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Recently, while watching an episode of “Wheeler Dealer” on the Velocity channel, I watched the characters go out and find a company that could re-manufacture a non-existent part for a vehicle that was no longer made. This vehicle happened to be a European model, but I really don’t think that had any bearing on the outcome. The company was able to duplicate a 3-D image and then produce that part with a 3-D printer. When I saw this, I started thinking of all of the parts that are, or will be extinct in the future. In following the forum, I know that there are probably individuals in our group that understand this concept much better than I. I just wanted to ‘throw’ this out to see if anyone in the larger cities may have seen this TV program, or knows a business that is currently working with this type of manufacturing. I really think this has a lot of merit, as it will allow folks like us to get high quality,hard to find, replacement parts at a reasonable price. I hope that someone will ‘chime’ in with any information or opinions about this subject.
 

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One of the SoCal Nuts
2006 Pacific Blue times 23198 & 21474
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Recently, while watching an episode of “Wheeler Dealer” on the Velocity channel, I watched the characters go out and find a company that could re-manufacture a non-existent part for a vehicle that was no longer made. This vehicle happened to be a European model, but I really don’t think that had any bearing on the outcome. The company was able to duplicate a 3-D image and then produce that part with a 3-D printer. When I saw this, I started thinking of all of the parts that are, or will be extinct in the future. In following the forum, I know that there are probably individuals in our group that understand this concept much better than I. I just wanted to ‘throw’ this out to see if anyone in the larger cities may have seen this TV program, or knows a business that is currently working with this type of manufacturing. I really think this has a lot of merit, as it will allow folks like us to get high quality,hard to find, replacement parts at a reasonable price. I hope that someone will ‘chime’ in with any information or opinions about this subject.
First thing that comes to mind is: are the parts being made of plastic or is the plastic piece used to make the mold to cast the piece?

Next: if a printer can make it then it can probably be made with a CNC machine as a billet piece or in pieces that can be welded or otherwise put together.

Finally: who takes the responsibility if/when the part fails?

I guess part of it also comes down to the credentials of those doing the manufacturing and 3D printing.
 
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I think I can chime in,
as I do have a 3D Printer.
As a general rule, anything printed from a 3D printer is undoubtedly plastic. It starts as what is called a filament, effectively a coiled rope of plastic, I believe mine is .5mm? It's been a little while since I checked.

Anyway, the filament is heated and extruded through a .2mm? nozzle. All prints are constructed in parallel layers, and usually take about four to six hours to print something small.
Seeing as they are parallel layers, the compression strength (Z Axis) is inherently going to be greater than that of the (X Axis) or (Y Axis), and prints are modeled accordingly in the generating computer software.

There are different grades of filament as well.
Minor figure prints can be made in a more pliable, reasonably inexpensive filament, which can be had in a variety of colors.
I've seen the episode in question, and the filament they used was a higher end industrial filament which is able to be on the more expensive side.

I'm fairly certain the US$7 he paid for his parts were lowered for the TV exposure and the fact that he only asked for a 2cm gear.
(If I recall correctly.)

I can vouch that 3D printing plastic bits for vehicle interiors could be viable, but I definitely wouldn't trust a "homemade" plastic part on an excessive or everyday wear components, (especially in the engine bay or near the exhaust.)
I doubt he's going to be opening and closing his sunroof constantly...
At least I'd hope not.
Extended amounts of time in direct heat can warp or completely melt a plastic print.

I might also add that the "company" he went to, from my memory, was an experimental lab specifically testing what 3D printing could do in a theoretical future situation.
I do know they are working on 3D printing entire vehicles with their heavy industrial grade filaments, but they take dozens of hours to print a decent panel.
I haven't seen any shops around that can 3D print for vehicle use, (but I also haven't been looking.) If you do find a shop who can 3D print for a vehicle, I'd expect to pay a pretty penny for it.

Also, the larger the piece, the longer it takes to print, and as a result, it becomes exponentially more expensive.
That said, I don't see any reason why you couldn't make a mold of the part using a cast from a 3D print, as long as the print was sanded smooth before doing so.

