Detroit is home to hundreds of Queen Anne Victorian mansions built around the turn of the 19th century. While some have been preserved, unfortunately many have fallen into a state of disrepair. Thankfully renovation and construction companies have taken on the task of restoring these incredible buildings to their former beauty. Among those companies is JC Beal Construction, a Detroit based company that specializes in construction and related services.
While working on a house in Corktown, Detroit, JC Beal contacted us to recreate decorative spindles that were originally crafted out of wood and adorned the upper frame of a house’s porch. The spindles were too damaged and paint-covered to repair so the best option was to replace them. In order to continue their project JC Beal needed to create 42 replacement spindles in about one week. Traditional forms of manufacturing had lead times that were too long, so the construction company searched for novel options. They came across 3D printing and requested our services.
Our process began by collecting measurements from the actual spindle and translating the shape to CAD format. We then 3D printed a test piece to compare to the original and included a channel in the bottom in which to insert wooden dowel rod. Once JC Beal validated the part we moved onto production of the remaining 41 spindles, cut dowels to length and assembled the pieces. 3D printing parts that were previously spun on a lathe over 100 years ago was an interesting and convenient application for the technology.