My 3D Printer.


Quick post about my Wanhao Duplicator i3 3D Printer (Cocoon Create and Balco are the same printers). It's a good learner printer based on the opensource RepRap design by Prusa. The reason I chose this printer was because of it's all metal frame, large community base and its $400AUD delivered price tag!

In terms of modifications/upgrades to this printer, I think this is all I will do/spend on it. My plan from here is to print parts to build a new printer, probably something based on the Core XY design, like the Hyper Cube.

Forgot to take photos of when I first unpacked the printer, but first upgrades were this Micro Swiss hot-end and borosilicate glass to print on.


I then started printing out modifications for the printed with the included PLA filament. These are Z-axis braces and filament guide.


I blueprinted the X-axis linear motion and started installing the Z-axis brace.


At this stage I was still printing with the included PLA as I learned more about the machine.


Next step was to print with ABS, so I quickly made this "enclosure", the idea behind this is to keep the ambient temperature consistent and warm. It helps reduce ABS's tendency to warp and delaminate when you're printing tall or large parts.


Below is a storm water drain grate I printed for my sister in ABS, it took up the whole build area! Also did a prototype shifter extension for a friend. At this point I also started using Kapton tape on my glass bed.


Fan duct and belt tensioner printed in ABS, also printed some new bearing carriers because I wanted to install longer linear bearings.


The bearing holders had printed threads too!


Printed some parts to extend the Z-axis, in anticipation of printing my intake manifold parts.


This is Printoid connected with my Octoprint/Octopi setp running on a Raspberry Pi.


Make up organiser for my girlfriend printed in ABS.


And this was printed in black PETG, prototype piece for a friends 180SX front bar intake duct.


And finally a new fan duct for the controller box, increases cooling as well as reducing noise from the tiny stock fan. Printed in black PETG.



3D Modelling & Printing.



Lately I've been spending more time learning how to model parts in 3D, still new so bare with me. It's not a new concept to me, but I am using Fusion 360 mainly now and sometimes a bit of SolidWorks.

I've done some prints in the past, a good example would be the bulk head connector plate I drew up and printed. Had it installed in the car while I waited for the final piece to be laser cut from steel.


And now I'm starting to move onto slightly more detailed designs. Starting of with "remixing" a design from Thingiverse.

4AGE Black Top Velocity Stack -

And my "remixed" version, which is basically modified for Silver Top engines instead of Black Top and increasing overall length to 115mm.

4AGE Silver Top Velocity Stack -


I than scrapped that design altogether and did one from scratch, increased the radius lip profile and removed the side bracing. The print below was done in ABS and I'll be testing it for clearance and heat resistance. If all goes well, I'll most likely print my final design in ABS. If not, other materials like Nylon and Poly-carbonate are alternative options for heat resistance.




And this is another design I quickly modelled. Main differences being the bottom flange, length adjusted to 105mm and the dimpled internal surface. NO idea how that'll work for airflow, good or bad, but it's fun drawing these and 3D printing them! The idea is from dimpled surfaces on golf balls, and I've seen shops machine dimples onto the back of inlet valves and cylinder head ports.


And this is how the print came out.... About halfway up the velocity stack, the wall was a tiny bit too thin and the dimples were too deep! Not something I was expecting, but I'll learn from this one and make revisions. This print was also done at 300 micron layer height, I think it needs to be 100-200 micro next time.


And finally, this is an airbox/plenum that will mount to my current Pipercross filter plate. Still needs some work here and there, but I'm pretty set on the general shape of it and the inlet is 4.5" diameter. The final product could be moulded from the 3D print and made with carbon fibre, or possible printed entirely out of fibre infused nylon for strength and heat resistance.


More to come!


Automatic Windows – Testing


Sup everyone!

This project has been on the back burner for awhile, but finally ready for testing. Everything hasn't gone exactly to plan, so far the circuit only works with the factory switches and not my Centre Console Delete Kit.

The plan is to make a simple plug-and-play kit that allows both windows to go up/down automatically. I realise that the JDM NA8s came with automatic driver side window from factory, and I will be making kits available for single window applications as well as both windows.

Quick demo video here:

Ignore my slow windows, the sliders need a clean 😛

One click initiates automatic up/down, clicking the switch in opposite direction stops the automatic function. Holding the switch for 2secs overrides into manual mode.


This is the little circuit, will be cased up etc when done.


Testing in my car 🙂



SR20 MX-5 Build Update


Previous info on the build:

We've finally started doing more work on my friends SR20DET MX-5 build! Very excited about the progress today, next week we'll be replacing the NA dash with a NB one. Everything bolts straight in but wiring has to be modified.

Interior stripped out, NB carpet cleaned up and going into the NA shell.

Next up was the main body wiring harness, this was previously stripped back and modified. This includes a proper relocation of the engine bay fuse box, cleaned up engine bay wiring, and separating the factory combined engine and body wiring.


Engine Rebuild – Part 3

Update time!

After I gave the paint some time to dry, it was time to give the internals a wash down. For this I was advised to use dish washing liquid with water, once that was done everything was given a wipe with engine oil to prevent any surface oxidisation.

The crank journals were given a good clean and main bearings installed.

Before the crank can be installed, the clearances need to be checked using Plastigauge.

Once you have the clearances checked and within recommended specifications, it's time to pull it apart, clean and than re-fit using assembly lube.

In the next episode, I hope to have updates on the ring gaps and final assembly =).


Engine Rebuild – Part 2

I got my block back from Chilton Engineering this week. They are always my first choice when it comes with engine machining work, can't recommend them enough.