As for responsibility when it fails, it's dependent on how many test prints were run and if the user was careful with the piece. Prints have a tendency to be fragile, especially if the object being printed is not necessarily "self sustainable" upon it's own weight.
A gear, (being a solid block,) is inherently more structurally sound than a leaf, as an example. The leaf is broad in height and width, but is paper thin and will tend to bend, fold or tear, three things not commonly stated about gears.

At this point in time, 3D printing is still mostly for novelty or aesthetics, or light duty mechanicals if any mechanicals at all.
3D printing as a concept is still in the experimental stage.
I think his sunroof gear qualifies as light duty.
I'd say CNC is the way to go if durability is part of the question, or if there is significant heat near where the part is going.

I hope this answers a few questions... ?
 

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Great info given Studmuffin, I learned something and I think I remember that episode. Lack of parts availability is what concerns me most about our rides.
 

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I believe that Dictator and another member are already on this , I have been given the job to get a roof hydraulic reservoir done on an upscale 3D printer , but there are some special condition that come out when you want to use a liquid and a 3D object.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Great explanation from Studmuffin. I thought there would probably be a few folks that could give us a good overview of this technology. It sounds like there is still a lot of work to do, but there may be hope for cloning auto parts in the future depending on the application and the material used. Thanks for enlightening novices like myself.
 

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BAD BOW TIE
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I saw an episode of Leno's Garage and they were making parts for one of his steam vehicles. He has lots of vehicles there are no parts for so he decided to make the parts. He can afford it.
 

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SSR Pit Crew
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I am exploring parts by 3-D already, have been for a while.

Have prototype of dash covers for cup/coin holder, of course "textured" which makes 3-D even more difficult. They are acceptable, working with SSR owner in Kansas.

Also working on Dash Vents which are even more difficult in 3-D.

I am told it is not the printer, it is writing the program that is the most costly.

Stay tuned!

I am making Hydraulic Reservoirs for our Roof Pump the old fashion way, using a machine shop. Problem is material, not making them.

Not quite there yet but only been working on them for a year now.

Getting very/very close to a good reservoir for our SSR.

Dicktator
 

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The technology is no doubt evolving rapidly and my guess is the future is bright. I know one of my buddies has used it already to duplicate some plastic, Bakelite formerly, parts for his ‘46 Chevy truck restoration. Those look amazingly like originals. I imagine in the coming years we’ll see at least some metal parts reproduced similarly and meeting oem specs.
 

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My son 3D printed some sun visor clips for his car ( hold the visor to the roof near the rear view mirror). The originals had broken. They looked perfect and held the sun visor quite well. Then it got hot. The plastic got soft and the visors no longer stay tight against the roof.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Printing parts

Just FYI. 3D printing is in high use in both DOD and NASA programs. There are quite a lot of “additive manufacturing” parts on Space X Falcon 9 launch vehicles. They have a 3D printer on the ISS for making tools etc as the space station has to wait on deliveries. The material used in the printer does matter and there are many different types now. Space X calls their printer a “replicator” because they can. I’ll look for a public link and post it.:smile2: https://www.3ders.org/3d-printing-basics.html
 

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I saw the episode that you are talking about and what thy did was perfect for the application they needed it for. Extruded home printers use nozzles from .1 - .5 MM standard is .2 and you can vary the thickness of each layer. With them you can use many different materials PLA (polylactic acid) is the most common but ABS, Nylon, Wax and composts with wood Carbon fiber and others can be used.

In that situation the visible layers would not mater since it is inside the mechanism So an extruded or FDM (fused deposition modeling) printer was used. For items that would be visible or decorative SLS (selective laser sintering), or SLA (stereolithograhpy) will print using a resin that is hardened with the use of a laser so the layers are not detectable and produce amazing detail.

Production of the 3D model would be the most costly expense and that was why on that episode they opted for a laser scanner to import a digital map that was cleaned up before printing.

The one thing that I thought was funny is that he made it seam like he walked in scanned it and printed it all in a short time. in reality just the print that size would have been 3-4 hours for a high quality print.


The takeaway is if we can find someone that is good with CAD software they could create the models for a minimal cost the parts could be printed in mass cheaply in many places around the US.
 

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Genuinely SSR Obsessed
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To be totally truthful I was thinking this discussion might be taking a completely different direction..........


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:surprise:




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David
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