Chinese Nikon parts supplier
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RCicala
Registered: Jan 09, 2005
Total Posts: 2905
Country: United States

When Nikon first stopped selling parts I thought it would be only a matter of time before their Chinese suppliers started selling them outside of Nikon.

Here's the first one. They don't stock everything but have things like LCD screens, switches, buttons, and other simple-to-replace parts that might let some of us avoid sending something in to Nikon for repair.

http://www.skiliwah.cn/


NOTE: I can't verify working with these folks first-hand - I've just placed my first order just today. But some people I do know have ordered from them and gotten their orders without problems.



cputeq
Registered: Jun 25, 2008
Total Posts: 4675
Country: United States

I'm surprised some enterprising person with a 3-D printer hasn't CAD'd up some parts already and made a side business out of the situation - maybe the printers are not accurate enough yet, or spools of plastic too expensive.



zippy_monster
Registered: Jan 19, 2011
Total Posts: 158
Country: United States

cputeq wrote:
I'm surprised some enterprising person with a 3-D printer hasn't CAD'd up some parts already and made a side business out of the situation - maybe the printers are not accurate enough yet, or spools of plastic too expensive.


Well, unfortunately, you're not going to be able to 3D print a LCD with existing technology. My experience is that 3D printers are fairly accurate, but extremely fiddly extrusion type printers like the MakerBot models are poorly suited to mass producing items.



cputeq
Registered: Jun 25, 2008
Total Posts: 4675
Country: United States

Not an LCD of course but things like CF doors, other plastic parts.



jhinkey
Registered: Jan 08, 2010
Total Posts: 5664
Country: United States

cputeq wrote:
I'm surprised some enterprising person with a 3-D printer hasn't CAD'd up some parts already and made a side business out of the situation - maybe the printers are not accurate enough yet, or spools of plastic too expensive.

More than likely the 3D printers don't use appropriate materials for just about any part on a camera that you'd care to replace.



zippy_monster
Registered: Jan 19, 2011
Total Posts: 158
Country: United States

jhinkey wrote:
cputeq wrote:
I'm surprised some enterprising person with a 3-D printer hasn't CAD'd up some parts already and made a side business out of the situation - maybe the printers are not accurate enough yet, or spools of plastic too expensive.

More than likely the 3D printers don't use appropriate materials for just about any part on a camera that you'd care to replace.


3D printers can do a variety of materials including metal, ABS plastic, and PLA plastic. You can also find low end CNC machines for about as much as a cheap 3D printer (which would open up more variety in materials). MakerBot even had a kit for a 3D scanner that you could use in conjunction with a 3D printer.

But... in addition to 3D printers being finicky and ill-suited for mass production, the open source software is quite a bit more crude than the commercial alternatives. And commercial 3D CAD software is quite expensive. For the time being, it's still probably cheaper to scavange old bodies for parts.



jhinkey
Registered: Jan 08, 2010
Total Posts: 5664
Country: United States

I still say that most of the materials that a 3D printer can use you'd not want for replacement parts for your camera.

You need things like:
- Rubbers
- Magnesium Alloy
- Thermoset Polycarbonate

And besides it's not a production-type of thing as you've stated.



zippy_monster
Registered: Jan 19, 2011
Total Posts: 158
Country: United States

jhinkey wrote:
I still say that most of the materials that a 3D printer can use you'd not want for replacement parts for your camera.

You need things like:
- Rubbers
- Magnesium Alloy
- Thermoset Polycarbonate

And besides it's not a production-type of thing as you've stated.


Well, for small parts, would ABS really be insufficient? I'm conflicted here... I like consumer grade 3D printers., they're priced at a very approchable point. But... the one I've used has been really fiddly, and the extrusion process leaves a bit to be desired precision-wise.

That said, CNC should be okay for a mag alloy. Dunno that there's really a market for replacement chassis parts tho. I'd imagine it's all the plastic stuff that bolts up to it that you'd worry about (battery & data card doors come to mind).



CAlbertson
Registered: Dec 17, 2012
Total Posts: 99
Country: United States

cputeq wrote:
Not an LCD of course but things like CF doors, other plastic parts.



The plastic material is not good enough. The way you use the 3D printer is to make a "plug" and then from that you make a female mold and then from that you make the real part.

The printer is good for proof of concept prototype that are not strong and for making the part that later gets a mold pulled from it. But they make very poor quality camera parts, not even for a toy camera

If you really wanted to mass produce a plastic door, first buy a real battery door, coat it with wax then epoxy over the wax, pop out the door and now you have an epoxy mold with which you can make 100 rip-off parts. OK there are a few more step to make a three part epoxy mold but basically you start the the finished product or lacking that make one with the 3D printer. But the parts you sell come from the mold, not the printer.



Nikon_14
Registered: Dec 08, 2011
Total Posts: 1428
Country: United States

Thanks for sharing. I can't feel much sympathy for Nikon given their strategy to make repairs prohibitively expensive; this is a terrific example of how the free market will help bring Nikon back to reality.

Otherwise we all start looking at Canon or maybe even Pentax or Sony if they improve their product enough to try to grab some of Nikon's market share.


RCicala wrote:
When Nikon first stopped selling parts I thought it would be only a matter of time before their Chinese suppliers started selling them outside of Nikon.