There was a period when the Model T owner could repair their vehicle with bailing wire and spit. Now we find out that local sources are going out of business or being sold.
I have found a solution for my parts supply....
A 3D printer.
I wonder if that’s the solution to the shortage of Scat crankshafts. :-)
No crankshafts but it could print you an ABS or PLA model that you could take to a casting shop. I can’t speak for this brand, but in general these machines are plagued with issues. The material they use is expensive too. Just guessing that engine block in ABS would be in the neighborhood of $750 just for the material. They’re a great concept but also require a different mindset when designing up a part. Most of us are accustomed to removing material. When you add material which is what this is, you have to design in support material that will be removed after the part is finished.
It takes some time to get your head around that!!
Back in the nineties I remember working with a casting model maker. You are right he saw drawing differently than me, I saw the part but he saw the void.
This technology may be beyond the means of car hobbyists today but in 30 years cheap versions could be part of the toolbox for restorers or vendors.
Will it take some the fun away or just change it?
It’ll take the fun away. NOS will become NAM (New Additive Manufactured). We make 3D printed metal parts, but man are they expensive. I’d rather walk around Hershey aimlessly searching for years for that elusive part.
You can’t beat the feeling when you find it.
When I bought my first calculator at Sears in 1974, it had to be plugged into a charger and cost over $60. Now I can buy one at Walmart for $1. The cost of 3D printing technology may not plunge that dramatically, but I expect it will drop over time as the product is improved.
Here you go;
You still have to find someone who can cast something based on that model.
Another car forum I go on has a whole thread devoted to 3D printed parts and they deal with layer setting, making parts as hollow with tiny little crosshatch supports inside, nozzle diameter, print speed, print resolution, bed heaters, stepper motors replaced with things, and graphs they draw in MS paint.
It can be really involved if you want the perfect print. Would take a year or 2 of study on 3D printing forums. Could be fun to learn.
One thing that is going to improve machines and decrease price is patents aging out opening up options for . Real cheap machines (sub $3k) have a lot of fussing but they are getting better.
I have two machines at work, all of the learning curve was in the CAD software, the slicer that generates the print is all but automatic. One machine uses filament, it is pretty slow and coarse, the other is very accurate and uses a LASER to cross link a liquid polymer.
Both the printers I use are about $2.50/cubic inch for supplies.
For rare cast parts the printers are definitely have a lot of potential.
A couple years ago Jay Leno was really promoting laser scanning and 3D printing in the old car hobby. It seemed he had some car that was missing a door handle and as far as anyone knew the world’s supply of them had been exhausted. What he did was to have the handle on the other side scanned, the scan flipped, then casting patterns 3D printed to make the replacement. Since then there are other irreplaceable parts he’s had made to get cars back on the road where they belong. To me that puts this technology under “not bad, just different.”
We are looking at a 3D printer where I work. Depending on the part, the cost of printing it is about one-tenth the cost of machining it. The material is glass fiber or carbon fiber filled, either continuous for linear parts or chopped. The strength is comparable to steel and lighter.
I don't know if management is going to buy this 3D printer, but we already are using 3D printed parts in some of our machines that are printed outside our factory.
This is like anything else, such as the beginning of the automotive industry. Quality will increase and prices will fall.