It’s Time For An Adapter Generator

By on March 29th, 2018 in Ideas


 How can you easily create adapter designs?
How can you easily create adapter designs?

There’s something I’d like to see: a universal adapter generator.

3D model generators have been around for a while. The idea is to provide a requestor with the opportunity to specify a couple of key parameters, and then allow software to automatically create the corresponding 3D model. 

Most of the time generators focus on a very narrow scope. Adding text to an existing 3D model, for example, or changing the size of a 3D model. 

The biggest problem for those with 3D printers is finding a generator that produces the kind of item they want. There’s no central source for them, although some 3D model repositories include a number of them.

My observation is that there are some more frequently encountered use cases for generators that may not be properly addressed. If these use cases were easy to resolve, then we may see more use of desktop 3D printers. 

One use case that I think deserves a good solution is that of adapters. These are small plastic objects that serve as a connection between two unlike components. The problem is that you can almost never find the right adapter for a given situation, and when you do, it’s usually available from an obscure online provider at a ridiculous price. 

There are several areas where such adapters are typically required, including plumbing, HVAC, toys, electrical, photography, astronomy, and many others. In each area folks find themselves facing connector issues without solutions. 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if anyone finding themselves with that dilemma could call up a kind of “adapter generator” where they could select the necessary specifications and a correct 3D model could be instantly generated for immediate 3D printing? 

Some parameters I’d like to see in this generator:

  • Shape (round, square, number of edges, oval, etc)
  • Length
  • Threading (size, location, depth)
  • Taper

And there are more; this could be quite extensive, and I don’t think it would be terribly difficult to produce. 

Does such a thing exist? I haven’t been able to find one, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one hidden somewhere on the Internet. 

This concept doesn’t end here, with an adapter generator. If one could make a single page that can generate adapters, why not have a series of pages that can each generate different common items that require customization? I’d be hitting that site frequently, as I am sure others would too. 

That would certainly beat chasing through hundreds of 3D models on today’s typical repositories. 

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!