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Keeping parts available without needing Tesla!

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by ElectricLove, Aug 10, 2014.

  1. ElectricLove

    ElectricLove Member

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    So,

    With the rebuild of the cosmetics/front-end on 531 I'm learning that Tesla Roadster parts can be absurdly expensive ($1000 for set of front hood hinges!!!) and with time I'd imagine they will become increasingly difficult to find and even more expensive.

    With this in mind, I have an idea, one which I would like to employ across the spectrum of exotic vehicles out there as well; this is 3D printed parts!

    I'm investing time and money now into learning the process of 3D printing, building my own 3D printer, SolidWorks modeling, etc. to help myself with parts I need and will need in the future and I thought it may be the case that other owners are interested as well?

    My first attempt at a Tesla part was today and it is the Roadster Hinge (just the ABS plastic portion), I asked the Tesla Service center here if they would let me look at the hinge with a ruler so I could try to make it myself, they didn't mind at all, they even told me "yeah, if you can make these yourself, you should, they are way too expensive!"

    I'm attaching the pdf drawing, over the next day or so I'll 3D print the actual part and I'll post an image of that as well!

    So, my questions to you guys would be:

    1. Which parts are annoyingly expensive (and can be made with plastic, ABS) that people would have need for in the future?
    2. How much cheaper than the service center do I need to be for it to make sense? (From a buyers perspective, ie; at what discount would you say "I'll try the 3D printed part" rather than just going the Tesla route); I need this info to know if its worth the time, it takes many hours to make parts but for things like these hinges, its worth it!

    Thanks all!
    TeslaRoadsterHingeABS.JPG
    View attachment TeslaRoadsterHingeABS.PDF
     
  2. rlang59

    rlang59 Member

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    For metal (aluminum) parts you could also do lost PLA casting:
    Update: lost PLA metal casting The Movie

    I haven't tried this yet but it is on my list of projects.

    Also some printers can print nylon if you can print hot enough. It's just a little harder to work with. Doesn't like to stick to the bed and has bigger warping issues than ABS.
     
  3. shrink

    shrink Member

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    How about the two soft top support bars? No idea, though, how you'd print it with enough flexibility for installation and removal and enough firmness for proper support.
     
  4. jeremyz

    jeremyz Member

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    ElectricLove, you might consider joining the techshop in Chandler, AZ. I don't think parts printed with ABS or PLA are really that useful for a car. Like rlang59, I'm planning on trying to do some lost-PLA aluminum casting which could be useful for making real parts. If you join techshop, you would have access to milling machines, metal lathes, water jets, a full metal shop, laser cutters and 3d printers. Also, it allows you to qualify as a student so that you can get multiple years of free at-home student use of basically everything that autodesk makes (Inventor and autocad).
     
  5. rlang59

    rlang59 Member

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    Keep in mind 3d printing is still great for plastic parts that are hard to get. I've used it myself for parts on one of my motorcycles, comes in real handy as long as you can model the part yourself.
     
  6. ElectricLove

    ElectricLove Member

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    I know some of the parts are made from ABS at the factory, those are the parts I'm thinking of (example being the hinges). I love the idea of of taking it up a level and doing aluminum though!

    Also, Nylon is totally do able.

    I printed a mock up of hinge this morning, it looks pretty good, I need to test it against the Tesla part though. The other "cool" feature of these 3D parts is color customization!
     
  7. TOBASH

    TOBASH Member

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    Something like soft top bows should be easily within the realm of expertise of a custom body shoppe or auto interior shoppe or boating shoppe with experience in fiberglass. Not even a 6 hour job IMHO.

    Best,

    T
     
  8. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    I love threads like this. I don't think ABS would be strong enough for long-term use as a hood hinge. I could be wrong. You might have to make them a little thicker than OEM. The Tesla hinges look like stronger material than ABS or nylon.
     
  9. rlang59

    rlang59 Member

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    Looking at the pictures in his other thread they are made from PA-MXD6 which is a glass fiber reinforced nylon.
     
