Windscreen Corner Trim Blocks - 3D printing

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Windscreen Corner Trim Blocks - 3D printing

Postby epipete » Thu 15.05.2014, 08:57

Not that I have the facilities, or wherewithal, however, isn't this an item that lends it's self to fabricating on a 3d printer?
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Re: Windscreen Corner Trim Blocks - All gone

Postby Brit-Car-Nut » Thu 15.05.2014, 14:07

Pete: 3D is still pretty expensive and has a bit more grain to the final surface.

I have a friend who is waiting for me to find my original NEW set - not the cut out ones, I managed to get a pair of the originals from before the Lotus bodge solution. He makes specialty cowls for the serious model airplane world and has a really good vacuforming company that is willing to make a bunch.

Easy enough to make a production mold and knock out a few sheets of them, but knowing they are possibly the last uninstalled set in the world, I put them away somewhere to be SAFE. Now, I haven't been able to remember where that is.

I will find them soon since I am regrouping and planning on getting the body and parts painted again to reach the correct color and then will be anxiously reassembling the car so all of my hiding places will be emptied.

Older squirrels unfortunately sometimes forget where they store their nuts...
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Re: Windscreen Corner Trim Blocks - All gone

Postby epipete » Thu 15.05.2014, 14:19

Very pleased to hear that you are biting the bullet and re painting and building your Élan.
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Re: Windscreen Corner Trim Blocks - All gone

Postby Brit-Car-Nut » Thu 15.05.2014, 15:32

Yeah, but if I do that, how will I get access to all of the sub-systems to take pictures for everyone.

I know, buy another project car...
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Re: Windscreen Corner Trim Blocks - All gone

Postby wayne » Fri 16.05.2014, 01:58

Brit-Car-Nut wrote:Pete: 3D is still pretty expensive and has a bit more grain to the final surface.

I have a friend who is waiting for me to find my original NEW set - not the cut out ones, I managed to get a pair of the originals from before the Lotus bodge solution. He makes specialty cowls for the serious model airplane world and has a really good vacuforming company that is willing to make a bunch.

Easy enough to make a production mold and knock out a few sheets of them, but knowing they are possibly the last uninstalled set in the world, I put them away somewhere to be SAFE. Now, I haven't been able to remember where that is.

I will find them soon since I am regrouping and planning on getting the body and parts painted again to reach the correct color and then will be anxiously reassembling the car so all of my hiding places will be emptied.

Older squirrels unfortunately sometimes forget where they store their nuts...


I think 3D printing could be an affordable option if the original parts were scanned and uploaded to somewhere like shapeways . Could be a good long term option if someone can scan them and create a STP file. But Looking at the mirror pivot pins I had made the texture is kind of rough.

I think Vac forming would produce a much better part. Especially if it duplicated the original part and not the couch shaped replacement that looks like it was injection moulded.
I wonder if it would be possible to vac form 4 of the corners together in a square and then cut them out?

John. I've found the pics with dimensions I made of the original parts. Maybe they could give your guy some idea until either of us find our originals that we stored somewhere safe :bonk:
I'll have a search over my days off to see if I can find the parts I have here.

corner1small.jpg


corner2small.jpg


squaresmall.jpg
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Re: Windscreen Corner Trim Blocks - All gone

Postby lotusnut » Fri 16.05.2014, 02:24

I have a brand new set waiting to be cut out, I got them from aftersales 2-3 years ago, if this helps, you could borrow them, but I would need them back as I will need a new screen in the not too distant future.
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Re: Windscreen Corner Trim Blocks - All gone

Postby Brit-Car-Nut » Fri 16.05.2014, 02:55

Wayne and I are talking about the ORIGINAL corners that Lotus ran out of years ago and cut corners by making their box DIY project that doesn't have the correct curves or texture.

He and I have discussed having them made but both realized we did too good of a job keeping them safe.

I have been cleaning up the shop and have high hopes of finding the box I put them into. With 5 or 6 cars disassembled with parts spread across 3,000 square feet of shop and storage, it is a pretty big haystack I am looking in.

They will show up soon and we will get some "as original" corners made.

My friend said the best way to make them is to use the originals to reverse-make the mold so everything is exactly the same - even the texture. I have seen a lot of his work and it is worth the wait.
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Re: Windscreen Corner Trim Blocks - All gone

Postby Elanlover » Fri 16.05.2014, 03:02

The one small detail that's not showing in the pic of the original posted by Wayne is that there is s very slight lip on the original on the vertical sides (the parts that slide into the gap and not visible from the "top"). I have one original corner pulled from my car when I replaced both sides with the less than ideal replacement part - the one described here that requires you to cut them out yourself from a single piece that looks like a couch.

