SMEG fridge shelf design and replacement

The plastic shelf corners in our SMEG fridge are quite flimsy and after a couple of years they just broke away. It has been impossible to source replacements so we decided to design a simple functional 3D printable piece to replace them, you can find the STL files on our Deprogramming Obsolescence repository (along with editable OpenSCAD files in case you need to adjust the pieces). If you modify the designs can you share them back with the community please?

Back-side shelf

The piece around the back of the shelf is a bit more elaborate and is the one that tends to break more often, over half of our shelves back-side plastic corners have broken, sometime on both left and right side. This is what a healthy piece looks like:

And over time, the piece at the end that goes into the side rails and holds all the weight breaks away and ends up like this:

The new piece is a simple design, a replacement for the end that has broken away which is then attached using two screws to the old piece:

The piece is symmetric, so you can print it to replace both the right and left corners; it should print without supports.

Before you install the replacement piece you may need to remove any remaining bits of the broken piece, just try to fit the new piece and remove with a stanley cutter anything from the old piece that gets in the way.

Using the 3D-printed piece as a template, drill a couple of holes through the placeholders so that the old piece plastic ends up with two holes:

Using two M3x12 screws and a self-locking M3 nut attach the replacement piece to the old piece and tighten it as this piece will support most of the weight of the shelf once installed. I did not use any glue or other chemical bonding, just the mechanical screws - but if you have any suggestions here always happy to learn.

The shelf can now be replaced, or move on to the next section in case the front-side shelf plastic pieces are also broken.

Front-side shelf

The front-piece is quite straightforward, it holds the glass on two sides and works as a corner which in itself rests against the rails on the side of the fridge:

In our case the whole corner of the piece just broke out, leaving the piece with no support at the front. The design is again quite simple, just a corner with a grove for the glass to slide in:

If you print the design in the original STL orientation you should have no need to use supports, however given the height and the relatively low surface you need really good first layer adherence.

Because the piece is not glued the glass is a snug fit, you will need to use quite a but of force to insert the glass in - I suggest using a rubber hammer or, if you do not have one handy, just fit in the piece on the glass, then hit the whole assembly until the glass falls into place. Because this is a direct replacement for a part of the front-side, you will need to cut the old plastic part with a stanley knife so that the new piece fits in, the piece measures 8.5cm long:

We have used the pieces for the past month and it seems as if they are going to extend the life of the shelves for at least a couple of years, enjoy the pieces if you use them - and if you make any adjustments please share back on github so that everyone can benefit, let’s continue fighting obsolescence!

Written on 3 March 2019

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