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Niagara-on-the-Lake
Sunday, December 4, 2022
Repair Café brings new life to household items
Walter Weaver tends to the broken sewing machine during the Repair Café on Saturday. Julia Sacco
Leleein Naderi and Esther Battista watch patiently as a new gear for Battista’s sewing machine 3D prints during library Repair Cafe on Saturday. Julia Sacco

Niagara-on-the-Lake resident Esther Battista stopped by the library last week in hopes of getting some advice on where to find a repair person to fix her sewing machine, only to find out that the Repair Café was taking place a few days later.

Battista purchased the mini-machine at the Mission Thrift Store in St. Catharines in hopes of giving it a new life but soon found out that it was missing a vital piece. 

With the help of volunteer fixers and Maker Space facilitator Megan Honsberger, she was able to get the machine repaired – for free.

“Our fixer took everything apart. They thought it was going to be a belt repair, but when they took a lot at it, he saw that the gear was cracked, and I said, ‘Well, we have a 3D printer, so why don’t we see what we can do?’ ” said Honsberger. 

“I found a similar piece on Thingiverse and I used our 3D modelling program to change it to our measurements.”

Battista watched anxiously as the part was created. 

“We are 3D printing a gear for the sewing machine that otherwise I don’t know that we would’ve been able to find because it seems like a very specific type of piece,” said Battista.

“This is probably my best shot at getting it fixed!”

Honsberger said other repairs of the day included a mini wine fridge, a laminating machine and an air filter. 

Library service associate Sarah Bowers encourages residents to come down to the library for the next Repair Café planned in the spring and take advantage of the library’s Makery Space. 

“We’ve gotten some amazing grants that have allowed us to really bump up the space,” said Bowers.

“The amount of things that people can learn from bringing their stuff into this space is amazing.”

The NOTL Public Library offers a variety of services aside from the Repair Cafe that patrons can access at any time, including a tool lending service, which allows guests to borrow tools for one-week periods.

People can also access tools that can be used within the library.