Any use?
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Re: Windscreen Corner Trim Blocks - All gone

Postby Brit-Car-Nut » Fri 16.05.2014, 03:17

Thanks, I will keep it in mind if I finally give up, but the corners I have safely stored are brand new and never installed so as close to perfect for a reversed mold as possible.

Getting a 3D scan or someone to draw a corner is way too expensive around where I live. I also put out feelers for someone to make a formal mold from a drawing and the 10 to 30 THOUSAND dollar estimate makes it a non-starter.

I don't want to send one to China because it could get lost or damaged - we have already lost several escutcheons, "B" Post caps and a tail light cover due to shipping, misplacement and the dye they use for imaging.

My friend and I will work on getting a mold for maybe 10 pairs at a time and I will look into getting a steel rule die made to cut them out nice and neatly. This is not a really complicated project, I just want it to be a very close reproduction. Definitely better than the DIY boxes we had to get a while back. I have several of those as well but rejected them straight away as not even close.
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Re: Windscreen Corner Trim Blocks - All gone

Postby novacaine » Fri 16.05.2014, 07:16

I don't think I realized how hard it would be to get hold of these little buggers.

I've managed to find these Corner Trim. I've contacted them asking for dimensions as they are not stated on the website, but they look similar
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Re: Windscreen Corner Trim Blocks - All gone

Postby Elanlover » Fri 16.05.2014, 13:12

novacaine wrote:I don't think I realized how hard it would be to get hold of these little buggers.

I've managed to find these Corner Trim. I've contacted them asking for dimensions as they are not stated on the website, but they look similar


They do "look" similar but that means nothing really. Can't tell much from one low res pic. Someone would have to order one and compare it. If it is identical (or close enough) it would save a lot of time, effort and money trying to reproduce them. Anyone in the UK with an original piece willing to cough up a few quid to test it out??? :-D
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Re: Windscreen Corner Trim Blocks - All gone

Postby lotos » Fri 16.05.2014, 13:55

Brit-Car-Nut wrote:Getting a 3D scan or someone to draw a corner is way too expensive around where I live. I also put out feelers for someone to make a formal mold from a drawing and the 10 to 30 THOUSAND dollar estimate makes it a non-starter.


http://makezine.com/maker-community-groups/

That's a short list, there are lots of Maker groups out there that offer shared time on scanners, 3d printers, mills, etc. They often offer super discount prices to use something like a scanner, which uses only time (no materials) to get it's job done. Heck buy a 3d scanner owner a beer and it might be good enough to get it scanned :cheers: It's a friendly and helpful community.
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Re: Windscreen Corner Trim Blocks - All gone

Postby novacaine » Fri 16.05.2014, 15:40

Elanlover wrote:
novacaine wrote:I don't think I realized how hard it would be to get hold of these little buggers.

I've managed to find these Corner Trim. I've contacted them asking for dimensions as they are not stated on the website, but they look similar


They do "look" similar but that means nothing really. Can't tell much from one low res pic. Someone would have to order one and compare it. If it is identical (or close enough) it would save a lot of time, effort and money trying to reproduce them. Anyone in the UK with an original piece willing to cough up a few quid to test it out??? :-D


Once they get back to me with the dimentions, if they are similar I will buy a couple to compare with my slightly cracked ones
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Re: Windscreen Corner Trim Blocks - All gone

Postby Brit-Car-Nut » Fri 16.05.2014, 15:57

lotos wrote:
Brit-Car-Nut wrote:Getting a 3D scan or someone to draw a corner is way too expensive around where I live. I also put out feelers for someone to make a formal mold from a drawing and the 10 to 30 THOUSAND dollar estimate makes it a non-starter.


http://makezine.com/maker-community-groups/

That's a short list, there are lots of Maker groups out there that offer shared time on scanners, 3d printers, mills, etc. They often offer super discount prices to use something like a scanner, which uses only time (no materials) to get it's job done. Heck buy a 3d scanner owner a beer and it might be good enough to get it scanned :cheers: It's a friendly and helpful community.


Colorado seems to be a different world from NC. Scott said he was a member of a shared engineering facility with scanning and 3D printing available. That would NEVER exist here in the Carolinas - at least not Charlotte. We are NASCAR and no technology is shared; we are IBM where everything is secret and since all of the Nascar teams need stuff engineered/created/manufactured, the people that can do this charge huge dollars. Remember we couldn't even get F1-USA up and running. There is no support for any small, DIY people like myself or Wayne. I was able to meet the small company that makes the carbon fiber sections required for the current NASCAR entries but they have no interest in doing anything else since their hourly charge is extremely high - more than I could ever afford or justify. You will notice a lot of those groups are based around decent colleges where they are trying to give the students some abilioty to learn EVERYTHING about manufacturing from design to marketing.

