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!
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 - http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:25207
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 - http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2016083
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!
Welllll than...... A couple new things in this update, and possibly a second post regarding some stuff I've been 3D modelling for the build.
First up, managed to install this 5V oil pressure sender and input it into the Megasquirt for full datalogging and dash display through Shadow Dash. The tablet mounted using two magnetic mounts clipped to the eye-ball vents. Works very well and has a very strong hold.
It was surprisingly easy to get working, the sender needs +5v, ground and signal return to the ECU. I happened to use the AD6 input on my Megasquirt, and TunerStudio has a built in wizard to configure your sender.
Developed a slight oil leak into cylinder no. 4 so took valve cover off to replace the gasket. Remember to go genuine valve cover gasket! I've had nothing but trouble with non-genuine valve cover gaskets.
Finally bought some new tyres and fresh alignment done! Hankook RS3 225/45 R15.
Received and installed my IL Motorsport bonnet lifts, not sure if I like them yet.
Next up, I had some spare parts accumulating and was able to put together this LED bar kit. It's operated via RF remote control that looks like a bomb detonator, the LED light bar and associated electronics (now enclosed in water-proof case) are mounted just behind the front bar.
Garage Star Coil-on-Plug adapter acquired!
Toda forged pistons!!! They are 11.0:1 compression ratio and +3mm overbore, made from a special alloy with very littler thermal expansion which allows it to run factory Mazda piston-to-bore clearances. Toda also designed the skirt to allow usage of factory oil squirters. I also ordered the matching overbore head gasket from Toda.
Some close ups of the pistons.
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!
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.
Long time no post!
This has been a long over-due service item, valve clearances. Because it's a brand new head build, the clearances have to be checked roughly at the 5000km mark.
This forum thread below was very helpful.
But I was too lazy to pull everything apart to remove the camshafts, so I ordered the Mazda special service tool for this 😀 It basically let's you remove the shims with camshafts still in.
Mazda part number is 49T0-12-0A0A.
Using my feeler gauge to measure all the clearances first, best to record everything as well. A couple of simple calculations are done to find what shims are required to get the clearances within spec.
Tool bolted in and setup.
Bucket pushed down, shim out so it could be checked and measured. This one is 4.00mm.
Dropped my engine off last week at the Auto Xperts, they did an excellent job and degreed my cams to the recommend specs. Final adjustments will be made on the dyno.
Picked her up this morning and have been on it since than.
After the crank bolt was correctly torqued, I started on assembling the timing cover and ITBs.
Some close-ups of stuff.
Lightened flywheel and clutch going in.
Engine going back in 😀
Still waiting to get my head back from the engine builder, so no real updates.
One of the perks from organising a group buy of 40 Sparco Sprint V seats... I kept a seat for myself so now my passengers can sit in comfort 😀 also ordered a OMP 330mm deep dish steering wheel that shipped with the seats.
Some seat bolster protectors from MX-5 Mania are on their way too.
Centre Console Delete Kit now available: