Types of spare parts

Original Parts

Original parts are those made and distributed by the manufacturers themselves. Buying an original part gives you the highest chance that the part will correctly fit the device

You can obtain an original part by contacting the shop owner where you bought your appliance, or by ordering the spare parts online. However, manufacturers do not always produce spare parts, or limit availability to authorised repairers.

Third Party Parts

Where original spare parts are not available, third party parts often are, with smartphone screens being a good example.

Some third party spare parts are identical to the genuine article and even come off the same production line. For example, a smartphone screen or battery manufacturer may simply continue a manufacturing run after satisfying the original order. However, the source of a spare part may be impossible to ascertain without a visit to East Asia, which some reputable parts suppliers may actually have undertaken!

A lack of accountability can be a problem when buying third party parts, as it can be difficult to determine in advance if a spare part will be fit for purpose. Depending on where you buy, warranty and refund options may be limited.

Repaired and Remanufactured Parts

Repaired parts are spare parts that have been extracted from a used device and were made functional again. It can be difficult to tell what to expect from a repaired part. Some might have been fixed in an unreliable way (e.g. reflowing a chip on the motherboard), others might have required only small repairs like a software reconfiguration and might work very well. 

“Remanufactured" is a protected term though, which means that the product meets all specifications of the original new product.

Remember, whenever buying spare parts, it is good to look for a long warranty period and to buy from a reputable and accountable manufacturer.

Salvaged Parts

Salvaged parts are parts that you, or someone else was able to ‘save’ by taking them out of another—often discarded—’donor’ device. Contrary to repaired or remanufactured parts, salvaged parts are usually not verified or tested

From some devices it is easier to salvage parts than from others. 
Desktop PCs for instance, are designed to be more modular for the end user and individual parts are designed to adhere to widely adopted standards. So, individual working parts from a desktop PC can typically be used as spare parts. 

In other devices, end user modification or salvaging is not promoted and reusing parts is more difficult, as they are more often bespoke for that particular device. For example, many televisions would have their own unique power supply and motherboard that could only be directly used again in that same model of TV.

Salvaged spare parts will have individual components that can be used again in other devices, such as resistors, capacitors, diodes or transistors, though individually, few of these would be worth salvaging except by an electronics hobbyist. A few local repair communities (with other partners) have started creating physical spare parts libraries, making it possible for Repair Cafés to have a few popular (or rare) spare parts ‘in stock’.

3D printed parts can offer a great, accessible and cheap solution for simple problems like broken buttons on a device. Photo by Julieta Bolanos Arriola.
3D printed parts can offer a great, accessible and cheap solution for simple problems like broken buttons on a device. Photo by Julieta Bolanos Arriola.

3D printed spare parts

Recently, 3D printing has begun to offer great solutions for certain spare parts that can be used in repairs. As the technology gets more advanced and accessible, both Repair Cafés and professionals have started exploring its potential. Whether or not your device can be repaired in a durable manner with a 3D-printed spare part, depends on various factors.

In any case, you will need to find a 3D printing design file of the specific part that you need. Take a look at platforms like Myminifactory to find an example of open designs that are available and tested by others. If you can't find an existing 3D model,  some parts can be quite simple to redesign with 3D design software. To learn how to use these, many video tutorials are available online.

Want to know more about how to decide whether 3D printing can offer a good solution to your problem? Read more about it in this article, or check out this series of accessible tutorial videos on 3D-printing for repair, created by experts from Manchester Metropolitan University and TU Delft.

More on 3D printing for repair

Source of this information

The information shared in this article is based on the information shared by Restarters in their Wiki. For the original article, please check https://wiki.restarters.net/Spare_parts