I would NEVER consider sending an unobtanium part anywhere without assuming I would never get the part back and probably never get the scan, drawing or whatever I sent it away for. I know a few local engineering companies that have "leased" 3D scanners and they pay a huge amount for each scan - much like companies that lease copiers and pay a per copy lease fee. For them to let me use their scanner costs them regardless of doing it as a favor, after work time or off the books. The local "plastics manufacturers" have scanning capabilities but they will only treat this as a job and the price for their making molds is phenomenal. There are a few people around that use the hand held laser waving technique but they admit the results require huge amounts of rework.

novacaine: Rimmer specializes in Rovers and Triumphs. Those corners will not work and BL is still making a lot of the parts under the license granted to the Catepillar (earth movers) Company. When BMW took over the different parts of British Leyland, they didn't want to become the main parts supplier so they sold the rights to manufacturing and distributing all of the parts to CAT. That is pretty much the only reason ANY new BL parts are still available. The Rimmer Brothers are really nice guys and I have known them since they were selling out of their family farm site in the mid 1990s. The issue here is the corner caps have to match the profile of the embedded top and side trim used around the windscreen.

Up until a few days ago, the corner block issues seem to have been resolved with the last Group Buy. Wayne and I discussed getting some correct ones made but figured the demand was too low to cover the start-up much less the minimum quantity that would be required to make. I didn't think anyone would be willing to pay 50 quid for a pair of corners. Producing parts can be a lot more expensive than most think since after locting a good starting part to copy, you need to get the manufacturing process resolved and then there is always a minimum quantity that will be required to be ordered. When I was working on the Gearbox Cable project, I could get 1 of anything made but the price was equivalent to the cost to get 50 to 100 made. When you look at 100 complex pieces costing $20.00 each, you say, that is a good price. Try to get 10 made and be told they are now $200.00 each (or worse: $1000.00 each for 2 pieces to test) because of the minimum cost to even get into manufacture, it is hard to consider a project that might yield 25 buyers.

There are always lots of "try this" or "do that" suggestions, but pulling together a complete production project is expensive and most of us can not afford to price the results below the actual costs. We all love the car and will do the research, locating and negotiations for free, but the actual funding of the final production has to be paid back in a reasonable time.
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Windscreen Corner Trim Blocks - All gone

Postby Brit-Car-Nut » Fri 16.05.2014, 16:05

novacaine wrote:Once they get back to me with the dimentions, if they are similar I will buy a couple to compare with my slightly cracked ones


The RTC2064 is the corner trim for a Rover SD1. For them to sell at that cost, someone had to have thousands manufactured. They are definitely not 90 degree corners since the windshield frame on the Rover is a trapezoid not a rectangle like the M100.
RTC2064D.jpg
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Re: Windscreen Corner Trim Blocks - All gone

Postby Brit-Car-Nut » Fri 16.05.2014, 16:22

If there is a large number of people that want new corners, a large production can be considered. If there are only a few, doing a reversal mold and using a small production manufacturer is the only affordable solution.

Copying the inferior Lotus replacement is a huge step backward.

If nobody in the UK has a virgin original corner to be duplicated, then it will end up being a project by Wayne or myself but the shipping costs will go up and if Wayne gets them shipped to the UK for distribution, then VAT, Duty and import taxes will be added. If I get them made, then US to UK shipping is expensive.

There is absolutely NO WAY to get these made for £4.00 or $6.00 since the volume is way too low. Somewhere in all of the desire, the reality of the true process and cost has to be considered.

A group buy might be possible but do any of you really want to wait the 6 months to a year it will probably take to complete a manufacturing project? Would you really be willing to pay £40.00 to £50.00 for a pair of corners?

If there were 200 serious buyers, very reasonable prices acn be reached. 10 or 15 buyers would have to absorb the minimum costs charged by the manufacturing company.
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Re: Windscreen Corner Trim Blocks - All gone

Postby lotos » Fri 16.05.2014, 17:40

John - I'm afraid I may not have explained myself very well. There are lots of small groups - including in the Carolinas, that work together to help each other. They even do big Maker Faires in Raleigh, so you can be sure there's a vibrant DIY maker community alive near you. There's also a group I found in Burlington, I'm not sure where exactly you are located.

