3D printing body panels?

External options and variations: rear end mods, side vents, doors, cage mods, wings(!), etc.
dpkilty
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3D printing body panels?

Postby dpkilty » 06 Oct 2014, 19:51

I got to thinking today about the bodywork on the car. Then I happened to see an advertisement for a 3d printer in one of my emails... :idea:

It may be a fairly expensive endeavor, and not really for everyone, but could it be a possibility? I am not much up on 3d printers but I know they have DIY kits to build your own. Just wondering how big of one you would need to build in order to print a hood or something? Also wondering if you could find a substrate that is strong enough and still light and "cheap". It would be kind of nice to be able to just print off a fender or hood whenever needed...

Maybe its a pipe dream, maybe its something that can be utilized a few years from now, who knows. But I think it might be at least worth looking into for some...

Thoughts?

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Re: 3D printing body panels?

Postby freakynami » 07 Oct 2014, 00:24

Soon, but not now.

You can get a cheap kit and build a printer for under US$500 (probably less) that has a build envelope of around 6"-8" cubed. You can print PLA with them. PLA is cheap and easy to print, and will degrade very quickly in the elements. It is great for printing things like paperweights and indoor garden gnomes, or prototypes.

The next step up in printer includes a canopy and sides, and a heated bed to maintain the build volume temperature, to allow you to print with ABS (same stuff as car plastics), so heading in the right direction. For a slightly larger build volume of around 12" cubed you'll get a pre-built machine for "a few" $k.

You can print parts smaller, and include joining features like dovetails etc. or glue them together to make larger parts. It is typical for a part to take between 5 and 25 hours to print depending on the volume.

Next step is to get a big printer that can do much larger prints, there are a few out there than CAN print an entire car in one hit (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2756181/History-making-The-futuristic-3D-printed-car-just-40-parts-costs-11-000-takes-44-hours-build.html). They range in price from just over $10k to $2M (yes, mulllllion).

You can get printers that print in metal (titanium), but all I've seen this side of defence is godawful crap so far; although I hear we are very close to a big step forward there (6-12months).

Finally, you can print moulds and pull off fibreglass parts. At this point, you would probably be best carving the buck out of foam with a home-built NC router (http://www.dpcars.net/dplite/db.htm) and making moulds from it - there are several chaps who've done this, I think it could easily turn into a bigger project in itself - which is kinda cool anyway :)

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Re: 3D printing body panels?

Postby Midlana1 » 07 Oct 2014, 07:27

You know... there's a project/product there. That is, people are already making CNC routers - big ones. This is virtually the same thing. The applicator head stays the same; it's just mounted on a larger 3-axis positioning frame and you're all set.

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Re: 3D printing body panels?

Postby dpkilty » 07 Oct 2014, 07:35

I've read articles where guys are 3d printing houses out of concrete, so body panels are within the scope of machine size. I know there are a lot of different resins. Just need to find the right combination to withstand the elements, as freaky said ABS would be a great place to start.

3D routing may be a bit more involved (thinking about complex curves) but its also a possibility. Even like freaky said make some molds the lay fiberglass or carbon fiber in and your all set.

Hmmm....

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Re: 3D printing body panels?

Postby gaffertape » 10 Aug 2016, 22:02

i'm new to the midlana site but i do a lot of 3d printing. This guy is printing out the plug for making a replica DB4 http://ledhacks.com/power/battery_tab_welder.htm He has some good guides on how to setup for printing large objects in smaller pieces. If anyone has the 3d file for the nose cone I can give it a go to cut it up for 3d printing.
Cheers,
John

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Re: 3D printing body panels?

Postby Angrypotatoe » 23 Aug 2016, 21:31

I plan on a fully enclosed car, and one option I am considering is having a cnc cut Styrofoam for a mold. There is a company that does this, but with arduinos and stepper motors, it shouldn't be too costly to make your own. the reason I don't have a price quote for a foam body is I have lots of R&D left for aero mods, And thus don't have a cad file to submit.

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Re: 3D printing body panels?

Postby gaffertape » 24 Aug 2016, 17:07

Sorry, my previous post had the wrong link for the 3d printed body. Try this one http://replicadb4.com/.

I've made a small light duty cnc router for cutting printed circuit boards. I was using an arduino flashed with GRBL (http://bengler.no/grbl) and the grbl shield to run NEMA 17s (http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Arduino-CNC- ... SwbsBXlr0z this is a random link to one on ebay. I havent purchased from this seller myself). You can go for bigger drives and drivers, which I would recommend for anything over 2'X2' (600mm X 600mm). The shapeoko is probably worth looking into for foam carving. http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/ But, its a whole new project, and it takes a lot of time to get it all the way you want. Its probably easier to contact your local kitchen cabinet maker and ask if they will cut the foam for you. They normally only do 2D so you'd still need to glue them together and shape the last bit by hand.

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Re: 3D printing body panels?

Postby freakynami » 25 Aug 2016, 01:25

As my nose is custom, I'm planning on making a single piece nose and bonnet. I am currently thinking of getting all the sections laser cut from thin (cheap) mdf at 4" centres or something, filling with expanding foam, etc. etc.
Plans change though, and I know of a fair few "issues" to get around with this approach.

As for 3D printing a mould or buck, I reckon it's a project in itself, not that there is anything wrong with that.


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