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Found: Make your own 3D printed disc brake pad spacers

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All images from Thingiverse.

Little things like this are easy to lose (if they even came with your bike), but they can save the day when you’ve gotta remove the wheels to travel with your bike. One accidental squeeze of the levers and you’ve gotta find something to pry the pads apart enough to get your rotor back in place. While a flat head can do the job, it could also damage the pads, so better to avoid the issue in the first place by simply inserting something that’s better looking than a scrap piece of corrugated cardboard (which also works, BTW, but only as preventative maintenance). Thingiverse has you covered with the plans to print your own, you just need a 3D printer (or a friend or makerspace with one).

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23 Comments
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mac
mac
6 years ago

Or take a brake block from a bleed kit and file it into a wedge shape.

OGMarkV
OGMarkV
6 years ago

so….it’s a 3D print file for a Shimano-style brake block, which looks exactly like the actual Shimano-made one that is shipped with all Shimano brakes, does exactly the same thing as the actual Shimano-supplied item, and in fact, is only slightly more competent than a random piece of cardboard? I’m trying to imagine the demographic to whom this makes sense….something like a tech-nerd who has an antagonistic relationship with the only bike shop in his/her town, because most bike shops just have extras lying around. They’d probably give you one for free if you asked nicely.

catpartyevents
6 years ago
Reply to  OGMarkV

i happen to have a 3d printer and next bike shop is miles away, also they suck.

Sputnik
Sputnik
6 years ago

Does it shock you that people buy things that they can get for free, or that they don’t need?

TheOracle
TheOracle
6 years ago

Make your own 3-D printed brake block? What a waste of time to develop this. Every shop everywhere should have dozens of these brake blocks just sitting there. All you need to do is walk in and ask for one. Even if you get caught off guard without one while traveling there are plenty of solutions already in your car or suitcase; a piece of cardboard, a folded piece of paper, a paper coffee/soda cup.

Roger_Roger
Roger_Roger
6 years ago

Oh man, I love it when people complain about something done for the spirit of the sport and available free. Nice work, commenters.

Roger_Roger
Roger_Roger
6 years ago
Reply to  Roger_Roger

Also, this would be great for small shops or custom builders to deboss thier logo into. One of those little details some customers really appreciate.

mac
mac
6 years ago
Reply to  Roger_Roger

“Let’s put a bowl of embossed brake blocks on the counter. People will think it’s so cool.” -said no one ever.

99.9% of customers don’t know what they are. And why would a shop encourage people to bleed their brakes (especially people that don’t even know what the blocks are for)?

Sam
Sam
6 years ago
Reply to  mac

Three things Mac:
1. If you’re gonna criticize, make sure you’re accurate. That is most definitely not a bleed block. If you want to properly bleed your brakes, you need to remove the pads and insert a proper bleed block to keep your piston in place. Otherwise your pads + the spacer don’t keep your pistons in all the way (unless the pads are brand new).
2. Maybe, just maybe, the person who made this is learning CAD and this sounded like a cool project. My kid does this sort of stuff all the time and it’s fantastic. He’s teaching himself a valuable skill, and produces things that are useful. He once designed and 3d printed me a tool that I didn’t have and couldn’t get. Talk about useful!
3. My LBS is great about empowering their customers to fix their own bikes. It’s one of the many reasons I support them. I can go in, get a little advice, buy some parts, and go home/get it done. It’s also the reason I buy all my bikes there.

Too much hate around here…

Adrian
6 years ago

We have many of them in our shop. Just gonto your local shop, maybe you can ask from for free.

Champs
Champs
6 years ago

It is a very good tip that your LBS gives out spares like Halloween candy. This is a good tip, too.

These aren’t #brands trying to squeeze you for overpriced junk, it’s a file so you can print and even customize your own spacers for basically nothing. Print dozens for your service course and team mechanics. Turn them into business cards. Hooray for options!

i
i
6 years ago

I have to hand it to you bikerumor commenters, I know you’re a grumpy lot that hates everything you come to this site to read about, but to complain this bitterly about a free file to replace something you may have lost…

it’s like you think this is a contest to see who has the most first world of problems. ‘Someone is giving away something I don’t want!’ The horror!

T-187
T-187
6 years ago
Reply to  i

Maybe we need Safe Space so nobody’s precious feelings get hurt.

Don’t confuse logic and rational thought with being grumpy haters. Why spend the time and effort to develop something for free which is already available for free? Those who created this are obviously intelligent. Why not spend the the time to make something truly beneficial instead of creating what every shop and home mechanic has dozens of laying around?

Bob Rippleston
Bob Rippleston
6 years ago
Reply to  T-187

Let’s not overstate the issue. This is maybe an hour worth of CAD time for a beginner with a set of calipers and spare block. And speaking of logic and rational thought, why tell people what is worth doing in their free time? I’m guessing you’re probably not actually working on solving the world’s problems when you have a bit of time to spare…

i
i
6 years ago
Reply to  T-187

“Why not spend the the time to make something truly beneficial …”

this coming from someone who spends his free time whining on the internet about what others do with theirs.Sure, he’s not solving the big problems; I’m guessing you’ve never solved one either.

Joe P
Joe P
6 years ago
Reply to  i

Perfect!!!!

the biz
the biz
6 years ago
Reply to  T-187

“Maybe we need Safe Space so nobody’s precious feelings get hurt.” what this really means is “i am about to say something foolish and/or stupid”

Mike_W
Mike_W
6 years ago

If you can custom size the thickness then you can make it thinner than Shimano makes them that leaves the levers with a ridiculous amount of free travel.

Casey
Casey
6 years ago
Reply to  Mike_W

I had the same thought when I saw this article.

jlg
jlg
6 years ago

I love it, thanks the author for sharing 🙂

Joe G.
6 years ago

That’s pretty neat and helpful. Nice work.

I bought an ebay 3d printer and now I'm a "fabricator"
I bought an ebay 3d printer and now I'm a "fabricator"
6 years ago

I use my 3d printer to create a physical topographic map that I can use to navigate to my local bike shop where I then ask for a pad spacer.

Vermont Bicycle Shop
6 years ago

I’ve been using a 3d printer in my bicycle shop since I opened last year. It is one of my most useful tools. I use it to make my own tire levers that I sell in shop, I use it to make brake shims when I need them (like the one here) and I use it to make tools like vise clamp jaws for dropper posts or fork bushing presses. This isn’t anything new, these files are everywhere on the internet, and if not, learning to make your own isn’t too difficult.

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