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The 3D printing thread


JohnD
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  • 1 month later...

New to the site and just came across this topic. I do a lot of 3D printing (product designer). We have printers at the office and we also put parts out to print bureaus. It depends on the demands of the application. I don't have a printer of my own, but I do have some experience and information to offer on the types of technology out there and their uses.

FDM is the most common type of desktop, home or university printer. It squeezes heated plastic filament through a nozel and builds parts up in layers. It's very low cost, quite a lot of materials and colours available, but it's weak between build layers (it's anisotropic). We usually use this type of print to test if the geometry is correct before doing a final print using another technology. Not good mechanically and quite a low grade surface finish.

SLA is the next most common type. It uses lasers to fuse parts in a bath of liquid resin. A bit more expensive (both the printer and the parts it makes), but very high surface quality. The parts are isotropic, but VERY brittle (even if the manufacturers claim otherwise - ALWAYS brittle). Can make parts in all colours and also clear parts. Can be painted afterwards. Quite dimensionally accurate and can hold fine detail. Cosmetic only though really due to its brittleness.

SLS printers are usually only owned by bureaus. SLS is my process of choice if the part needs to take any mechanical load. Prints can be as strong as a nylon or PU injection moulded component. Not expensive for the prints, but the machines are a step up in cost. In SLS, lasers sinter plastic powder in a tank. The printed parts are tough (not brittle), but the surface finish is quite rough. The parts can be drilled or post-machined though, so if you need a hole in a part with a good, smooth internal bore, you can print a part with a pilot for spotting the centre and drill / enlarge your final hole post print. No supports needed on SLS parts, as they are supported inside the bath of powder. Can also be dyed a range of colours and 'vibro' finished to make them smooth as a post process.

Metal sintering is one I have less experience of, but it's similar to SLS, except it's metal powder in the tank with some resin rather than polymer powder. SLS and metal sintering have much the same characteristics (isotropic, good mechanical performance, rough surface finish) but the metal parts are stronger. Metal sintered parts cost more than polymer SLS.

Many of the aero parts for F1 cars are prototyped as SLA or SLS and tested on track or in the wind tunnel during development. The technology has come on a long way in the last 20 years that I've been using it, but the claims are always overstated. That said, if you use the right process for the right purpose, you can get fantastic results at a fraction of the cost of alternatives like moulding or even CNC machining.

Jim

 

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I started this thread, not from any expertise in the subject but because its gathering importance, and I'm glad to see that more and more exprts and practitioners are posting.

I did the same across the Pond, and likewise there are enthusiasts and experts postsing there, on The Triumph Experience: https://www.triumphexp.com/forum/triumph-performance-forum.26/the-3d-printing-forum.1714643/

As the sharing of ideas is so important in a developing field, you may like to go there and see what they are doing!

John

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Hi folks. I'm from across the "pond" and have been FDM 3D printing for 3 years. I'm a retired machinist and engineer. I got into 3D printing because there are certain parts I couldn't source for the GT6 restoration I was working on. (Which I purchased new in Gosport, England back in 1970.) I currently have 3 printers and I've made over 85 individual parts for my GT6 and TR250. Generally I stay away from parts that require being structurally functional. However, there are some very strong filaments available that can be used for non critical functioning parts. Certainly not used where there are safety concerns. The high end nylons like Taulman 910 and Taulman nylon cast plate filaments are very useful and strong (over 13,000 psi tensile). I use these materials for functional parts. The other very strong filament is PC (polycarbonate-Lexan) and has pretty good heat resistance. These higher end filaments do push the limits of most home affordable 3D printers but can produce some nice quality and strong parts. For parts that need rubber/flex properties, TPU (thermo plastic polyurethane) works very well when rubber parts need to be replicated. It's a great material for making certain types of gaskets or grommets. 

Porsche and Mercedes have had a small catalog of 3D parts available for their old classics. I'm confident that as this technology becomes more mainstream, it will help the classic car fraternity to provide parts that our regular parts suppliers will not because of the low volume and demand so are destined to fade away. Here in the States, it's the older generation that loves our British classics. The younger generation seems to not have the same passion.  3D printing these parts will aid in keeping our cars on the roads.

