3D Printing: AC Face Plate & Console Vent Covers

Discussion in 'E9 Projects & Restorations' started by Markos, Jun 17, 2016.

  1. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member Site Donor

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    Maybe post in the PARTS Section with the current price and re-state that it would likely go down with volume. Then ask who is in.
    Worked with my tail light project.
     
  2. Markos

    Markos Parts Hoarder Site Donor $

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    Agreed! This thread really isn't intended. The proof is that I have only sold one set of console grilles in 9 months or so. :D
     
  3. Markos

    Markos Parts Hoarder Site Donor $

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    Just a quick update. 3D parts activity is picking up. I'm a long way away from breaking even but If I can recoupe at least some of my cost I will invest in a few more parts.

    I printed 10 relay bases for a customer and a few shops are looking at the products. A few other customers are getting face plates. It will make me happy if the parts work for folks.

    I will be printing a face plate for myself in September that has four gauge holes instead of vents. I don't have AC, nor do I plan to run AC. I do prefer the profile of the AC console. I've started to customize t a few VDO gauge needles to better match the e9 dials. The finished product will be very nice.

    Next up will be the defroster vents. I have two design ideas, an original replacement and an original repair kit. Fortunately I have two minty defrost vents, but you only need to model one. Like the console side grills.
     
  4. Stevehose

    Stevehose Well-Known Member Site Donor $

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    Have you seen the VDO Series 1? They are a pretty good match out of the box.

     
  5. Dohn

    Dohn Active Member Site Donor

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    I'm definitely a customer for defroster vents.
     
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  6. Markos

    Markos Parts Hoarder Site Donor $

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    I have. I may just end up using those. I agree that they look good, but new series one gauges have plastic "dial hubs". I like aluminum dial hubs.
     
  7. Markos

    Markos Parts Hoarder Site Donor $

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    A couple photos of the latest iterations. The black faceplate will be painted this weekend.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. rsporsche

    rsporsche Well-Known Member Site Donor $$

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    looking great Mark !!!
     
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  9. Bmachine

    Bmachine Well-Known Member Site Donor $

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    That's really cool Markos. Good on ya for taking it this far.
     
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  10. rsporsche

    rsporsche Well-Known Member Site Donor $$

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    Mark, is this one printed in metal or plastic? it looks like the face has a smoother finish - less stair-stepping
     
  11. sfdon

    sfdon Well-Known Member Site Donor

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    Coupeking and I are buying 20 of the relay bases.
    Unbeatable quality and price.
     
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  12. rsporsche

    rsporsche Well-Known Member Site Donor $$

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    i will repeat my order from below - i am in for 3 of the relay bases
     
  13. Markos

    Markos Parts Hoarder Site Donor $

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    Good question Scott!

    The relay base must be a composite otherwise it would short. It is printed in Nylon using SLS (laser on powder). The face plate is the same, but dyed black.

    The relay base prototype was printed in ABS at the UPS store. It's a same day exercise but far from production grade.
     
  14. rsporsche

    rsporsche Well-Known Member Site Donor $$

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    i was asking about the material for the a/c face plate. got the point that a relay base must be nylon.
     
  15. Markos

    Markos Parts Hoarder Site Donor $

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    Figured as much. I agree that does look a bit better. I can also do a Nickel plated nylon ($) version, bronze version ($$), or a stainless steel ($$$) version.

    PM on the way for the relay bases...
     
  16. rsporsche

    rsporsche Well-Known Member Site Donor $$

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    i'm just curious about the strength / durability of nylon with the stresses of the car.
     
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  17. Markos

    Markos Parts Hoarder Site Donor $

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    It's a valid concern. The face plate holds the radio upright. The radio base plate is intended to catch the backside of the radio. In theory, there shouldn't be too much stress. I think that the nickel plated version would be ideal.
     
  18. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member Site Donor

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    did you arrive at a price for relay bases?
     
  19. Markos

    Markos Parts Hoarder Site Donor $

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    I wanted to do a $5 margin on top of each relay base. For some reason they are pretty expensive to print, close to $21 each. The price goes down when you order 10+ but the savings diminish after that.

    So with that said, I'm going to charge $5 on orders of 1-3. $10 on top of orders of 4-6, etc. It makes sense to order three, because it puts you in the free shipping range. So figure about $65ish for three. I'm including this level of detail because 3D printing prices ebb and flow like oil prices.

    I agree with Don that my prices are fair. I just wish that 3D printing was cheaper. :( These things should cost $7 from BMW or W&N.

    To be honest, it cost more than I expected to model the relay base, but it wasn't that much in total. It won't take all that long to recover the modeling cost for the relay base, but that little $5 up charge will ultimately help cover the cost of the AC face plate. Multiple test prints and R&D on that one plus any defroster vent work will keep me in the red for quite a while. However, it is a worthwhile exercise IMO.
     
  20. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member Site Donor

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    I have found that when making fewer than 10,000 of a part, that part will cost 5 - 10 x more than mass produced.
     

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