These aren't corporations -these are people who shelled out $3k for a 3D scanner and are willing to let others use it. Same with 3D printers, mills, and sometimes just a helping hand. It's a new concept you would be forgiven for not knowing about, it's all a new frontier with the DIY-grade equipment starting to rival the professional stuff. Makerbot has an entry level 3D scanner for like $750. High end ones like the NextEngine are a few thousand but increase the scanning resolution substantially.

Anyway, just some stuff I've learned about that may or may not be useful to you with this or any project! If not, all I've wasted is a few mAh on my laptop typing this up :lol:
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Re: Windscreen Corner Trim Blocks - All gone

Postby Elanlover » Fri 16.05.2014, 17:57

Makerbot's 3D scanner.

http://store.makerbot.com/digitizer

I wouldn't suggest using a 3D printer to make up the corners. I don't even know what their composition is and if a printer would support the materials. However, the scanner is useful for any small scale scanning projects. What I don't see on their website (although I'm sure its there somewhere) is the resolution supported and if the scanner spits out standardized files or if they are proprietary to Makerbot's gear.



EDIT: these specs are at the bottom of the page. The resolution might not be enough for this piece. These guys make a higher res model.
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Re: Windscreen Corner Trim Blocks - All gone

Postby Brit-Car-Nut » Fri 16.05.2014, 21:13

lotos wrote:John - I'm afraid I may not have explained myself very well. There are lots of small groups - including in the Carolinas, that work together to help each other. They even do big Maker Faires in Raleigh, so you can be sure there's a vibrant DIY maker community alive near you. There's also a group I found in Burlington, I'm not sure where exactly you are located.

These aren't corporations -these are people who shelled out $3k for a 3D scanner and are willing to let others use it. Same with 3D printers, mills, and sometimes just a helping hand. It's a new concept you would be forgiven for not knowing about, it's all a new frontier with the DIY-grade equipment starting to rival the professional stuff. Makerbot has an entry level 3D scanner for like $750. High end ones like the NextEngine are a few thousand but increase the scanning resolution substantially.

Anyway, just some stuff I've learned about that may or may not be useful to you with this or any project! If not, all I've wasted is a few mAh on my laptop typing this up :lol:


Randy:

I am reasonably aware of the concept and the places around the country and I have worked with several "incubation" groups in the Charlotte area. Raleigh is 4+ hours away so not somewhere I can get to regularly anymore. Burlington is equally distant. I appreciate enthusiastic groups pooling resources but that isn't available in my area. I have not found a $3k scanner I would waste my time or money on since it would require my learning new skills in the arena of 3D drafting. If I want to get something scanned and the resulting file be reasonably accurate, something closer to $30K is a starting point.

There is a PBS show still being broadcast called "Everyday Edisons" which is basically a show about an engineering firm that specializes in bringing well thought out concepts and designs to market. They start with the "inventor's" concept and usually his/her prototype and then document the real tasks necessary to take that from idea to actual item sitting on WalMart's shelves.

I reference them because I know several of the people that work at that engineering firm and when I asked for access to their 3D scanner and 3D prototype router or their 3D printer they were honestly willing to let me run the parts through their equipment at their cost, but the cost would have been several thousand dollars - this was for the escutcheons project. They explained that a "good" scanner was expensive and they were charged per use which included a serious maintenance fee.

Windscreen Corner Blocks (and many other M100 projects) would never provide the profit necessary to cover those kinds of engineering fees. The company in China that Wayne uses has a scanner and a team of draftsmen that clean up the scans to be acceptable enough to do the rough creation of their injection dies. Their Master Tool Maker then take the roughed in die and "fixes" the non-converging lines and angles to be pleasant and appealing.

In a "for pay" world, that system works. For us, it meant a Multi Thousand Dollar investment from Wayne to get the die made. I honestly do not know the real final cost of the die, but I am reasonably sure that neither the Escutcheons nor the "B" Post Caps returned anywhere close to a break-even for Wayne. The "B" Post Caps Group Buy was a huge financial disaster since a lot of those who were "interested" never actually bought and even some of those that said they wanted to buy didn't send their payments. This is a real problem when taking the step into manufacturing with only a narrow interest pool of possible buyers. One-Off, Hand Built items like the Seat Back Protectors or even the tail light panels or pods are kind of different since the tooling or molds ar a one time investment that will be used by the seller to make the item when ordered. The cost of the tooling is usually written down during the first few (or more) sales. From then on, the only cost is the materials and the seller's personal labor.

Items manufactured by an outside company are much more complicated since there are minimum prices required to get pieces made. The manufacturing company retains the final design programs, molds or other tooling including the set-up processes and finishing process details. All of this is expensive.

