Three Dimensional Print Potential
At just a couple of months shy of being 37 years old, I'm no spring chicken - if you ask me... Ask my kids though and you'd get a different response. Not so long ago they asked me what it was like in the old days to which I promptly replied "I have no idea as I wasn't there!".
I have a 1990 Brock Fairlane which to me seems like a relatively normal car, I used to own a Commodore 64 computer, I got my first mobile phone which looked like a brick when I was 17 years old and my first car was a $500 Ford Cortina - so I guess it is quite possible that my age is creeping up on me afterall!
One thing I have observed over the years though is how fast technology is changing and how much is actually possible to achieve within the confines of our own homes. It's an exciting time, a time with more power to the people and where the gap between supplier and consumer is able to be decreased significantly.
The other day I saw a post on a Facebook group by someone who is using a 3D printer to make gauge pods - and doing a bloody good job! Lucas Campbell has designed and is printing EA-ED EF/EL Gauge Pods.
Aside from being impressed by the pods, it got me thinking as to just how much would be possible to create using a 3D printer when restoring cars. The potential is huge, especially when you consider that it's possible to print using Nylon, ABS Plastic, Resin, Stainless Steel, Gold and Silver, Titanium, Ceramic and Gypsum to name a few materials! Some places are even 3D printing food, creating amazing food products so expect to see more in this space over the next few years.
How does 3D printing work?
When you use an ink jet printer, the paper passes through and ink is placed onto the paper in the required shapes, be it letters or images. If you now imagine that you run that same piece of paper through the printer again, another layer of ink would be placed on top of the previous ink.
3D printing is much the same, whereby you design something on your own computer and when you press print, the software converts the design into tiny slices or layers, printing one over the next, and the next, and so on until the item is complete. The following video gives some more insight into how it works and what is possible.
With the materials already available to print with and the scarcity of old car parts, there is a potentially huge industry opportunity just waiting to be tapped into.
Have you ever seen or used 3D printed parts? Do you have any success stories you'd like to share? We'd love to hear from you.