If the motor burns out on a cheap desk fan, or the power switch breaks on a simple hand mixer, you're not going to have them repaired. But just replacing cheap appliances is pretty wasteful, so using 3D printing techniques and standard components, a group of designers have proposed a sort of building kit for creating useful household appliances instead of toys.

Inspired by open source software where robust applications can quickly be created by assembling preexisting chunks of code, the initiative hopes to create a similar framework for small appliances so that if only a single component were to fail, the whole thing wouldn't have to be tossed.

The creations do look a little hackneyed, but with access to a 3D printer there's no reason a professional-looking plastic housing couldn't be created to make these appliances appear to be off-the-shelf products. And besides being easy to repair, they could also be easily upgradeable. So if your mixer's motor isn't quite cutting it, you could simply swap in a more powerful unit and show that cookie dough who's boss. [Hacking Households via designboom]

Photos via designboom