  10. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    The soft top rails are not Tesla specific and should be easy to get used or from a Lotus dealer. Even the aftermarket supply shops carry them:
    Elise Parts - Bodywork & Styling - Roofs & Covers - S2 Soft Top Bar
     
  11. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    That's in fact what it is.
     
  12. pharma5

    pharma5 Roadster F#25

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    Very cool. If you look around you'll see a lot of things under the 3DP umbrella that may be interesting. Many years ago for this app, you'd see indirect use of 3DP to make molds for casting, etc. Now there is a lot more attention on direct manufacture.

    Interesting article on direct 3DP carbon fiber and automotive:
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/news/auto-blog/if-3d-printed-carbon-fiber-is-the-future-its-already-here-16942535

    Another one on point:
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/news/vintage-speed/3d-printing-can-now-re-create-an-entire-classic-car-15566080

    Most articles will mention that functional mechanical parts can be a bit more difficult.

    How functional can the 3DP parts be today? How about components in a rocket engine!:cool::
    http://3dprintingindustry.com/2014/08/04/spacex-just-successfully-launched-rocket-3d-printed-part/

    Would be awesome to see the Roadsters kept on the road for decades to come using tech like this....
     
  13. ElectricLove

    ElectricLove Member

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    Yeah, exactly!

    Wow, Carbon Fiber printing would be so phenomenal!!!

    And, you guys are right that hinge image in the other thread means its clearly not ABS.

    I did make a mock up of hinge already, in my CAD drawing I did design it to be slightly thicker than the stock one, I hadn't considered that the plastic itself may be weaker than the stock, in my mind making it just a mm or two bigger just seemed smart to do so its less likely to break... maybe I'll add another couple mm to it though with this "strength" concept in mind. I can also model the physics environment withing solidworks and apply both materials (assuming the fancy PAMXD6 stuff is in there!) and see how they hold up.

    My first draft of the hinge looks good but I did it at a 50% honeycomb "in-fill" (meaning the inside of it is actually only 50% filled in a honeycomb pattern), on final build I'll go with 100% fill so its just a solid block. The hoods on these cars are pretty light so all of this strength talk may be unnecessary anyways, I'm not sure... Maybe the thing to do is build a pair at 50% infill and use them in the car, see how they feel, "slam" ("gently", don't call TPS on me!... TPS=Tesla Protective Services) the hood a few times and see if they hold up... Once its clipped in there isn't much weight on the hinges themselves and it'll be a non-issue until the hood needs to be opened again...

    Here are a couple photos of my rough draft ABS 50% Honeycomb hinge!

    20140812_001330.jpg

    20140812_001318.jpg
     
  14. pharma5

    pharma5 Roadster F#25

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    Looks like they're taking preorders for machines to do small parts at 200 micron resolution (composite):
    https://markforged.com/mark-one/the-specifications/

    Also seem to do fiberglass and Kevlar...!:biggrin:
     
  15. slcasner

    slcasner Member

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    The stress test case would be when you have the hood open and a breeze comes up, pushing the hood further open against the stops.
     
  16. ElectricLove

    ElectricLove Member

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    Yeah, not a ton of wind in Phoenix but I'll have to test it in a Haboob!

    So, the next part I need and maybe others too is the headlight "shims"...

    Anybody have a spare headlight shim they can take a photo of (with a ruler next to it) or describe dimensionally?

    Each headlight has 3 of them and according to my Tesla Service Center these little pieces of rubber/plastic (I can print in TPE which is like "rubber") are $16 a piece, yeeouch! I should have taken photos when I was there, the serviceman was embarrassed with the price and said "I doubt you want these, right?"

    Thanks all!
     
  17. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    I don't think those hinges would be robust enough. The OEM hinges are not simple ABS plastic; it's glass-reinforced. That is a very strong material. I'm pretty sure ABS will just snap off.
     
  18. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    Does anyone know if there is an alternative to the trunk struts. Mine are loosing their opening power.
     
  19. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    They're not a standard hydraulic strut?
     
  20. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    There are shops around that can re-fill gas struts, and various places can find almost any size as well. I doubt there's anything Tesla specific here that would be a problem.
     

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