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A beginner’s guide to 3D printing car parts

Thank You Brother, Ricin

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h no! After 40-plus years of baking in the sun, an unobtainium piece of your car’s interior has shattered to bits. So what now?

Unfortunately, used interior bits tend be expensive and hard to find. Not to mention there’s no guarantee they won’t meet a similar fate as the original piece that just broke. Wouldn’t it be nice to press a few buttons on a machine and that spits out an exact copy of your part, à la Star Trek Replicator?

Well, it turns out you can. Sort of.

With a 3D printer and free, open-source blueprints from a database like Thingiverse, you can make some pretty amazing stuff for your car. How about cold-air intake, custom body parts, or tools for a tricky mechanical job? Heck, this guy even 3D-printed a full-scale hardtop for his Miata. The only limitations are your imagination and skills in the 3D modeling virtual world. We’ve even done it as part of our Redline Rebuild engine series.

Because consumer-grade 3D printers have been around for the better part of a decade, costs have amortized. A really solid 3D printer can now be had for under $300. The low cost of entry makes them an easy addition to your fabrication tool kit. In this guide, I’ll show you how to get started on your 3D-printing journey.

 

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