03 Jan 3D Printing – The Future for Small Parts
The new Blum® Vacuum Connector ($75 from FastCap) is made to order and may take a few business days of lead time to be produced. That’s because every unit is made in-house, when ordered, on a 3-D printer. The Connector is a vacuum adapter for wood chip and dust collection (check out the video), and it was designed by a cabinetmaker specifically for the Blum Minipress. It slides onto the depth stops and can attach to a standard shop vac hose that has an outer diameter of 2-1/4”. It makes routing hinge cups easy with no mess to clean up. Without it, there’s a constant battle with chips and dust. FastCap notes that users shouldn’t over-tighten the two thumbscrews, and with the current available plastics and the design of this particular accessory, that’s a valid warning.
3-D printing is advancing in leaps and bounds, so building one-off parts like this is now not only affordable but even profitable. It’s no surprise that FastCap is at the forefront of the effort to monetize and use this technology. The company was founded in 1997 by Paul Akers, a 20-year veteran in cabinetmaking and woodworking whose first product was based on an idea for a self-adhesive screw cap cover. Over the past five years, FastCap has grown exponentially and has expanded its product base to a vast array of woodworking products and tools for professional and hobbyist needs.