3D Printing Old Hard to Find Parts and Custom Parts
Some of you have seen my work on another thread (Here) but I wanted to make my own. I own a Formlabs Form 1 3D printer and have been replacing plastic parts on my Jeep that either cost way too much for what they are or are just plain hard to find. I have a Facebook group (Click Here) that you can check out to see what I've been up. Please feel free to contact me about any interests you have or projects you would like for me to take on. I have a basically stock 1983 CJ7 with the plastic bits and pieces that I can use to replicate. If I don't own the part you want I will do my best to find one to take measurements. I also am open to taking custom work, recently my friend asked me about custom Gear Shift Knobs. He drifts cars and said that would be something he would love to see, so I went and made up a model for him and have a few others interested now. 3D printing is something I'd love to be able to make a full time business out of, might as well start with a community that I enjoy and share the pain of trying to find OEM or reproduction parts for when it comes to plastic pieces for a reasonable price matching the quality.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope to hear from you guys that have any ideas of questions.
If I had access to a large scale printer and some stronger material I would definitely draw something up and try it out. Unfortunately at least for the time being I'd have to go old school and fiber glass it up. That is a sweet looking concept though, I've always had a thing for the old jeep kaiser m715.
If'n you'd wanna slap together a fiberglass softtop, then i'd be willin ta compensate ya fer yer efforts. For real though if you made it id buy it. Yeah those things are somethin else. You should go check it out on youtube.
I am going to start updating this thread with pictures like I do on my Facebook page. A zipper pin on my passenger side pulled off and broke so I used my new Pittsburgh digital calipers I got in the mail today to take measurements and created a 3D model to print. After it printed I cleaned it up and let it cure in the suns UV rays for about 10-15 minutes just to be sure the plastic was hardened, then I fit it into place.
I could really use a new harness for my 1980 CJ5 light switch. Not the wires, just the part that plugs into the switch. I haven't been able to find one online anywhere. I don't have a pic but it should be the same one on your '83. The light switch looks like this: http://www.quadratec.com/products/55211_02.htm
Is this too complex for your printer?
1980 CJ5, Ford 289, T176, DANA 300, DANA 30, Ford 9", 35/10.50/R15 Super Swamper TSL
It's not too complex for my printer, I will just need to draw up a model with great accuracy and it will print it with those specs. I'd love to take on this challenge and help you out, just not sure how fast I will get the model done. I have a painless wiring harness sitting beside me and I'll check to be sure but I believe it has a connector that is identical to mine that I use with the OEM Harness that is in my Jeep. If that is the case and if it has the right dimensions for the ones used in CJ5s I can make the model with the correct measurements for your application.
(Sorry for the picture being a bit blurry, it was a tight squeeze to get back there)
3D printers are sweet. When I was still going to school we had one in the engineering dept that used powder and glue. I used to have to soak the parts I made in superglue to cure them. They still weren't very durable. How does your parts hold up? I'm curious to know what they're using for the resin in those. Since I work at an injection molding plant, I'd be trying to get that stuff in bulk.
Yeah they are! I love being able to print parts that I need and not have to wait for shipping or be worried about the quality of their product, if I mess up I just go back through my model and make sure the dimensions are corrected and fit perfectly.
The resin I am using the rest of currently is the Formlabs formula, it's more durable the thicker it is and flexible as it thins out. It's a photopolymer resin so it cures via UV light and I am looking into buying a 3rd party resin which will lower my cost and also give me more options in terms of material properties. I plan to pre-order some Tough Resin by Madesolid which is much more durable than my current material which would be better suited for parts in a Jeep.
I watched a couple videos and that printer you have is pretty sweet, haven't seen one like that yet. Ive always wondered how well the metal 3d parts that are printed would be, it would be cool to make your own brackets and stuff like stamped parts. I may have heard something about someone printing AR parts...
High end cars are starting to come out with fully 3D printed Turbos for their engines, it's pretty awesome. Go follow this website 3ders.org and you'll be up to date with all the latest tech. they even have an acoustic printer dubbed a UAM which embeds parts into metal.
I'll definitely look into that and if I can get the dimensions to make a model it will definitely be available on my store front.
A little update on that Light switch connector housing, it's being modeled right now. The wires didn't have more than about 2 inches of slack on them when unplugged so I went and bought some silly putty to make an impression of the connection so I could accurately model it, here's the impression I got from it. Due to the fact that I don't have just the plastic piece to hold in my hand it will take me a little bit longer to construct the model accurately, I'll try and get most of the dimensions today because it's an actual functioning piece on my Jeep and that Jeep is my Daily Driver haha.
Ok, well after playing around with a couple impressions I made I ended up filling it in with epoxy to get a reverse mold which gave me the true dimensions and a proper piece to work with. I ran into another problem, because the epoxy was clear I couldn't get a decent picture to trace off of to get the general shape. After playing around with a few things I ended up filling in the negative spaces with Marshmallow cream haha. It worked very well and it gave me what I needed, it's funny how the simplest of things can give you the best outcome.
Here's a pic of the marshmallow mold and a rough draft of the model so far (printing out that part to see how far off the dimensions are so I can fix them)