Replicator rescue

I’ve been away for a while and other posts touching on that travel are pending, but I need to take a moment to wallow in a little self-indulgent geekery. It’s not even that geeky really, but it is deeply satisfying at a level I know I won’t be able to get across on screen.

It starts way back in the early oughts with the purchase of my fixer-upper house and its fixing-upping with IKEA. One room in the house received a pair of GIR light fixtures to replace a couple of bare bulbs jammed into 1960’s-era utility brackets. I really hate naked bulbs in any light fixture. Skip ahead a few years and I’m building an addition to the house. For green and sentimental reasons I kept one fixture to illuminate a small passageway to the backyard. The  fixture was installed but amid all the hustle and bustle of construction the small plastic clips holding the glass covers were lost.

If you know IKEA you know some products disappear without warning and so it was with the GIR fixture. The clips were not available unless I bought what looked like the GIR’s successor, the PULT. As inexpensive as it was, it went against the grain to buy a whole light fixture just to get these tiny parts. And I did not, so a bare bulb once again was in the house.

Skip ahead to the current decade and the rise of the 3D printer. This past summer I made the happy discovery of a IKEA hacker site. It was just a short search from there to a guy who found himself in the same position with the fixture. He also had a 3D printer and created a replacement clip. Replacement? It was a facsimile, a replicant, a functional and physical copy. As I prepared for a trip to the Midwest I wondered if I could persuade him to create a set for me.

While I was in Chicago I found a  solution in the pages of USA Today while breakfasting at Sunny Side Up. A company called Shapeways accepted made-to-order plans.  A payment, a few emails and a few days later, a box was tossed over the gate to my front door.


This is a company focused on design. I like the company’s clean name and icon on the box. I also like how the simple blue star icon is repeated on the small plastic parts bag. To me this speaks to the planning and presentation of their product.



Here’s my ceiling fixture reunited with its glass cover, after seven years.

Like I said, I can’t really convey why this is such a big deal for me, but it is a very satisfying end to a piece of unfinished business.

P.S. Lest you think Inter-IKEA Systems B.V. is in trouble because of the rise of the 3D printer, they actually encourage such hacks. They do not, however, encourage the use of the name ikeahackers.


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