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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear Cadillac Owners,

The spare part for your classic car is too expensive? Or you even couldn’t find one? I am researching to find out a solution. Additive manufacturing of spare parts might have the potential to disrupt the supply chain for classic cars spare parts.
Please let me know about your problems with sourcing spare parts. Your participation in my online survey as part of my Master Research Degree at Stellenbosch University will hopefully help the classic car community to maintain their vehicles by benefiting from an increase in spare part supply and a reduction in spare part prices. For your personal immediate benefit, every participant enters a lucky draw for one personalized, additive manufactured emblem with your car and your name.
My name is Lukas, I am 24 years old, born in Germany and an enthusiastic classic car driver. Please click on the link below to start the survey.


Important note: This is not an advertisement for a service, and I have no financial benefit from your participation. Your participation is only beneficial for the community and for the completion of my master’s degree.
Thank you so much for your participation and good luck in the draw! Please share the survey with your Classic Car Community and all your friends.
 

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Lukas,
"Additive manufacturing of spare parts might have the potential to disrupt the supply chain for classic cars spare parts." No help is needed disrupting the supply chain.... the biggest issue is for many cars there isn't enough business for an aftermarket supplier to reproduce parts and when that happens things get difficult. So I think there is need but not disruption; more augmenting where nothing exists.

I try to take it one step further. Sometimes the original part wasn't designed well so I don't normally duplicate I try to improve. There is a part I started working on and intend to finish at some point. It's a clip which retains the headliner trim. The original is extremely stiff and you feel like something will break during install/ removal. My idea is to design it with enough compliance to allow easier removal/install but still function properly. I have the basic design done but I need to find time and some courage to overcome the risk of breaking something; not the first time I've done the job on this car. One other issue is the original part never really goes bad so almost no market because people need to even realize an alternative exists.

Other parts are needed but you need to be able to integrate electronics in some cases and it's not like Cadillac or others published the blueprints. In other cases, no integration required, you need to duplicate factory finishes.

One part which eventually goes bad on almost any 80's car are the bumper fillers. Replacements don't always fit well and are made in prototype like molds. Some are fiberglass which are stiff and really hard to fit. Additive could be perfect for those as the material selection is pretty good but to do it correctly you will need to spend hours CAD designing something which was originally hand drawn, clay modeled and created by an artisan mold maker. And then hours more test fitting and adjusting.

If you add metal part, obviously becoming more common, but still expensive you can add more potential items. There are plenty of single year interesting cars where nobody makes any aftermarket parts. Some needed parts are too large for the typical additive manufacturing. There are for example no replacement sheet metal parts for the 1968 Impala. So no fenders, no hoods, no rear full quarters but size makes those parts "impossible" currently.

I really hope you can find a way to contribute but you almost need a passion which puts you in a position of being driven regardless of cost because you need a part and cannot find anything. I've made some of my own parts with different technologies; not all additive. I only work on parts I need and I normally make enough to get the overall cost low enough that I can hopefully find enough others to spread the effort/cost out. As an example I designed and built an Oldsmobile specific valve spring compressor tool. If I made 1 tool it would have been around $400 but if I planned for 10 sets the cost was around $60/tool. I recently updated the tool but in doing so I added an operation so to get the cost down to a similar value I decided to make 50 tools. I won't make them again but a professional engine builder contacted me and asked if I was still selling them. It was that contact and always knowing I wanted to make one more improvement which caused me to build the updated version. They work great but people need to realize it. So far I've sold around 16 tools in addition to the original 10 which included my own.

Scott
 
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