When hobbies and work collide
Our latest project involved helping a customer obtain a specialized part for a '58 Cadillac. We were brought two versions of the same bracket along with one full assembly. The original parts all had their own individual flaws, as you'll see in the photos below. Through reverse engineering and rapid prototyping, we were able to recreate the specific piece needed to complete the unique gas cap/tail light mechanism. After a few design iterations, this part is ready to be machined for the customer's use.
As a car enthusiast myself, I recognize how time consuming the search for many of these specific parts can be. I also understand the frustration of continuing to face the challenge of outdated materials that wear out over time and must be continually replaced through the same arduous search process.
This specific part was originally made from pot metal, a cast metal alloy. While strong, this metal is very brittle. The repetitive use of the assembly over 60+ years causes cracks and eventual failures at multiple points on the bracket. In 2023, most of the replacement parts are salvaged from vehicles that have seen just as much wear and tear, but are sitting in junk yards instead of being out on the road.
The goal of this project was to provide a permanent solution to this two-fold problem our customer was facing.
The slideshow below shows different views of the original assembly, the reference parts, and the newly designed and 3D printed replacement part.