Don’t like the buttons on your toaster? Just print your own

Don’t like the buttons on your toaster? Just print your own

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Think you’d do a better job designing your household appliances than the manufacturers? You could soon find out.

3D printing has the potential to transform DIY. You can already do things like print your own replacement handle to repair a broken coffee cup. Now software company Autodesk in Toronto, Canada, has developed a system that lets you customize the controls on everyday gadgets such as radios, alarms clocks, toasters, ovens and TV remotes.

The system, called RetroFab, takes in a 3D scan of an appliance – captured with a Kinect depth-sensing camera, say – and then automatically suggests different shapes and layouts for the appliance’s buttons, dials, switches, levers or LEDs. Your options are shown on a screen, overlaid on the scan of your device.

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