Home Applications & Case Studies 3D printing for the production of spare parts for cars

3D printing for the production of spare parts for cars

Polish 3D printer manufacturer Zortrax shows how one of the company’s technicians designs and 3D prints parts for an old BMW.

Krzysztof, an engineer and passionate car restorer, faced exactly this problem when restoring an old BMW.

“I am old-fashioned in this matter, and I have the most confidence in analog calipers with a dial indicator,” says Krzysztof Urban.

Many small but important parts such as trunk sill caps or xenon plug caps were no longer available. With the help of Solidworks, he designed precise CAD models of these parts and used two 3D printers from Zortrax, the M200 Plus and the Inkspire 2, to produce them.

“In automotive applications, I especially value Nylon for its resilience and low anisotropy. This low anisotropy means that it is relatively difficult to cause damage to such a component by delamination of successive layers. And its elasticity makes it ideal wherever there are any forces that lead to temporary deformation. Thanks to these characteristics, Nylon can withstand a great deal before any damage occurs,” Krzysztof underlines.

“I recently broke off the intercooler mount on my car by accident… If only I had had an access to my M200 Plus with Nylon at that moment, I’m sure I wouldn’t have had to improvise and would have done much better than what I came up with,” Krzysztof Urban says.

In addition to the production of the spare parts, Krzysztof also emphasized the minimal post-processing that was required due to the high quality of the 3D printers and materials. Only a few areas had to be reworked with a mini-sander before the parts were painted with black textured spray paint to achieve the look of the original parts.

Having already dealt with numerous old cars, Zortrax engineer has no doubts that deficits of parts, especially interior details, are significant. A quality 3D printer and some CAD software at hand can solve a lot of problems in the automotive.

“Sometimes you need to route a wiring harness aesthetically, modify some mount, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many applications that it is impossible to list them all. We only truly learn how much we need a 3D printer when we do not have it at hand,” Krzysztof concludes.

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