This is going to be a big photo dump of my latest adventures into 3D printing, both for prototyping and hopefully end usage. I purchased myself a 3D printer, Wanhao Duplicator i3, and I'll do a separate post for that soon. For now let's talk about my experiences with the intake parts I'm prototyping 🙂
I have no real knowledge in both 3D printing/modelling and engine intake theory, I'm just learning as I go, so there will be mistakes here and there. And therefore, not entirely sure if these parts/designs will make any measurable performance gains, but it's all fun anyway!
In my last post, I had just commissioned some prints of velocity stacks. Well I did some redesigns, and they can now be found on thingiverse.com, again it's still all a work in progress and I'm not expert in the design theory.
The velocity stacks are 105mm tall and designed for Silvertop AE101 throttle bodies.
Next up was designing an airbox for the ITBs and 105mm tall stacks, I pretty much modelled it using the same external dimensions as my Pipercross filter. I did this because I know for sure that it would clear all the brake and clutch parts in the engine bay and I also wanted the ability to easily change from filter to airbox. I can and will make a better design once I have this design fitted and tested.
For the Pipercross filter and this airbox to clear the stacks, a new mounting plate needed to be made. So I chose to print out a spacer that would be sandwiched between two laser cut plates, you can see it in the previous screenshot.
Below is my ideal design, will work on that soon.
The printed spacer for the filter mounting plate, had to be printed in multiple pieces due to the limited build volume of my printer (200mm x 200mm x 180mm).
Before doing the actual prototype print I decided to use some rubbish filament for a test print without support material, just to see how far it could go. It failed pretty quick when it got to the dome part, it recovered slightly towards the end though.
Here you can see the rear section of the airbox being printed, tried to minimise the usage of plastic and support material. This was printed at mostly 200micron layer height and the curved sections were printed at 100micron layer height, varying the layer height like this helps reduce print time as well as reduce support material for the sections with overhang.
Mid section being printed, by far the easiest part. Only needed support material for the mount flanges, this was printed at 280micron layer height.
And this is the front section being printed, all printed at 280micron layer height. This part had some design modifications to improve print-ability, also to reduce plastic usage and support material.
Since this is a prototype for test fitting, sections are glued together using Cyanoacrylate. Final part will either be epoxied or plastic welded together, not sure yet. Or maybe just use the print as a mold for carbon fibre?
It's amazing seeing this all come together as one piece, nearly 500mm total length. So happy!
Photo trying to show the internal clearances with stacks installed, minimum distance to walls is 25mm.
Some lessons I learned during this entire print are that overhangs causes prints to look like crap. So I've made the following design changes to help reduce overhangs.
- I added a chamfer on the inside surface to reduce the overhang angles under the "dome", this allows me to print with minimal support material, and the chamfer being only 20% solid means I use less plastic overall.
- The highlighted flat sections at either ends of the flange remove the overhangs and allows my printer to simply bridge that section, which my printer does very well. This makes the print look cleaner and also reduce support material.
- I found that printing holes on a vertical plane produces nasty overhangs and causes imperfections in and around the hole, so I opted to print only dimples instead of a through-hole. This improves the finish and I can just simply drill the holes post print anyway.
I also modelled this catch can and printed it out for test fitting. Unfortunately, the filament ran out before it completed printing. Was still able to test fit though!
OK! So last post was positive, engine started up, ran well and idled nicely. But that didn't last long...
While getting the tune sorted, I noticed that the vacuum readings were a little off and it turned out to be a vacuum leak due to a hose not being connected properly. Fixed the vacuum leak and then the engine didn't want to idle anymore... So I fixed the idling issue but that resulted in my brake booster not getting enough vacuum to assist the brakes 🙁
So the real problem was the vacuum set up, I think. So I've come up with a set up that mimics a few other off-the-shelf ITB kits. Haven't had time to finish everything yet, but will post update when I get it running again and report back on the vacuum set up.
These are the push-to-connect fittings I'm using, swivel tee fittings.
Marked out the holes and drilled 11.1mm holes so that I could tap a 1/4" NPT thread.
The fittings tested fitted and measured so I could cut the hoses. The hoses need be installed in the fittings while they're out.
Vacuum rail installed and the old holes plugged up.
Also test fitted the filter backing plate, some clearance issues here...
Installed a Garage Star Wiper Cowl panel, and need to make a new fuel hose because I had to go from dual to single feed fuel setup.
And finally installed and gapped the headlight covers, hate doing them so much.
This was not a smooth start up.... Ran into a few issues earlier on, car would crank over and sometimes nearly run but never more than than a fraction of a second. Went through and checked through the wiring and grounds, everything was good there, a quick visual inspection of the cam gear and cam lobes to see if they were in the right positions. And a whole bunch of things....
The ECU logs showed consistent sync loss, error no. 31. Something was wrong with the cam/crank sensors. In my particular case it was caused by the crank trigger wheel being installed backwards :P. And I actually did check it earlier on, but checked it incorrectly!
Once I flipped that trigger wheel around, it started right away! Here's a quick video of it, more to come later!
Happy day! Car has been towed back home and first thing we did was remove all the front panels 🙂 Storing them in a spare bedroom for now, don't want to scratch anything during assembly.
Colour is Audi's Aviator Grey.
The entire engine bay was covered in blankets during the engine install.
