. Hosted on Thingiverse, they are entirely free to download for anyone with a suitable model, or a liking for random vacuum cleaner parts, I guess.
Such an innovation might seem small scale, but it is highly unusual for appliance manufacturers to encourage owners to modify products in any way after purchase. But the vacuum industry uses 3D printing for prototyping all the time (some might even say that Dysons never get beyond that stage), so these companies are more comfortable than most with the 3D printing process.
The hope is that more such appliances will become customizable, even if only for aesthetic reasons. Certainly, the general idea has caught the attention of Hoover’s Global Vice-President of Product Development, Paul Bagwell (real title, real name!): “We are driven by innovation that meets consumers’ needs, and we are continually evaluating new technology that may help deliver this.”