3D printers are AWESOME! - Ford Bronco Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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3D printers are AWESOME!

Okay, so I don't have a 3D printer for myself, but there are a number of people out there with 3D printers who'll print stuff up for you. Check out 3D hubs.

Anyways, my own experience has been good so far. I designed this little number to fill in the shifter spot on my center console I got from a 2011 Raptor. It not only fills in the hole, it also acts as a phone holder by allowing me to clip my belt holster to it and as a junk tray, saving my cup holders from doing the same thing.





I used 3D Crafter for this one, but its not very good with more complex designs. Still, it does work okay.

I'm already working on a more advanced project for replacing the switch panel seen here with a panel for mounting the face plate to my ham radio in and keeping the outlets and battery monitor seen here.
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1991 Bronco w/ 5.0L V8, Auto w/ E40D trans, factory spare tire rack, factory limited slip diff, dual batteries, custom air intake, 8K lb. winch, tactical seat covers, drop down TV w/ CD/DVD player, 31's on stock suspension, roof baskets, new injectors, rear bumper w/ tire rack, 33" Goodyear Wranglers, 2" suspension lift.

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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-26-2016, 09:33 PM
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That's neat. I was just thinking about something similar on the way home today for my 86.

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-26-2016, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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Here's the next project to replace the switch panel on the console with a face plate mount for my ham radio with some holes for outlets. Still need to refine the design a bit to make it printable, but I'm seriously considering investing in a printer myself. If anybody wants to start a business making custom plastic interior trim pieces, let me know!
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1991 Bronco w/ 5.0L V8, Auto w/ E40D trans, factory spare tire rack, factory limited slip diff, dual batteries, custom air intake, 8K lb. winch, tactical seat covers, drop down TV w/ CD/DVD player, 31's on stock suspension, roof baskets, new injectors, rear bumper w/ tire rack, 33" Goodyear Wranglers, 2" suspension lift.

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 05:03 PM
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Meh. Plastic schmastic. 3d printing metal is a bit more exciting to me. Think of all the old cars they no longer make quarter panels for, or of all the specialty pieces you can no longer get in the engine compartment. Guys needing a set of pistons run off for a nailhead won't have to shell out 1500 perhaps. Lots of possibilities out there for sure.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by devildog93 View Post
Meh. Plastic schmastic. 3d printing metal is a bit more exciting to me. Think of all the old cars they no longer make quarter panels for, or of all the specialty pieces you can no longer get in the engine compartment. Guys needing a set of pistons run off for a nailhead won't have to shell out 1500 perhaps. Lots of possibilities out there for sure.
Oh, they do that as well, but you're looking more towards rapid prototyping companies as its a little hard to use a 3D printer with metal.
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1991 Bronco w/ 5.0L V8, Auto w/ E40D trans, factory spare tire rack, factory limited slip diff, dual batteries, custom air intake, 8K lb. winch, tactical seat covers, drop down TV w/ CD/DVD player, 31's on stock suspension, roof baskets, new injectors, rear bumper w/ tire rack, 33" Goodyear Wranglers, 2" suspension lift.

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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-28-2016, 11:23 AM
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Metal can't be "printed" like plastic because plastic melts at a low temp. To get a 3d metal printer, you would have to have a vat of molten steel, at 2500°plus.

Anything can be made from metal with the right machine and know-how. A simple Bridgeport mill with accessories can do more than any one person can imagine.

AFB, can't tell from your pics on my phone, but dipping the plastic pieces in acetone for a minute will smooth and soften all the surfaces on 3d printed plastics making them really nice.

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-28-2016, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBlue 94 View Post

Anything can be made from metal with the right machine and know-how. A simple Bridgeport mill with accessories can do more than any one person can imagine.
Oh so true! I have considered a 3D printer several times, but I have a CNC background and easy access to CNC machines kind of rules out needing one right now.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-28-2016, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BigBlue 94 View Post
Metal can't be "printed" like plastic because plastic melts at a low temp. To get a 3d metal printer, you would have to have a vat of molten steel, at 2500°plus.

Anything can be made from metal with the right machine and know-how. A simple Bridgeport mill with accessories can do more than any one person can imagine.

AFB, can't tell from your pics on my phone, but dipping the plastic pieces in acetone for a minute will smooth and soften all the surfaces on 3d printed plastics making them really nice.
Actually, it can be printed using a sintering process and metal powder. A fine layer of metal powder is deposited on the printer surface and a laser then goes over the layer, heating the thin powder till it fuses and then another layer is deposited and the process repeats until you have a final product. You do have to shake out the excess metal powder, but it can and IS done that way. Now, you still need to cook the part in a special oven to get the whole thing to fully solidify and fuse, but no, you DON'T need a vat of molten metal. This process also allows for alloys to be made the previously could not due to the incompatibility of certain molten metal combinations, kinda like oil and water, that just would not mix due to different melting points. The method most people think of when thinking of 3D printing is an extrusion process while the original method of 3D printing, and is now known as rapid prototyping, involved depositing layer after layer of material and a laser cutting or fusing that part one layer at a time. This process has actually been around since the early 90's, but the materials they printed with have changed since then.

As for how it looks, I like it as is.

1991 Bronco w/ 5.0L V8, Auto w/ E40D trans, factory spare tire rack, factory limited slip diff, dual batteries, custom air intake, 8K lb. winch, tactical seat covers, drop down TV w/ CD/DVD player, 31's on stock suspension, roof baskets, new injectors, rear bumper w/ tire rack, 33" Goodyear Wranglers, 2" suspension lift.

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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-28-2016, 02:31 PM
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Interesting, I suppose that's how sintered carbide cutters are made. I was under the impression it was put in a mold, then heated and pressurized.

As for the rapid prototyping, my machinist teacher had a cube with a ball inside it that was loose, but couldn't fit through the open sides of the cube. It was made this way in the late 90s.

I did notice that you even went far enough to put stitching on your piece. I did like that touch and it shows how minute of details these machines can produce.

The potential of 3d printing has yet to be reached IMHO. When you can essentially make something from nothing more than a line of goo, the possibilities are almost endless.

Edit: AFB I was in no way commenting negatively on your piece, I was more talking generally. I DO like how the phone holder/junk tray came out. Nice work

94 Bronco XLT. Beefy 351, 6" , 37's, 4.88: burnt
86 Bronco custom, 4" 37's, locked 4.56, 300 i6 4 bbl, np435/208
96 f350 XL, rclb, 351, c6, BW4407 xfer
78 f150 Ranger, 351m, t18, np205, rusty
90 f150, 95 f250, 96 f350 psd: stolen, sold, and burnt, respectively.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-28-2016, 02:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BigBlue 94 View Post
Interesting, I suppose that's how sintered carbide cutters are made. I was under the impression it was put in a mold, then heated and pressurized.

As for the rapid prototyping, my machinist teacher had a cube with a ball inside it that was loose, but couldn't fit through the open sides of the cube. It was made this way in the late 90s.

I did notice that you even went far enough to put stitching on your piece. I did like that touch and it shows how minute of details these machines can produce.

The potential of 3d printing has yet to be reached IMHO. When you can essentially make something from nothing more than a line of goo, the possibilities are almost endless.

Edit: AFB I was in no way commenting negatively on your piece, I was more talking generally. I DO like how the phone holder/junk tray came out. Nice work
Using a mold with powder is also used for mass produced pieces. I was just pointing out that metal powder can be used in printing as well.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-29-2016, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
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My next project is getting printed this weekend. I'm so looking forward to getting it in!

1991 Bronco w/ 5.0L V8, Auto w/ E40D trans, factory spare tire rack, factory limited slip diff, dual batteries, custom air intake, 8K lb. winch, tactical seat covers, drop down TV w/ CD/DVD player, 31's on stock suspension, roof baskets, new injectors, rear bumper w/ tire rack, 33" Goodyear Wranglers, 2" suspension lift.

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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-16-2016, 11:12 PM
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Metal printing is actually very popular in the aerospace industry. Look up spaceX prototyping soeme time on YouTube. It's crazy cool.

Also for the OP. Love the look of the piece! What was the final build cost of you don't mind me asking?
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-17-2016, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AFBronco235 View Post
Okay, so I don't have a 3D printer for myself, but there are a number of people out there with 3D printers who'll print stuff up for you. Check out 3D hubs.

Anyways, my own experience has been good so far. I designed this little number to fill in the shifter spot on my center console I got from a 2011 Raptor. It not only fills in the hole, it also acts as a phone holder by allowing me to clip my belt holster to it and as a junk tray, saving my cup holders from doing the same thing.





I used 3D Crafter for this one, but its not very good with more complex designs. Still, it does work okay.

I'm already working on a more advanced project for replacing the switch panel seen here with a panel for mounting the face plate to my ham radio in and keeping the outlets and battery monitor seen here.
New to any of this, but I looked up 3D crafter and that is simple/free 3D software to make your modeling schematic. But do you have a 3D printer or you send off your design?

I'd be interested in anyone that actually does the printing of the product...What models are good to start with, how much $, sure there must be a website. Could be cool to get into this.

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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-18-2016, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Shadofax View Post
New to any of this, but I looked up 3D crafter and that is simple/free 3D software to make your modeling schematic. But do you have a 3D printer or you send off your design?

I'd be interested in anyone that actually does the printing of the product...What models are good to start with, how much $, sure there must be a website. Could be cool to get into this.
I just do the modeling and design. I send it off to get printed. There is a website called 3Dhubs.com. It lists a bunch of different people who do 3D printing from beginners to professionals and it gives you a rough estimate based on your design and the material you want to have it printed in. You should check it out.

My biggest project for 3D printing is to replace the plastic housing our my radio and AC panels. I'm sure I'm not the only one where the plastic is just plain cracked or broken. I'm using these smaller projects to practice.

1991 Bronco w/ 5.0L V8, Auto w/ E40D trans, factory spare tire rack, factory limited slip diff, dual batteries, custom air intake, 8K lb. winch, tactical seat covers, drop down TV w/ CD/DVD player, 31's on stock suspension, roof baskets, new injectors, rear bumper w/ tire rack, 33" Goodyear Wranglers, 2" suspension lift.

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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-18-2016, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RacersJunkyard View Post
Metal printing is actually very popular in the aerospace industry. Look up spaceX prototyping soeme time on YouTube. It's crazy cool.

Also for the OP. Love the look of the piece! What was the final build cost of you don't mind me asking?
That particular piece I believe was around $20. But it was a pretty simple design. Price depends on a lot of factors, such as type of material used, complexity of the piece, time it takes to print, any finishing you want done and of course, the skill of the printer.

The cone piece for my ham antenna base was around $15 and that was mostly shipping. The panel for my ham radio faceplate and power hookups was around $40, but was a bit more complex and used more material. I'm currently having a roof console printed that is costing me a little over $60, but it has to be printed in separate pieces and glued together by the printer so its still a fair price. There are some who'll do volume production runs and that can also lower the price.

1991 Bronco w/ 5.0L V8, Auto w/ E40D trans, factory spare tire rack, factory limited slip diff, dual batteries, custom air intake, 8K lb. winch, tactical seat covers, drop down TV w/ CD/DVD player, 31's on stock suspension, roof baskets, new injectors, rear bumper w/ tire rack, 33" Goodyear Wranglers, 2" suspension lift.

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post #16 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-18-2016, 09:45 AM
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Can textures been done like pebble grain or similar to some trim panels? Also are you able match to same type of OEM plastic? Would be terrible to see your printed parts melted like chocolate bars in the middle of the summer.
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post #17 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-18-2016, 09:50 AM
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When large pieces are glued together does it leave a seam mark? Choice of colors is wide open. Would be a shame to have to paint a piece just to cover a seam mark. I guess if you were covering the piece it wouldn't matter.
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Originally Posted by Hillbilly Heaven View Post
Can textures been done like pebble grain or similar to some trim panels? Also are you able match to same type of OEM plastic? Would be terrible to see your printed parts melted like chocolate bars in the middle of the summer.
I don't think if can be done with the process I've been using, which is a plastic extrusion process. It basically squirts out a bead of ABS plastic that adheres to itself as it builds up material. However, there is also SLS or Selective Laser Sintering. It uses a layer deposit method by adding one layer of material, usually a couple of microns at a time, and then melting that layer into a solid using a laser. You can get more complex shapes and textures out of that because of the finer material. I haven't done anything in that, yet, but I did submit an order for a knife sheath made using SLS Nylon so we'll see how it goes when it arrives. At $40, its a little pricy, but worth it if it works like its supposed to.

1991 Bronco w/ 5.0L V8, Auto w/ E40D trans, factory spare tire rack, factory limited slip diff, dual batteries, custom air intake, 8K lb. winch, tactical seat covers, drop down TV w/ CD/DVD player, 31's on stock suspension, roof baskets, new injectors, rear bumper w/ tire rack, 33" Goodyear Wranglers, 2" suspension lift.

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My BKO build: Project Farmhand
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post #19 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-18-2016, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Hillbilly Heaven View Post
When large pieces are glued together does it leave a seam mark? Choice of colors is wide open. Would be a shame to have to paint a piece just to cover a seam mark. I guess if you were covering the piece it wouldn't matter.
Not much of one. I used glue as a generic term for any adhesive process. And it can be sanded down and painted. Colors can be limited. I'm pretty limited to black for most of my stuff, but I can paint it later if I choose to.

1991 Bronco w/ 5.0L V8, Auto w/ E40D trans, factory spare tire rack, factory limited slip diff, dual batteries, custom air intake, 8K lb. winch, tactical seat covers, drop down TV w/ CD/DVD player, 31's on stock suspension, roof baskets, new injectors, rear bumper w/ tire rack, 33" Goodyear Wranglers, 2" suspension lift.

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post #20 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-18-2016, 09:58 AM
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You mention knife sheath got me thinking kydex and I think of the texture it has. If it can accurately repeat a few microns it might be possible, but texturing would have to be done in the cad program.

I was introduced to 3D printing years ago in a NASCAR r&d shop using Stereo Lithography. At the time the were creating 1/3 scale complete cars for windtunnel testing. I was privileged to watch a radiator being printed so they could test air flow characteristics.
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