A hobbiest can make one reproduction part out of basic materials if he is skilled in that process. For example, Simon knows fiberglass and CF so he makes excellent parts, one small batch at a time. The Windscreen Corner Blocks can be that type of project - IF - we have a perfect sample to hand make a set of molds and are willing to wait as necessary to get a small, commercial vacu-former to mix our block production with another partial sheet order of someone elses parts. Making a BIG mold requires a professional mold maker and significant investment.

LEC has a large pool of members skilled in many phases of manufacturing but rarely do we get any offers of help with the drafting or drawing of the parts. Scott offered to help with the escutcheon design but gave up because they turned out to completely out of plumb with almost no way of naming a starting point for the rendering. That is not all that uncommon when the part was probably originally designed by hand by a tool maker who just cut and ground until it was aesthetically pleasing. My first years running the MG shop in 1974-75 were next door to a die maker and a most of the dies they made were based on drawings - not 3D drawings or scans - just artistic drawings of what the part needed to look like. They had rough dimensions, but it wasn't like the computer assisted world we live in today.

Until I (or Wayne) find our squirrelled away new Corner Blocks, everyone can dream or hope for new ones to appear but to get absolutely "as original" replacements manufactured, the price will be a real shock.

If ANYONE else wants to take this on, I wouldn't be a bit put off to have one more project off my plate. but having been involved in several "from scratch" projects, I know now that it isn't an easy task and the unit price for a small quantity will be much more than ever expected.

Wayne and I have put together a list of M100 parts that need attention and have been trying to work in that direction but when facing $10,000.00 charges just for tooling, it is important to be certain of how many you will actually sell so a break-even price can be determined. If there is a demand in the 200 to 400 buyer range, things can be done and everybody benefits but runs of 50 parts are almost always a loss either because the seller is stuck making every part himself (like Dave's Short-Shift or even Bob B's projects (regardless of how that ended up)) or a contract manufacturer figures out a price that reflects a profit for their company and the low sales quantity can't cover the total outlay. It is only the "crazy" (I mean this in a friendly way) enthusiast like Wayne that plod forward even understanding it will take years of sales to just break even on his investment.

I figured my Shift Cable project would break even after 20 to 25 sales. I had a list of 17 people who were seriously interested (some did say they would buy when the short-shift kit was available) at a price close to Bob's original price (4 years prior). Of that 17 interested, I think 4 or5 purchased cables. Thankfully, others that joined up later helped to add to the sales total, but since offering them last October, 11 sets have gone out with one going to DBE. At this rate, I am still over $3,000.00 out of pocket and it will probably be years before I even break even. Remember, I buy the cables 5 sets at a time so that cost keeps getting added to my current outlay. I bought all of the other parts in bulk so had a large up front payment as each part was ordered. Is there really any good reason someone else would jump into a big-dollar project using their own (or Visa's) money to fund it knowing it would be years before breaking even?

The members are clammoring for replacement rear tail lamp covers. Does anyone understand the initial cost is in the $25,000.00 to $40,000.00 range BEFORE shipping a cargo container load of parts somewhere - it could be the UK, Bahrain or the US - to be stored until sold. Shipping, import and storage costs get added to the final price too. That is a lot of money to lay oput hoping everyone that has signed up really pays the £100.00 to £150.00 estimated cost per pair.

Our cars are turning over owners fairly quickly these days and a lot of the original "supporters" don't even have their cars anymore.

Sorry to have been preaching for so long, but the concept that someone can just "find and share" a 3D scanner and "get a mold made" and product will fall off an assembly line somewhere soon after, is a fairy tale.

A lot of time, research and work goes into the projects - even as far as the months we spent discussing and sampling to decide which of the 47 standard color BLACKs to finally use for the escutcheons.
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Re: Windscreen Corner Trim Blocks - All gone

Postby Brit-Car-Nut » Fri 16.05.2014, 21:23

Elanlover wrote:Makerbot's 3D scanner.

http://store.makerbot.com/digitizer

I wouldn't suggest using a 3D printer to make up the corners. I don't even know what their composition is and if a printer would support the materials. However, the scanner is useful for any small scale scanning projects. What I don't see on their website (although I'm sure its there somewhere) is the resolution supported and if the scanner spits out standardized files or if they are proprietary to Makerbot's gear.



EDIT: these specs are at the bottom of the page. The resolution might not be enough for this piece. These guys make a higher res model.

I bumped into someone that has worked with the makerbot scanner (Jay Leno promotes them) and it is a lower resolution scanner that people use to make novelties. The scanning platform is really small and the merging software for multiple sections is supposedly tedious. Sorry, but that would just introduce more uncertainty and probably mold making issues. From everyone I have asked, the best solution, especially for small quantities, is to make the mold as a reversal from the original part.
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