David and his team carried out the following work:

  • Measure and hone cylinder bores
  • Deck the block
  • Remove and replace oil gallery plugs
  • Clean oil ways
  • Supply and fit welch plugs
  • Measure and cleaning of pistons
  • Remove balls in crankshaft and replace with screw in plugs
  • Crack detect crankshaft
  • Check and linish crankshaft
  • Block hot washed
  • Supply of new rings and bearings

Like last time, the block was wire brushed to get any loose bits off. Fortunately, the block was acid/hot washed by the machine shop so didn't have to clean as much 🙂

I found that one can of VHT Engine Primer was enough to paint my whole block, I went with gloss black.

I also disassembled my oil pump to give it a once over and make sure everything was within tolerances.


Engine Rebuild – Part 1

Hey guyyyyyyyyyyssssss!

My goal has always been to build my bottom end, forged high compression pistons, forged rods and maybe a decent over-bore. As everything with my car, I would prefer to learn and do it myself. So this rebuild is more of a refresh using stock pistons and rods, a learning exercise/practice before I attempt the forged build.

So over the last week I've been slowly pulling apart my spare block, getting it ready for the machine shop. I'm also wire brushing and prepping the block for a fresh coat of paint.

Pulled the head and sump off, and quickly checked the side-to-side clearances, crank thrust and bearing clearances.

Everything out and ready for the machine shop.


New Amplifier.

My replacement amplifier arrived today!

It's a Pyle PLMRMP1B, a tiny little marine amplifier. Claims to make 2x 100watts RMS, but it's more like 2x 20watts! Still sufficient for my speakers and the MX-5 though. And I'm happy with it's sound quality, not the best amp I've heard but for the size and money it's good.

The amplifier uses a STA540SAN made by STMicroelectronics. Specs confirm the power to be around 2x 20watts RMS.

I installed connectors on the little amplifier, and it also comes with a remote volume control knob. Will have to find a place to install/hide it.

Everything mounted up.


Boot Light

Just a quick update, I've installed a boot light and it's amazing! Please excuse the image quality, they were all taken using my phone.

Install doesn't take very long and everything is plug-and-play. Kit comes with a LED mounted on a stainless steel bracket, boot switch and wiring harness.

Boot Light Kit -

Photo taken without flash at 9PM.

I also removed my tombstone to give it a quick coat of Plasti-Dip, the surface was a bit too rubbery/grippy for my liking so I gave it a quick wipe with some interior detailing products. Worked out very well 🙂


Radio Delete

Been wanting to do this post for awhile now. It's been a combination of research and a lot of testing to get to this point. Quite pleased with the outcome but would like to make some changes later on, more on that later.

A few goals I had for this project:

  • Delete radio/head-unit.
  • Keep everything as simple as possible, think minimal.
  • Nexus 7 tablet to display all the Megasquirt gauges via Bluetooth.
  • GPS with offline maps, pause/resume music on power off/on, wired tether to phone.
  • Maintain charge with full brightness, GPS, music and gauges running.
  • Easy to remove tablet from the car, one cable to dock.
  • Amplifier install that is compact yet has tone controls (bass/treble).

To make it possible for the tablet to dock with just the one cable (USB), and not have to plug the headphone/Auxilary cable in as well, I had to use the tablet's USB OTG Host feature. This basically allows you to plug heaps of USB devices to your Android device, keyboards, mice, thumb-drives, USB DAC, etc...

However, while in OTG Host mode Android doesn't allow the tablet to be charged at the same time. This is where the software comes in to make it all possible. Check out Timur's website for details on his custom built ROM. It is optimised for car installs and enables charging while in USB OTG Host mode, deep sleep mode when power loss is detected (huge power saver), and hot-plugging of audio devices.

You will also need a USB OTG Y-Split cable, I picked up mine off eBay for not much money. While you're there you'll also need a USB DAC, again very little money for these. The USB DAC basically plugs into the tablet via USB and outputs sound for the amplifier.

We're very lucky with Megasquirt when it comes to Android software. MSDroid allows tuning as well as gauges, still in the beta with a new major release soon. ShadowDash is by the same creators as TunerStudio and is a lot more stable but only allows gauges and no tuning features.

For amplification, I decided to go the DIY route. This consists of a pre-amp so that I could have bass and treble control. For the power-amp stage I picked a DIY kit that is built around a IC chip that is commonly used in car radio.

Took me literally under ten minutes to build the power-amp, pre-amp took a bit longer. I than stuffed them both into a plastic case with the USB DAC. The case was picked up from JayCar.

Sound wise, this combo worked very well. The pre-amp gave me plenty of tone adjustments and power-amp was able to keep up with the volume levels I usually listen at. But it did suffer from a "pop" noise on power up, and I may have blown the IC chip because of insufficient heat-sinking!

So the other option I'm look at is this little amplifier, Pyle PLMRMP1B. It's very compact, plenty of power, remote gain control and anti-thump turn on. I'll re-use my current DIY pre-amp though, need those tone controls!

My initial install of the tablet wasn't very successful. Couldn't use my hazard/retractor buttons without removing the tablet, very flimsy, and blocked both centre vents.

I than found a company called ProClip that produce a Nexus 7 holder that was perfect for my requirements.

I used a custom made radio panel, available through my store, and made it a complete blank. This would allow me to hard mount the ProClip tablet holder. Very happy with the qualilty from the holder, sturdy and easy to dock/undock from the car.

For the wiring part, I used new connectors. 4-way connector for the outputs to the speakers, and a 3-way connector for ground, accessory and constant 12V power.

Photos of the finished project!

Parts list: