Restoring a ’55 Buick

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Professional Image 3D has worked with clients from all across the nation. Whether it is in sunny California, humid Louisiana, cold Montana or in this case the hot desert of Fountain Hills Arizona, we work diligently with our customers to create and 3D print end-use parts that are most suited to their environment. This project required recreating restoration pieces for Mike, the proud owner of a 1955 Buick Roadmaster. These restoration parts are very hard to come by and are obviously no longer being manufactured. Mike recalls spending countless hours searching the web trying to locate a suitable replacement part for his “BABY”. When no suitable part could be found Mike sought out the services of Professional Image 3D. Mike then sent us the best of the broken parts he had to be reverse engineered. For this project, we would be restoring both tag light lens and the back window grills for the air conditioning system.

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The air conditioner in a 355 Buick is nestled in behind the back seats, under the rear windshield. Our biggest concern for this part was the heat. The inside of a car sitting in the Arizona sun all day could easily reach temperatures of up to 150 degrees. We pride ourselves on  matching the right material for the right job, and for this job, we needed a material that would be durable enough to be an end-use part and still hold together under high temperatures. We settled on a 50% glass-filled Duraform nylon with a temperature resistance of over 300 degrees.

Now that the purpose of the part and the material was a match we turned our focus on creating a 3D printable file of the finished part. Utilizing the latest 3D scanning technology, we were able to digitally capture the broken part and reverse engineer a CAD model in Solidworks. This created a clean parametric model which in turn was saved in the .STL file format perfect for 3D printing.

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Our next challenge were the left and right tag light lenses. Once again the client was able to supply original, older, hazy, broken parts suitable for reverse engineering purposes. The lenses were exact mirror copies of each other, which cut down on the amount of design time needed to model the new parts.  To reproduce these parts we utilized our SLA printers to provide a smooth surface and post processed them with a water-clear finish. This created an effect on the parts that looked very similar to clear plastic or glass. Mike’s “BABY” may have several years on her but she is looking as good as new with the help of 3D printing technology.

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Posted in 3D Printing, 3D Technology Blog.

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