Thanks John for making me aware of this thread.

BT

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6 minutes ago, BPT said:

Hi folks. I'm from across the "pond" and have been FDM 3D printing for 3 years. I'm a retired machinist and engineer. I got into 3D printing because there are certain parts I couldn't source for the GT6 restoration I was working on. (Which I purchased new in Gosport, England back in 1970.) I currently have 3 printers and I've made over 85 individual parts for my GT6 and TR250. Generally I stay away from parts that require being structurally functional. However, there are some very strong filaments available that can be used for non critical functioning parts. Certainly not used where there are safety concerns. The high end nylons like Taulman 910 and Taulman nylon cast plate filaments are very useful and strong (over 13,000 psi tensile). I use these materials for functional parts. The other very strong filament is PC (polycarbonate-Lexan) and has pretty good heat resistance. These higher end filaments do push the limits of most home affordable 3D printers but can produce some nice quality and strong parts. For parts that need rubber/flex properties, TPU (thermo plastic polyurethane) works very well when rubber parts need to be replicated. It's a great material for making certain types of gaskets or grommets. 

Porsche and Mercedes have had a small catalog of 3D parts available for their old classics. I'm confident that as this technology becomes more mainstream, it will help the classic car fraternity to provide parts that our regular parts suppliers will not because of the low volume and demand so are destined to fade away. Here in the States, it's the older generation that loves our British classics. The younger generation seems to not have the same passion.  3D printing these parts will aid in keeping our cars on the roads.

Thanks John for making me aware of this thread.

BT

Hi BT,

Great to hear you've had so much success! Nice info too. Do you have access to the 3D part data files or did you model the parts yourself?

Have you managed to print FDM parts that aren't porous? We printed a bottle at work and it wept with water. We used a very basic filament though. PLA I think. I'm wondering whether you could print parts like a steering gaiter in TPU without porosity issues? Do the higher end filaments (PC etc.) print non porous rigid parts?

We have a couple of FDM Ultimakers. Also a couple of FormLabs SLA.

Jim

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Hi Jim,  I would shy away from making a vessel that needed to be water/liquid/air tight. I've attempted many times to create the rubber diaphragm in the Delco D204  vacuum retard on the distributor for my GT6. I've been successful only twice out of probably 30 attempts.  I haven't given up yet but porosity is the challenge. I have printed a cup holder but have not tried putting water in it. I should try and see if it is water tight.  PLA is a nice material but so limited for any vehicle parts that I make. Most all my parts I create are nylon, ASA, TPU and PC.  Occasionally I use PETG for simple non-functional parts. I never use PLA other than for toys for the grand kids.  

I create my own parts using CAD. I've used AutoDesk Inventor for over 25 years. That way I create the part I need and have the CAD file and model so I can make modifications and enhance the design of a part if needed. 

I have a Creality CR10, a Creality Ender 5 and a Qidi X-Plus.  The Qidi can get up to 300C on the hot end and can better handle the filaments that need that heat. My Ender 5,, I dedicate that printer for TPU only. The CR 10 handles large prints and certain nylon filaments but nylon pushed that machine to its limits.  The Qidi works best for the high heat filaments like nylon cast plate and PC.  Just as a note; my son has 6 printers, but he only prints PLA.  

Just recently I rebuilt an AC Delco fuel pump to have a spare in my kit I carry in my GT6.  There is a seal in the bottom of the pump that no one supplies in a kit. It is just a dust seal to keep dirt and other contaminants out. So I designed my own seal using TPU and rebuilt my pump and it works nice. It's fun to need a part, sit down at the computer, create the CAD model, feed it to the printer then just go back out into the workshop and then just a short time later go in and take the part off the printer and install it. Great satisfaction.

As mentioned, I've made over 85 different part numbers for Triumphs, most for my TR250 and GT6 but a fair number of parts for the TR7 & TR8, TR6 and Spitfire models. At one time I was going to start a small business and create a website for Triumph NLA parts but I remembered I was retired and was concerned this hobby would become a job.  I like being retired to much I guess. My wife thinks I'm addicted to printing. She may be right.

