Hooniverse Asks- Which Classic Car Are You Planning to 3D Print?


A recent article in Popular Mechanics considers the possibility of recreating pretty much any classic car by way of that new fangled technology, 3D printing. In case you are unfamiliar, these machines that create three dimensional output from a scanned sample or simply amorphous computer code are the latest hot thing, and work like science fiction.

What PM hypothesizes is that anyone could, from a measured model or simply a bunch of lines of code delivered over the Web, recreate a classic car… in 3D! Bringing the dinosaurs back to life remains pure fantasy, but a CAD-CAM’d and 3D printed Pegaso? That’s easily within the realm of possibilities. The question is, which classic car would you tackle?

The whole idea of 3D printing is in its infancy technology-wise, so maybe your first classic clone should be something simple, you know, like a Shelby Daytona. As the ability to make things in your own home grows, the mechanisms to make that possible will get rapidly more advanced, capable, and cheaper. Before you know it, you’ll popping out Delahayes. Considering how quickly technology advances, you’ll need to be prepared for this eventuality, so you had better plan ahead what car you are going to 3D print. Which one will that be?  

Image source: Hooniverse


    1. My dad and I have a real one in the garage.
      Currently in pieces, undergoing a very long restoration.

        1. With the exception of the motor (which has been completely overhauled and re-assembled), all of them. We bought it as a "basket case", where someone completely disassembled it, then lost motivation to put it back together – either due to being overwhelmed by the scope of the project, or the large amount of rust he encountered in the monocoque.
          That diagram makes it appear far worse than it actually is – all of the bearings are separate components (i.e. races, cups, needle rollers, etc.). However, it's also fun to note that the picture is of just ONE SIDE. That rear differential carrier is about the size of a table-top microwave when it's fully assembled.

          1. I work with a very mechanical Englishman, showed him this and asked what the hell you damn Limeys were thinking. He replied very seriously that it was probably designed by race mechanics with parts they had in bins, then drawn up by a draftsman when they got it working right. A guess, he said, but apparently a somewhat common practice at the time and place.
            Good luck to you and your dad. Got any pictures?

          2. All pics are on dad's computer/camera. He's on another project kick now, the Jag is the wintertime project. I'll snap a bunch of pics the next time I'm over there.

          3. Rust in the monococque? Martin Robey to the rescue! Along with lots of cutting, grinding, welding, hammering, buttering, tinning, leading, cussing, etc.

          4. All of the rust repair is done. The car has new floors. trunk floor, rocker panels, and rear quarter panel/wheel arches. We have painted the inside of the monocoque (opalescent maroon), and are prepping the exterior for paint. We have all new wheels, all hydraulics/hoses, brake rotors/pads/calipers, bushings, lighting, and a complete new re-skin for the interior (biscuit).
            While it won't be a concours restoration, it will be a VERY nice driver.

          5. Did you find much bare metal? A friend of mine restored a '66 "Series 1-1/2" coupe (4.2, covered headlights), and when disassembling it, he found bare metal (metal not even primed) in various places, like the underside of the roof panel. The car had apparently gone off the road backwards at one time (an E-Type – imagine that), because the underside of the rear had been beaten out and heavily bondo'd, along with the right rear quarter. It needed a complete new bonnet, along with near rear sheet metal and other body parts (all Martin Robey parts). He rebuilt the engine (was seized), gearbox, diff, suspension, brakes, halfshafts, steering rack, you name it.
            The mechanical restoration came first, then he registered it and drove it for a couple of months (he wanted a break in the middle of the project), and then he started on the bodywork.

          6. I don't recall seeing much bare metal at all, but again, we didn't take it apart to note such things. I don't doubt for a moment that rustproofing was not a high priority in Coventry in the summer of '65.
            We've been pretty reliant upon XKs Unlimited for a lot of our replacement stuff. My dad swears by them, and then swears at them when he sees the invoice total…
            Honestly, a basketcase car is NOT for the faint of heart. I would have vastly preferred to have done it the way your friend did it (i.e. renew mechanicals, drive, restore)

      1. AMG M104.941: 3.6L I-6, used in C36 and E36. 280hp NA or up to 400hp turbocharged. Turbocharging was done by by Turbo Technics, Mosselman, Lotec, and others. A limited run of 75 E320s by Turbo Technics was offered by Mercedes dealer Hughes of Beaconsfield.
        A 3.2L version (M104.99_) was used in the base R129, the SL320.

