3D printing for historic industrial machinery

A part has broken on a piece of machinery in one of the industrial heritage sites in the North West and the machinery can no longer be run because a replacement part can’t be sourced.

Museum Development North West, the industrial heritage organisation and a 3D printing department at a regional university have met to consider whether or not it’s possible to 3D print a replacement part to enable it to run again. Site visits will take place in September to consider the possibilities and get the process underway.

The problem of not being able to run and demonstrate historic machinery in their authentic settings because of broken and obsolete machinery parts is not unique to this heritage organisation, and we would like to carry out a quick anonymous survey of Industrial Heritage Networks’ members to gauge at this early stage the scale of the issue.

If you are in a similar situation, and have machinery that is unable to run because of broken or obsolete parts, we would appreciate you taking two minutes to complete this survey – https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/YPSLSKL.

2 thoughts on “3D printing for historic industrial machinery

  • This appears to be a bizarre solution. Surely, the broken part is either wood or metal and can be replaced like for like? How authentic is it to have a plastic part that could be easily made via the authentic method by a craftsperson?


    • Hi Paul – thank you for your comment. Please do feel in the survey to share your views there, and so your comments are passed on to the team collating the data on this subject. Thank you!


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