Is 3D Printing Tough Enough for Track Duty? Nissan Motorsport and evok3d know it is!

Off the back of our hugely successful Manufacturing the Future: 3D Printing 2.0 seminars held recently, 3D Systems asked us to present to a global audience through their webinar platform and we were happy to oblige.

Nissan Motorsports runs several cars in the Australian V8 Supercar Championship, the premier motorsport category in Australasia and one of Australia’s biggest sports. The team partnered with Melbourne-based evok3d to use 3D Systems printers to manufacture parts for their heavily modified Nissan Altimas, saving them the time and expense of making tooling to make parts.

Nismo 3D prints the specialized ducting necessary to keep their drivers cool, which is critical with interior temperatures reaching 50° C (122° F). To print these parts, they’re using the ProJet 3510 with VisiJet M3 Black material, which they have found performs as well as injection-molded ducting.

But that’s not all — they’re using 3D printing to make prototypes as well as rapid tooling for parts that can’t be directly 3D printed, such as carbon fiber components.

Join Perry Kapper, Chief Designer at Nissan Motorsports, and Joe Carmody, Managing Director of evok3d, as they explain how they’re working with 3D Systems to Manufacture The Future.

 

Man vs Coffee Machine

While using 3D printing to fix things is nothing new, we thought we’d do this little case study to highlight just how quick and easy it has become to use this technology to repair an everyday item thereby saving money and reducing waste.

Here in the evok3d print center we love our coffee machine. It’s an old Saeco Magic Comfort+ from around 2004 and ten years on is still a solid performer, until today when one small plastic part finally blew making the machine unusable. This would have been devastating. It would have meant

  • trashing an otherwise working machine creating unnecessary waste
  • scouring the internet for a replacement part – possibly expensive and taking a long time to receive
  • having to drink instant coffee until a new machine arrived or the old one was fixed. Heaven forbid!
Saeco Magic Comfort+
Our pre 2004 Saeco Magic Comfort+ made us uncomfortable when it broke. Image courtesy partsguru.com

Thanks to the wonderful age we live in not only were we able to restore the machine to it’s former glory, we did it with the minimum of fuss.

While I was happy to draw up the replacement part myself in something like 123D Design, I figured I’d do a quick search. Lo and behold, Thingiverse came to our rescue with the exact piece we needed already created by user ‘thomas63’, making it a simple matter of downloading and printing the files. Thanks Thomas!

We printed both parts in ABS on our  CubePro Trio to see which would work best, opting to use the one with the M3 nut fitting . We did these with the following settings:

75 micron layer height, 3 surface layers, almost solid fill, diamond fill pattern, points supports (though they probably weren’t needed) and with no raft. Total overkill, but we wanted good strong parts.

CubePro
The CubePro 3D Printer

 

It took just over three hours to print both parts (due to the super fine layer height), using just over 5 grams of material.

Finally we brushed the parts with some Acetone to give them greater strength before fitting back in the coffee machine. Success! I don’t think coffee has ever tasted so good.

3D Printer Saeco Coffee Machine Parts
Original broken part on the left and acetone treated parts on the right

So there you have it. We saved ourselves several hundred dollars and a perfectly good coffee machine from going to in the trash with a quick look online and less than a dollar of material. We achieved this in a much quicker time (around five hours total) than if we’d been able to source a replacement part elsewhere – all thanks to the power of the internet and 3D printing.

evok3d features on Nissan Nismo Insider

evok3d is the subject of the latest Nissan Nismo Insider video (Season 2, Episode 17). Special guest host James Moffat chats with evok3d founder and Managing Director Joe Carmody, taking a closer look at the in-house 3D printing center at the Nissan Motorsport headquarters. Chief designer Perry Kapper also shares some insight into how the race team is using these facilities for rapid prototyping to improve design and manufacture of parts  for testing, helping to give the drivers a competitive edge.

Check out the video below and if you have parts you need printed or are in the market for a 3D printer yourself we would love to hear from you.

The first ‘official’ 3D printed GoPro accessory?

Those of us fortunate enough to own a GoPro are aware how great they are, especially with the array of fittings and accessories available to attach them to stuff. Those of us fortunate enough to own (or have access to) a 3D printer are probably also aware of the myriad of unofficial GoPro accessories that can be found on the net for download and local fabrication. As one of those people I admit to having made my fair share of parts, all custom designed bits you can’t get from GoPro mind you.

Naturally, because of copyright none of these maker-made designs can have GoPro branding. With one exception – ours.

Thanks to our working relationship with Nissan Motorsport we had an interesting request from one of the drivers. The famous Rick Kelly (and his dog) dropped by and asked if we could print some drink bottle lids – but not any ordinary spill stoppers, these were a bit special. You see, Rick’s personal sponsor is none other than GoPro.

Previously Rick and the race team had been strapping cameras to their bottles rather awkwardly with the standard double sided tape and curved mount bracket, but that was never going to work in the long run. Enter talented engineer and chief designer Perry Kapper who took the original lid and reproduced it in a CAD package, but incorporated the official GoPro branding and camera mount on the top. We ran 8 of these off in one shot on our fantastic high definition ProJet 3500HD Max and the results were brilliant.

Here’s some detailed shots of the final product.

GoPro camera mounted to custom designed 3D printed lid
GoPro camera mounted to custom designed 3D printed lid
Detail showing standard clip in GoPro mount and branding
Detail showing standard clip in GoPro mount and branding

So there you have it. Could these be the worlds first ‘official’ 3D printed GoPro mounts? We certainly think so, but unlike all the unofficial ones, you won’t be finding the model for these on the net any time soon.

GoPro bottle in ProJect 3500HD Max
GoPro bottle in ProJect 3500HD Max