Reviving a Laptop with the help of 3D-Printing

2 minute read

Screen Lock

Fellow maker Tim Schabe recently acquired a ThinkPad laptop, and doing some cleanup, he noticed the screen didn’t properly close up.

On Thingiverse, he found a small 3D-printed clip that aids to align the screen and prevent it from scratching on the keyboard. All credit goes to Lev Koshkin for his design “Lenovo ThinkPad X230T Screen Locks”, released under an Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license. Thanks for sharing your STL!

I offered Tim to print it, so let me share my findings how I was able to print that tiny clip. First of all, I choose PET-G, even though the description said PLA. Main reason for that was, that I didn’t have PLA in the same, bright red color of the ThinkPad laptop. But PET-G is also minimally flexible, which is desirable in this application.

Info

This part was printed on my Ender 3, with an E3D V6 hotend and a M4 extruder. I used a 0,25mm nozzle for increased resolution!

Here you can see the very first attempt. Not only were there filament residues from the previous print (black), but also you can see severe over-extrusion and lack of cooling. The part just “melted” away. It was difficult to find a good printing orientation, but by orientating them “lying down”, there was only a small support structure needed and the pins had the most strength. It’s almost impossible to break them by hand.

First Attempt

In my next attempt, I reduced the layer height to 0,08 mm and the extrusion width to 0,25 mm. This gave me a lot higher resolution. However, you could still see some over-extrusion. I also reduced the printing speed significantly, going down to 15mm/s! This was the very first time I tried “ironing” in PrusaSlicer, but as you can see, it only moved the excess plastic elsewhere, and the top surface wasn’t very nice:

Ironing

Tip

Print parts individually to prevent stringing and blobs!

Only after further decreasing the extrusion multiplier, the parts started to look good. With some further adjustments, I was able to produce a nice part with sufficient accuracy. By having the print on a small printed raft, I could even make the bottom layers look good. Only the support interfaces dropped a bit.

Result

Thanks for reading this post, and feel free to follow along with Tim, to see how he modifies his laptop further. Send me an email if you had a similar story where 3D-Printing was useful or if you have a problem that could be solved with it!

ThinkPad