New technology saves local Society thousands of pounds

Friday, 17 April 2015  |  Sabina Gonzalez-George
Nettlebed Art Society Exhibition StandReplacement 3D printed brackets

For over 60 years Nettlebed Art Society has held an annual art and craft exhibition. This provides local artists of all levels of expertise, an opportunity to exhibit (and hopefully sell!) their work. Any profits generated are distributed to local charities, and with the increasing reputation of this show these contributions have grown and are hugely welcomed by the community.


Each year the Society hires exhibition screens at a nominal cost from a neighbouring Art and Craft Guild but with the passage of time, many of the brackets supporting the screens on the posts have broken each year. Consequently, this has resulted in an insufficient number of brackets to allow usage of all available screens. Furthermore, due to the age of the exhibition screens, replacement brackets are no longer available from the original manufacturer. The only foreseeable option was to purchase a full set of new screens.


It was then, that Rob Molyneux, Co Chairperson of Nettlebed Art Society, came to CREAT3D with the scenario, and challenge to produce replacement brackets. 


Due to the age of the exhibition stands, there was no digital file available for the brackets, so this was the first step required to be able to test the feasibility of 3D printing the replacements. Once precise measurements had been taken of the original fitting, a 3D design file was generated within a CAD package to replicate the part. There were several iterations of the design (10 all in all), with testing and fitting of prototypes in between design stages to allow for the 3D design to be finely honed.


Once the design was fine tuned, 100 replacement brackets were 3D printed on the UP Plus 2 desktop 3D printer in ABS filament, as high toughness and longevity of the part were key. Each printed bracket took 34 minutes and used 7g of material, so all 100 were completed over the course of a week (equivalent to just under 57 hours of printing!) with each unit costing just £1 to produce. 


Rob Molyneux Co Chairperson said “We are very grateful to CREAT3D as we were getting a bit desperate! Both Jon and Simon [at CREAT3D] put in a lot of effort to solve the problem of getting the details right. I cannot recommend them highly enough”


3D printing the replacement brackets has saved Nettlebed Art Society thousands of pounds. With no spare brackets available, the exhibition stand was rendered useless, not being able to display and hold artists’ work.  A new exhibition stand would have cost approximately £5,000, far beyond the Society’s means. By 3D printing the replacement brackets, CREAT3D were able to save the Society resource and funds, not only benefitting the Society’s fund pot, but giving the existing screens a new lease of life and benefiting the artists and charities.


There’s also the positive impact on the environment to consider; not only would the old exhibition screens have to been disposed off (or at best, up-cycled), but it also saves resources in the production of new screens.


Using desktop 3D printers is a great way to produce low cost, replacement component parts quickly.


Contact CREAT3D for more information on desktop 3D printing

CREAT3D, Church Street, Caversham, Reading, RG4 8AU

0800 689 10 11


For more information on Nettlebed Art Society contact Rob Molyneux 


Back to Case Studies >