Colour looks amazing in sunlight, the Audi paint code has a bit of pearl through it but can only be seen in direct sunlight.
The freshly powder coated radiator and sway-bar brackets fitted up with new bolts.
A quick mock up panel for the engine harness Deutsch bulkhead connectors.
I had the front lip painted gloss black, will be interesting to see how well it holds up from all the abuse it cops 😛
Today was a good day 🙂 my Mazda was towed off to J&D Quality Smash Repairs.
Everything all set aside and ready to picked up.
Looks tough without the rear bar!
Tow drive arrived around 8.30AM and had her loaded up for a 30mins drive.
Sort of weird seeing your car get towed away, good weird though.
Once arrived at the shop, we continued removing a few more bits and pieces from the car. Things like rubber seals and everything in the door jams.
Quickly cleaned up one side of the engine bay using wax & grease remover with 3M Scotch Brite pads. Cleaned up really well and gets the surface some what ready for primer and paint.
Decided on the engine bay colour, this is Audi's Aviator Grey. Clear coats will be applied on top of this too.
More updates next week!
OK another small update before everything is ready to be towed off to the panel/paint shop.
Fuel lines were disconnected and capped off, fuel rail was also removed. Wiring was also pulled back into the cabin. Engine bay starting to look really bare. Next will be engine, brake booster, clutch master and all the hard lines.
Since I was sending out the headlight assemblies out for blasting and powder coating, I removed the sway bar mounts to get them done too. Involved drilled out a few spot wells but whatever. They'll be powder coated black with the other bits.
Door handles, window seals and antenna were removed. Still have to remove the seals around the front windscreen, and all the trims/seals on the hardtop.
Front and rear bars off, rear garnish and rear tail lights out too. Forgot to remove the third brake light 😛
My Nardi 330mm Deep Corn wheel arrived, also ordered an awesome wireless dongle so I can have remote boot release. I love the remote so much! Has fake wood grain, a red button and a telescopic antenna! I may ditch this kit and go with a 3/4-way kit so I can have keyless entry too.
As some of you may know, the MX-5 is booked in for a re-spray and engine bay colour change. Body will be painted factory Crystal White and the engine bay will be Battleship Grey. Now the stripping and preparations begin!
Seats were removed to make it easier to pull the dash out. Dash came out so I could pull the wiring harness completely back in to the cabin.
Rest of the parts being stored away. The ARP CF mirrors getting sanded back and a new coat of clear too.
Pop-up headlight assemblies will be disassembled and sand blasted, they'll be painted same colour as the engine bay.
Part way through the long and slow process of removing everything from the engine bay.
The MX-5's interior is known for it's minimalist nature, and with that comes the poorly lit interior. Vlad from Jass Performance has come up with a neat solution and below is my installation, with a slight difference.
The kit comes supplied with instructions and is plug and play.
Firstly, you'll need to remove the visor and roof latch. This'll allow you to mount the light and tuck the wires away.
The passenger and driver side lights mounted up and wires tucked away. It's a little bit tricky to do, try have someone else around to help out.
The black wire has a small ring terminal which screws into your existing courtesy light, this just allows it to turn on with the doors and still give you the ability to switch them on/off whenever you please. My install is a little different to the standard instructions, I've added a plug and soldered the red wire directly to the factory light. So please note that soldering is NOT required.
And a quick photo to show how much coverage it has. Photo was taken without flash and in complete darkness.
Second photo below was taken using a higher ISO setting on the camera, again no flash and in complete darkness.
Received some feedback and discussion on my head-unit relocation last week, and as I often find, I decided to change it up to the better option.
Below are photos of where the head-unit was mounted, I made a custom MDF piece for that spot too.
But it was obvious that the better position would be in the other corner of the boot, and mounted from above. Overall it looks a lot cleaner and more out of the way.
Started off by half removing some of the rear carpet, I than removed the bottom four bolts of the rear parcel shelf cover. Made it a lot easier to run the harness.
Harness fed through and the head-unit case mounted up!
Everything mounted and connected, works just as well as before.
I decided I didn't really enjoy the tablet install, so this will now be the 3rd revision of the MX-5's audio setup.
Goal was to create an even simpler interior, might even delete the AFR gauge, by relocating the head unit into the boot/trunk. I still wanted to retain full audio controls as well as Bluetooth and USB connectivity. My old audio setup worked well but the sound wasn't the greatest, probably from the lack of pre-amp/equiliser control.
Although I planned to mount the head unit in the boot, I still wanted full control of the unit, this was achieved using an IR repeater. Normally used in home theatre setups. Simply have the repeater eye in the cabin, and the repeater transmitter in the boot with the head unit.
First thing was to make up an extension harness that goes from behind the tombstone and into the boot. I used roughly 5 meters worth, and I went with something more flexible, conductor is 38/0.15 strands. And I've just terminated the ends with connectors.
Pictured below is the IR receiver unit, I've mounted this just above the rear view mirror. The harness was plugged up, and you can also see the little USB power adapter that's powering the IR Repeater.
This is where the head unit will be mounted in the boot. I've made a cardboard template for that little spot and will make it out of marine plywood and covered in automotive carpeting. You can also see the IR transmitter double sided tape right in front of the head unit's IR receiver, and the right angle USB extension cable.
The completed setup, showing how much simpler it is now. The other end of the USB extension sits in between the driver and passenger seat, and the remote control has some double sided velcro to keep it easily accessible.