BT

  

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Great info BT!

If you don't decide to come out of retirement and start selling these parts, you must share your CAD files with someone! With the data, anyone can send prints to a bureau. Not as satisfying as printing yourself, but it's the way we will all be sourcing parts soon enough.

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Actually, I do sell some parts. The sales help cover the cost of printer maintenance, materials etc. I've just never finished the website and let it go live. Sales are totally by word of mouth so that helps limit the process. Most sales are in the US and Canada naturally but there have been certain parts that I've shipped to England, Belgium, France, Spain and Australia. Those would be parts that no one is currently making. The problem with shipping overseas is the huge cost, it usually at least doubles the costs. Plus on my end it's special packaging, customs forms and the extra time for deliveries. So I try to avoid all that if possible. Really no reason why a part can't be shown to an engineer there and have them do the re-engineering to create the CAD files. 

I agree Jim, in just a few years we will look at a catalog of parts for our cars, download the STL file, and print the part on our home printer.  With Thingiverse that's what happening now. Just not a lot of Triumph parts there--yet.  A few but not many and since the CAD file is not available, modifications can't be made. Material choice is one of the more important factors to consider, and each material prints different so tolerances can be difficult to hold tight. By having your own CAD file, it can be tweaked as necessary to make a part better and stronger when needed. 

Picture of my GT6 attached. Hope your GT6 is running well.

GT 7-24-2020-1.JPG

GT & TR 9-6-2020b.JPG

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Beautiful Jim, welcome to the world of Triumph and especially the GT6. I painted my GT6 this past summer so hence the shine. Notice on my GT6 I still have the original English plates that came with her from the dealership in Gosport. They are fun cars, you'll enjoy it I'm sure. Quite a few 3D printed parts on my GT. Mostly all small items like the radio face plate. Seals, gaskets, grommets and all sorts of other parts that make this GT unique.

Take care of the GT, they are starting to get pretty valuable over here.

 

Brian

GT face plate-1.JPG

Interior 5-30-2020.JPG

GT steering wheel center pad-2.JPG

GT Hatch striker ASA.JPG

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2 hours ago, BPT said:

Take care of the GT, they are starting to get pretty valuable over here.

They are becoming valuable over here too, I've just doubled the agreed value for the Insurance Renewal this month.

That radio blanking plate interests me, only because I have an identical one in metal that I was recently told was not from a GT6, and I'm sure it is... so that pic backs me up!

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Hi Colin, I used my original GT6 metal blanking plate to take dimensions from to create the model for the 3D printed version. I didn't need the cutout for the radio so I added in the holes just for a USB port. Now I just use one of those compact wireless boom box speakers and play music off my cell phone.

So yes, my metal blanking plate is an original GT6.  The left button was the ejection seat button but my wife didn't think that was funny so now I have a push button that serves as the switch for the windshield washer pump. She's OK with that.

 

Brian

GT Special face plate.JPG

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  • 4 months later...

do we still have a 3D member @ the TSSC? I was just wondering as I have been quoted silly money for a scan and print - hundreds of pounds!  - very silly!

 

Aidan

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Hi Aidan,   Having a 3D scan and print done by the commercial vendors is very expensive as you've found out. These outfits have the usual overhead costs of running a business. It would be best to find someone in the club local to you when possible. Someone who likes the challenge of reverse engineering and printing the part for a reasonable cost. What part are you considering having printed? I'm in New England-USA and there are a number of us that do this type of work for very reasonable costs. More of a service to our British car clubs over here. Can you post a picture of the part you are considering?

BPT 

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1 minute ago, BPT said:

What part are you considering having printed?

Hi - Its the base of the interior lamp unit. Originals are plastic but when 50 years have passed by te plastic becomes very brittle  you can see this in the picture. The Lens for some reason seem to survive. I believe there may be a small demand for the bottom part. (Note this is the one without a switch lever on the light so a pretty simple shape

 

Aidan

158629137_444338090240913_2202865950228392240_n (1).jpg

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Glad I asked about this. This is a fairly rare part that I've already worked on and have created using 3D. Looks like you may not have taken your light assembly totally apart yet. There are the metal terminals inside that need to be made new or re-use the original terminals. I've also been working on making those, but haven't yet accomplished that. I'm close but I've had other priorities. I've also 3d printed the lens but current filament technology hasn't created "clear" plastics yet. I've only made a few in black PETG plastic. Material choice is important for this part also since there will be mild heat from the lamp. There are also 2 plastic "C" shaped retainers that you'll have to carefully remove.

Over here, these lamps were used only in the GT6.  

GT6 Dome Light Base.JPG

Dome light components-4.JPG

Dome light components-6.JPG

GT6 Lens.JPG

Used dome light underside.jpg

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Aidan, here is a better picture of just the light base. Under side and top side. I haven't finished this project yet. Since these are fairly rare parts, my plan was to produce a few just in case there was a need. Late last year I was able to find a couple decent complete light assemblies and sent one to someone in the UK.  Once in a while these show up on ebay over here. The light in my GT6 has the black base. But you are correct that these are 50 years old now and getting more brittle with age. There are better plastics available now for 3D printing. I was in the process of making a complete spare light assembly for my GT6 just in case I broke mine.  I haven't printed any white bases yet. Also a picture of the 3D printed retainer rings. These can get damaged during the dis-assembly of the base unit.

 

BPT 

Dome light lens base.jpg

Dome light lens base retainers.jpg

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I should get back on to this project and finish it.  I'm going to put one in the printer now using ASA plastic to experiment with the different material.  

I rarely share my CAD & STL files, they take time to create and then get shared around the world. I don't use a scanner, I re-engineer the parts. I've created over 80 parts for my GT6 and TR250 and use the funds when I sell a few parts to keep my printers running. Sorry to be so selfish but it does take certain long earned skills to do this. 

 

BPT

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No problem  as said let me know once you have some to sell. I don't need the lens just the base. I'm happy to make up the contacts- that's more in my line - I think I have something that could be converted, then it's just a fine soft rivit to attach them 

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Aidan,  I've actually got as far as making up the base terminals and have the copper rivets ready to cut to length, just haven't taken the time to finish up this project. Lots of 3D projects I have in process. I have a LED festoon lamp that I'm using and have tested and the illumination is MUCH better than the OEM lamp. 
Pete, I did do some searching to find a suitable aftermarket lamp for my GT6 and there were a few inexpensive ones that might have worked but I wanted to keep my GT6 as close to stock as possible. This has been one of those fun projects. 3D printing has so many possibilities to help keep our British cars healthy. Just for example, this base part printed using ASA plastic (cousin to ABS plastic) takes about 1-1/2 hrs to print. Material cost to print--about 45 cents.  My cost to just print the base--less than $10.00  So that is much better than what the commercial business will do. Of course there is a little more to it than this---assembling the terminals etc etc. but you get the idea. 3D printing has so much to offer our older cars.  There must be someone in the TSSC-UK organization that is doing the same thing I'm doing. There are several of us on this side of the pond doing this for the Triumph community.

BPT

Dome light base components.jpg

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re reading this post back to the start there is a lot of really good ideas and supportive comments its how to pull it together 

with both sides of the pond being great contributors seems we have all been trying 

its a way forward for many but only possible by the few 

an un wieldy working party would just die before it started 

is there a way ???

Pete

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Aidan,  I've got a base in the printer now, using black ASA which is a very good material for this type of part. I'll post a picture when it's complete.

I checked to see if white ASA is currently available from my filament source but it won't be in stock until late March. I use a certain high quality brand not made in China. Once I have this white filament, I'll print a white base and see how it comes out. I needed some white ASA anyway for other projects I have planned. Then if you still need or want a base, we'll discuss it then. Cost of postage to the UK costs a bit more but this part is pretty small and shouldn't cost an arm or leg. In the mean time, you may want to take your broken light carefully apart and see what you need to do to make up the electrical contacts. Look at the "C" shaped retainers I show in my pictures above. You have to very carefully grind off the "mushroom" head of each of the 6 studs. When Triumph assembled these lights, they melted the very top of the stud to create a mushroom head. Remove those heads and the C retainer will then come out and the lens will be released from the base.

BPT

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