Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: The Driver's Seat
Ferrari Life Posts: 490
The problem with injection molded plastic is that this is normally pretty expensive. The vast majority of companies use billet aluminum for their molds. They will charge you for the engineering time to design the mold, the material for the mold, the machining of the mold and then other associated costs. The upfront investment is thousands of dollars. The actual production costs of injection molding is pretty cheap. To re-engineer and then reproduce parts for vehicles that no longer have factory support for every part, this often isn't an economically viable option because the part cost winds up being stupid expensive. You need to produce enough parts to share the sunk cost of the molds.
I'm curious to know the details behind fana348 France's injection molded parts, due to everything I just typed. I'm working on a related project for a classic car I own (1973 Opel GT). The classic Opel community has a lot of parts being reproduced but defroster vents for the GT is not one of those parts. I decided to take on the venture of reproducing them and that has turned into creating my own injection molding machine. I'm still working on it, but the device will be capable of melting somewhere around 2.5 to 3 lbs (5.5 to 6.6 kg) of plastic. To resolve the expensive side to injection molding, I'll be using a high temp resin as the mold material. My first project is to reproduce the vents for my vehicle and the Opel community, but after that it would be nice to find other projects for classic car communities. I'm working on starting my own company as a side business and I'm open to suggestions as to what is desperately needed in the classic car world.
Not many companies specialize in low volume production solutions when it involves plastic. 3D printing has become a stop gap solution to that problem, however typical 3D printed parts do not have the quality of an injection molded part. The type of 3D printers that can, are very expensive and they still have a rather limited print size. So 3D printing isn't the best solution either, however 3D printed ABS can be visually improved by using acetone to smooth over the part surfaces. It still won't be as strong as an injection molded ABS part, but if the part is cosmetic anyways then that is less of an issue. The main issue would be the appearance of the part, you don't want a badge on a Ferrari to look 3D printed. Acetone can also be used to glue various 3D printed ABS parts together, because it is an chemical reaction. The acetone is slowly dissolving the ABS, it can cause 2 ABS pieces to bond together.
I hadn't planned on sharing all that with you guys, I like to check in every month or so and see what you guys are up to. Dave has been quiet and I liked reading about his F355 restoration.
"Autoholism is an incurable addiction medicated daily with car porn."