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Jay Leno Restores 100-Year Old Cars Using Additive Manufacturing

You have 100 year-old classic cars and hand-built custom cars... how do you make spare parts? Jay Leno and his Chief Engineer, Jim Hall, utilize a combination of 3D Scanning and 3D Printing to improve on his classic and customized one-of-a-kind car collection. Recently, Jay's team used a digital workflow to reverse engineer a new and improved valve cover before sending the part to 3D Systems On Demand Manufacturing for a 3D printed investment casting pattern.

Jay has been fixing a particular 1916 Owen Magnetic which, interestingly, was actually one of the first-ever commercially available gas-electric hybrid cars.

In order to keep his Owen Magnetic’s wheels in motion, Leno and his team had a distinct challenge to overcome. “When we began renovation, the valve cover, which provides a passageway for the engine coolant, looked like a piece of Swiss cheese,” Leno said. “You can’t find one of these in a junkyard, and from looking at the original part there is evidence of previous failed attempts to fix it with everything from Elmer’s Glue to JB Weld. --From the 3D Systems Website

The reverse engineering workflow started with 3D scanning the original valve cover using a FARO® Design ScanArm into Geomagic Design X™ reverse engineering software. Unlike red laser line scanners, blue laser line scanners are able to scan both the black and polished surfaces on the original part in a single pass. The point cloud data was then sent to 3D Systems' 3D Modeling Services team for help transforming the 3D scan data into a final CAD model.

Once the valve cover design was ready, 3D Systems’ On Demand Manufacturing team exported a solid model from Geomagic Design X and opened it in 3D Systems 3D Sprint™ additive manufacturing software. Using 3D Sprint’s set of

advanced mesh creation and editing tools, they converted the solid model into a detailed mesh and then scaled it to account for the shrink factor of the metal alloy it would be cast in. 3D Systems’ technicians then set up the print to build as a stereolithography (SLA) QuickCast® pattern. QuickCast patterns are designed specifically for investment casting and are primarily hollow builds that contain an internal network of hexagonal support structures. A hollow build reduces the amount of material required and the internal geometry of QuickCast patterns facilitates drainage and burn out. Final printing was done on a 3D Systems ProX® SLA 800 printer with Accura® CastPro™ resin.

According to Leno, it works perfectly. “That’s the great thing about this kind of technology,” Leno said. “Parts are no longer lost to time. We’re ready to go for another hundred years.”

To see more, Watch Jay Leno and his Chief Engineer, Jim Hall, as they explain the process of 3D scanning

Do you have questions about the products used in this project? Want to see if there's a better process than what you're doing today? Contact us for a free review of your manufacturing process to see if 3D Printing and 3D Scanning can help you!

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Canadian Additive Manufacturing Solutions

By connecting 'Traditional Manufacturing' with Additive Solutions, Canadian Additive Manufacturing Solutions provides direct support to organizations looking to increase productivity, innovation, and growth by applying advanced manufacturing solutions. These solutions include but not limited to 3D Printing, 3D Scanning, CAD Design, Reverse Engineering, and Production Additive Manufacturing equipment.

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