There is a growing demand around the world for a new right, the Right to Repair. However, the fight for this right is long and difficult.
Printables new initiative could be a major boost for these demands. But what is this Right to Repair and what is Printables’ new initiative?
Right to Repair
Right to Repair refers the rights of a user to be able to repair or replace a broken part of a product bought by them. This might seem obvious, right? If an individual has bought a product, they must possess the right to repair it? However, it isn’t so.
Big tech manufacturers earn loads from servicing these sold products. Not only do they stop the buyers from getting their products serviced through third party vendors, they add useless hurdles in their way of repairing, for one and only one purpose: increasing profits.
Even if there is a minor problem with a little part, instead of finding the place where the problem has occurred, the entire system is replaced. The poor user is left with no choice as they have no option, but to go to the manufacturer approved service centers only.
These extra hurdles lead to an increased expenditure on the buyers part, both in terms of money and time. An additional emotional stress and frustration should also be counted on the buyer’s part. Hence, there is an increasing demand to allow the Right to Repair to customers.
Printables is a free repository of 3D printable parts. It is an initiative by Prusa Printers. Earlier, the repository was named PrusaPrinters.com. However, the name was changed with a change in company’s branding and hence a new name domain name Printables.com was adopted.
Recently, the company announced a partnership with several different companies that include the likes of Raspberry Pi, World of Warships, Framework Computer, Bohemia Interactive, Adafruit and Prusa Research. The partnership was aimed at making printable parts of some of the products of these companies available to the general public for free.
Raspberry Pi has made the model of an Iron Man’s Arc Reactor model public. World of Warships has made an extensively detailed model of Warship St. Louis available. Bohemia Interactive has released a number of models which includes a soldier, a tank and a Gryphon.
You can check the complete list of brands and their released products here.
Although, in terms of scale this might seem a very tiny affair, however this is a major symbolic change against the dominance of manufactures and can spiral into an industry of its own.
For a long time, people had been wondering about 3D printing. After the introduction of 3D printers, the reception has been at best lukewarm. Among the primary reasons behind this slow growth is the lack of availability and access of usable models.
Printables’ new initiative, solves two problems at once. Once, it gives 3D printers a much needed reason to multiply in numbers and reach as many homes as possible. Second, it gives a unique solution to the Right to Repair demands.
Anyone can print the damaged part easily, if it is easily available to download and sculpt. On the manufacturer’s part, they won’t have to worry about manufacturing or acquiring each individual part.
Although the new initiative is a welcoming one there is still a long way to go. More companies and more products should be available for printing online. This change would directly hit a firm’s revenue and hence is a tough nut to crack. This definitely would take time.
However, companies like Printables can make the desired change. Printables initially was just a platform for people to post their individual 3-D designs that can be used by anyone. Now, some of the tech firms have hopped in as well.
There is no reason to believe, why it wouldn’t get better from here.
Very interesting ! I have personally felt this issue as well, as talked about in the article. I hope that more companies like this one open up and this project scales higher. I do see a varied variety of opportunities across many domains!
I fully support the Right to Repair movement and initiatives like Printables’ partnership with companies to make printable parts available. It’s important for consumers to have the option to repair their own products or seek out third-party repair services, rather than being limited to the manufacturer or authorized service centers. This not only saves us money and time, but also helps to reduce waste and support more sustainable consumption practices.
The idea behind “right to repair” is in the name: If you own something, you should be able to repair it yourself or take it to a technician of your choice. People are pretty used to this concept when it comes to older cars and appliances, but right-to-repair advocates argue that modern tech, especially anything with a computer chip inside, is rarely repairable.
In recent years, countries around the world have been attempting to pass effective ‘right to repair’ laws. But it is no surprise that the movement has faced tremendous resistance from tech giants such as Apple and Microsoft over the years as they have to make profits continuously from the market and they have to introduce the latest tech every time.
The average consumer purchases an electronic gadget, knowing that it will very quickly become obsolete as its manufacturer releases newer, shinier, and more amped up versions of the same device. So, people starts searching for the latest upgraded model which results in the increase of e-waste.
Right to repair is a great initiative to reduce the e-waste for the cause of safety of our environment and decrease health-hazards.