This has been a long time in the making. After some time of experimentation I have made truly flexible inserts. So far, the inserts manufactured, have been from “rigid” plastics (either PLA or PETG). The reason they “flexed” is the thin sections that allowed them to have some movement for a few times before they snapped. This design is what’s called a “living hinge”. It’s supposed to have a lot more life to it because it’s usually made of other more appropriate plastics. The plastics I use to 3D print (PLA and PETG) are not the best plastics for this kind of hinge, although arguably PETG is a lot better at it. But bringing this design to this product allowed the achievement of the main goal which was to remove the animal easily. It also allowed for these to be manufactured easy with the same materials, hence dropping the cost. The decision to provide two of them with every purchase was an effort to offset their finite use life.
In the product page the inserts are clearly marked as consumables, i.e. after a few uses (less for PLA than PETG) they will break and will have to be replaced. However, this has caused some understandable frustration among those who have bought these boxes. Even though they are advertised as consumables, there’s understandable disappointment when they do break (sometimes after a use or two). Getting this feedback has lead me into a continuous attempt to solve this problem.
Enter the new TPU inserts. Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is a reef safe plastic. I have tested this for quite some time now in my own reef with no signs of problems or ill effects. There’s also a lot of discussion in the reefing community regarding TPU and the consensus is that there’s no problem to be expected (look at this thread for instance on R2R). I have no hesitation using this material in my own reef hence I am now offering it to the people that buy from me. From here on out I will be including these types of inserts with your order. If you want to get the PLA or PETG ones, please indicate so.
For the clients that have already bought EZRemove boxes from me I wanted to give an easy and cheap way to get these new inserts. I will be selling these at cost ($5 for a pair, $15 for 8 of them) to anybody that has bought these boxes before today and has received the PLA or PETG inserts. If you want to follow that route, please contact me.
As always, your mileage may vary. Do your own research and be informed. Never leave things alone, not only my 3D printed parts but even products from “big” brand companies. Sometimes parts fail and it’s our responsibility as the caretakers to inspect and remove anything that is not working properly (magnets, heaters, pumps etc).