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3D Printable parts library

Anyone draw up any 3d-printable parts for our cars yet? I'm curious how we could start a library that is easier to navigate than a standard forum thread, and get various members' contributions of some STLs to fill it.  With decent 3dprinters becoming quite cheap and apps like Fusion 360 being free for non-commercial use, I figure this is something that could be a worthwhile endeavor. Even interior pieces, although they won't look factory, could be printed, then painted or vinyl-wrapped to improve the low-quality finish of our cabins. Custom fabbing and making copies is a lot easier by printing in PETG or ABS, and mirroring the product for a driver/passenger set is simply. Maybe even just store everything in a central spot to link to projects uploaded to a site like Thingiverse.

Doing the same for CNC-able or laser cut parts would also be nice. Such services have also gotten quite cheap if you can bring in good g-code to run on machines in makerspaces. 3d-printable models can allow for easy prototyping before taking the plans for final metal pieces to be cut.


Parts have definitely disappeared in recent years - not finding much around for junked Tbirds or Cougars lately, and even new-old-stock parts have become brittle.

Just a thought. I'm having lots of parts failing apart on my car lately, and becoming more concerned for the parts that we can't get from a Mustang. I even recently found half of my firewall "MAP"/BAP sensor fell out of the shell and was dangling on the back of the engine...
1988 Thunderbird Sport

Re: 3D Printable parts library

Reply #1
I've added a few 3D printed bits to my car. First: I made this flip down panel to store my sunglasses. The red pieces hold magnets that hold that panel shut.

Second project is going to be a switch panel. It will keep the cigarette lighter, but with some switches for auxillaries. For the meantime its just a "block-off panel" but I'll model holes once I order switches.
1986 Ford Thunderchicken, 5.0 AOD w/ Shift kit,  354,XXX miles. 1-Family owned. Original engine+trans.
8.8 Disc Rear w/ 3.73 Posi. CHE Control Arms. '04 Cobra brakes all around. 2000 Cobra R wheels. Tubular front LCA's. MM Steering Shaft. Unlocked Speedo, Lowering springs, Eibach sway bars front and rear. Ram air intake.

Re: 3D Printable parts library

Reply #2
I've added a few 3D printed bits to my car. First: I made this flip down panel to store my sunglasses. The red pieces hold magnets that hold that panel shut.

Second project is going to be a switch panel. It will keep the cigarette lighter, but with some switches for auxillaries. For the meantime its just a "block-off panel" but I'll model holes once I order switches.


Looks great.

Yeah, I have three 3d printers currently idle the moment, and just pulled my cnc router out from years of storage. Time to resume vehicle customization after years away!

Could you share that blank panel?  Looks like a great base to modify for various interfaces.
1988 Thunderbird Sport

Re: 3D Printable parts library

Reply #3
I dont have a model for the sunglasses pocket/storage area. That file is long gone.

The white block-off panel, isnt 100% ready yet. My measurements for the bolt pattern is off slightly. I'll be more than happy to share after I make Revsions to it.
1986 Ford Thunderchicken, 5.0 AOD w/ Shift kit,  354,XXX miles. 1-Family owned. Original engine+trans.
8.8 Disc Rear w/ 3.73 Posi. CHE Control Arms. '04 Cobra brakes all around. 2000 Cobra R wheels. Tubular front LCA's. MM Steering Shaft. Unlocked Speedo, Lowering springs, Eibach sway bars front and rear. Ram air intake.

Re: 3D Printable parts library

Reply #4
I'm trying to figure out Fusion 360. Need to be able to either taper the extrudes (harder since the tops taper at a lower rate than the sides and bottoms of the cutouts), or possibly make this have one additional layer to get tapering between the front and rear of the trim around the components. Then of course the bottom needs work, and not yet sure how to curve the entire thing vertically since this isn't a flat piece.




And yes, the cutout width is different between all four component locations. Radio is the widest...I'd likely modify this in a final copy to make them consistent. Then chop it all to hold a larger touch screen in the vertical position...
1988 Thunderbird Sport

Re: 3D Printable parts library

Reply #5
I really gotta get my dad into building plastic bits for these cars.
Quote from: jcassity
I honestly dont think you could exceed the cost of a new car buy installing new *stock* parts everywhere in your coug our tbird. Its just plain impossible. You could revamp the entire drivetrain/engine/suspenstion and still come out ahead.
Hooligans! 
1988 Crown Vic wagon. 120K California car. Wifes grocery getter. (junked)
1987 Ford Thunderbird LX. 5.0. s.o., sn-95 t-5 and an f-150 clutch. Driven daily and going strong.
1986 cougar.
lilsammywasapunkrocker@yahoo.com

Re: 3D Printable parts library

Reply #6
I really gotta get my dad into building plastic bits for these cars.

A project I will be tackling will be custom door panels 3d-printed via split parts (to fit the print area), then covered in vinyl. Easy to reproduce replacements with cheaper 3d printers today, and mirroring to make a flipped clone for the other side of the vehicle. No more flimsy interior parts, and some nice 8" mid-range drivers up front!