  1. I think I'd focus on vehicles that have completely disappeared from long-gone marques. I'd start here and move down the list:
    Getting access to design documents might be a challenge, if they haven't been destroyed or buried in the basement of the last employee of the company in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware the Leopard."

  2. If I wanted to re-create a classic car, 3D printing wouldn’t be my method of choice for any but the smallest and least significant of parts. It’s not an efficient means of manufacture.
    3D printing has, however, come a long way. Cores for castings can now be “grown”, but I’d still just grow the mold, and cast the actual part. Just about any car with any semblance of parts availability wouldn’t make any sense to try to 3D print to any significant degree. It would be cheaper and easier to just track down the parts. 3D printers are slow, and the costs associated with making even a small part are incredibly high. 99% of the parts of a car, even if those parts aren’t available, make more sense to manufacture using more conventional means. It will be cheaper (and better) to cut a new carburetor housing out of billet than to grow one on a 3D printer, and any sort of sheet metal components will be better, and cheaper if fabricated from actual sheet metal. If you have 3D CAD files to make a car, you’d have a better car cheaper and faster, if you loaded those files into a 5-axis VMC rather than a 3D printer.

    1. If anything, it would be better to start with as much car as you can, then use the 3D printer to make molds for parts that have become completely unavailable through conventional means (junkyards, reman, and reproduction, that is).
      Of course, that's providing that the cost of 3D printing ever becomes reasonable for the average duder, because right now, the VMC would be far more cost-effective, as you stated.

    1. "I want a horn here, here, and here.
      You can never find a horn when you're mad.
      And they should all play `La Cucaracha'."

  3. This question is incredibly difficult. Probably an Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale but I don't know. Hopefully the guys at Turn 10 or Polyphony start tearing down the cars for their in game measurements so that we have exact dimensions of every part. That would be awesome.

  4. My mid-90's masters thesis just became even more irrelevant.
    I started working on my engineering design masters in the mid 1990s. The next 2 years, I took 3D design classes that focused on Alias Studio. I had completed my hours and needed a paper. I was working at a tool and die shop which gave me access to a CAD-CAM system. It was awesome.
    In Alias I created a complex surface like a 911 hood and fenders, ported to IGS and imported it into the CAM to create a tool path. "Art to Part"- really. The 3D photo realistic image looked just like the physical part. One of my last design classes, I spent a few weeks working on a car. I'd love to see this as a scale model. Until we have replicators, the pics will have to do.
    <img src="https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/945033_10151707476772853_614169769_n.jpg&quot; width="600">
    <img src="https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc1/461952_10150791991542853_268584094_o.jpg&quot; width="600">

        1. Worse. The conclusion boiled down to "insufficient analytical resolution, the same as the last time someone tried this." The previous person to attempt it was, of course, my advisor….

  5. To be honest, I probably wouldn't build a whole car. I'd do wacky stuff like make the body panels needed to create a Pontiac G3 version of the current Chevy Sonic.

  6. Volvo 144, to complete the circle back to its injection molded, plastic Lego inspiration.

    1. You can't model that. The only way to recreate that is to beat depleted uranium into shape with a hammer. Preferably Thor's.

  7. If we 3D printed a British Leyland product, would it still leak oil? More importantly, would it leak more oil than used to make the plastic within it? If so, we've solved the energy crisis!

    1. You cannot 3D print a British Leyland product, you have to bash it into being with a hammer.

  8. A Tucker!
    What I really like about 3D printing is how we'll be able to alter proportions. Like printing out a Cobra but making it 4% wider, or printing out a 7/8 scale Suburban!

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