My largest printer is just about 2" small from being able to print the center stack trim piece laying-down (best surface quality on the visible side), so not sure if I'll split and paint afterward, or just go up to a 350mm+ width print bed to print at a single go.

Will also be looking at making some aluminum foglights via CNC and welding, to house LED projection optics, and to manage their heat dissipation. 120W as planned per side using 4x30W LEDs needs some good surface area for shedding heat.

But yeah, other than rubbers/seals, it is getting quite easy to make parts at home on the cheap, and cost-effective to correct small measurement errors without manually re-fabbing a manually built part.
1988 Thunderbird Sport

Re: 3D Printable parts library

Reply #7
Yeah, this is a fantastic idea. I have zero CAD experience but a list as long as my arm of parts that should be reproduced for these vehicles. One day I might tinker with stuff.

First and foremost, we need 1:24 scale models of all years 1983-88 Thunderbird and Cougar. ;)

Re: 3D Printable parts library

Reply #8
Yeah, this is a fantastic idea. I have zero CAD experience but a list as long as my arm of parts that should be reproduced for these vehicles. One day I might tinker with stuff.

First and foremost, we need 1:24 scale models of all years 1983-88 Thunderbird and Cougar. ;)

Trying to limit myself to just learning Fusion 360 right now, and not get ahead with making parts but getting stuck from insufficient knowledge or experience. I figure I have some 50 more hours of learning before I'll be able to finish the center stack trim with proper tapering, curves, and parameterized dimensions throughout for easy tweaks after the first prototype.

It's a lot easier to make new products than a reproduction of an existing complex part...
1988 Thunderbird Sport

Re: 3D Printable parts library

Reply #9
Great idea.

One thing to keep in mind is that most of the 3d printable materials are not UV rated so you want to put a coat of paint on them so they don't "disappear".
1988 Thunderbird TC, 5spd
Stinger single exhaust, Cone Filter, Adjustable Cam Pulley, Ranger roller cam conversion,
'93 Mustang Cobra replica wheels on 235/50R17

'16 F150 XLT 5.0
'17 Husqvarna TX300

Re: 3D Printable parts library

Reply #10
Great idea.

One thing to keep in mind is that most of the 3d printable materials are not UV rated so you want to put a coat of paint on them so they don't "disappear".

That and make sure to print in ABS and not PLA. The PLA printed stuff can warp in a hot car during the summer.

I haven't played with 3d printers in about 3 years. Has the hobby level stuff gotten to a point where the layers are less visible or is surface finishing to smooth everything out still required?
88 Thunderbird LX: 306, Edelbrock Performer heads, Comp 266HR cam, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, bunch of other stuff.

 

Re: 3D Printable parts library

Reply #11
At thin layer heights, you can essentially get a $200 FDM printer to be quite accurate, and just run at layer marks invisible to the naked eye. A layer height of 0.12mm works well for clean surfaces. A 0.2mm nozzle can help with surface curves, but smaller layer height doesn't help much below this 0.12mm height, while drastically increasing print time. Of course the cheap machines don't come with a heated enclosure or higher Wattage heated bed, so they need additional work for ABS or PC printing. With ABS, acetone smoothing could still pretty up some areas of prints (especially overhangs), but I feel hobby grade machines are good enough for automotive work, especially since I would be painting or wrapping the parts anyway. For those, draft-level prints with 0.8mm nozzle (larger=faster, and better layer adhesion) and layer heights of over 0.3mm work fine, and get a much faster print - hours instead of days.

PLA's great for test prints (including initial mockup parts of CNC'd aluminum parts), but I wouldn't use anything except ABS or polycarbonate for automotive parts, interior or exterior. Glass transition temperature on almost everything else is too low.
1988 Thunderbird Sport

Re: 3D Printable parts library

Reply #12
You can get away with PETG in many instances for interior parts, as long as you aren't in a blazing hot climate.

What printers are you guys using?
It's Gumby's fault.

Re: 3D Printable parts library

Reply #13
At work, we have a Stratsys Mojo that prints in FDM (ABS).  I've used it to make a throttle cable guide around the steering damper of my motorcycle.  Painted it and have had it in use for about 3 years now.  Even the 3d printed threads are still holding up.

Test Environment:
1988 Thunderbird TC, 5spd
Stinger single exhaust, Cone Filter, Adjustable Cam Pulley, Ranger roller cam conversion,
'93 Mustang Cobra replica wheels on 235/50R17

'16 F150 XLT 5.0
'17 Husqvarna TX300

Re: 3D Printable parts library

Reply #14
I have three modded Creality printers - a CR-10S, Ender3, and Ender3 Pro. I'd like to build a larger CoreXY at some point, and have a 2x2ft bed, but know from a friend's experience that this is a lot of work to get going, with only a 250mm bed.
1988 Thunderbird Sport