3D Printing the 1952 Porsche 356 Engine

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The Porsche is an automobile that most of us only dream of, attention riveted when that rare sports car passes us on the road or highway, always managing to fascinate—no matter the year or the condition. Giuseppe Guerini is one of the lucky few, however, who made his dream came true—and as of today, he has owned quite a stunning list of Porsches.

“I’ve had about sixty altogether, and I own three at the moment–1951, 1952, and 1958 models–as well as engines, spare parts, and documentation,” says Guerini, an Italian enthusiast and maker.

When you have a passion like that, often it spills over into other areas. Guerini is a good example of that as he also began using 3D design and 3D printing to re-create a favored Porsche engine, most recently in a 1:4 scale model of the 1952 Porsche 356 engine. And lest you think that was a quick Sunday afternoon project, consider this: he had to completely take apart the engine of the 356 and then 3D scan each part for 3D printing.

In navigating this project (with the help of Formlabs‘ Italian partner Creatr), Guerini used a David Laser scanner, and then Rhino and Meshmixer for modeling. He realized that a high-precision 3D printer would be required for the Porsche engine replica, however, and settled on a very popular model that certainly yields impressive results for many in the 3D printing world.

“Having worked for more than 35 years in the laser industry, I knew all about SLA printers,” he explains. “The issue was the price, which was absolutely out of range for hobbyists. Then, a year ago, I first heard about a desktop SLA printer that was affordable both in terms of the machine and the resins. It was the Formlabs Form 2.”

Guerini did experiment with an FDM 3D printer initially, but found much better results with SLA, as well as the variety of materials he was able to consider—a consideration that has led to the use of Formlabs’ 3D printing technologies in several cases.

“I used Clear Resin, and, to a lesser extent, Castable and Flexible Resin,” said Guerini.

“Given the complexity of the pieces, I find it easier to work with pieces that are transparent when it comes to the finishing stage. It helps me, for example, with threading some of the holes.”

The Clear Resin was the workhorse material for the project, used for most of the engine components. Guerini favored this material for its transparency—which helped in finishing, such as in threading some of the holes—as well as its detail capabilities. The Flexible Resin came into play for the engine mounts and belts.

He relied on Castable Resin by Formlabs for the support frame of the Porsche engine. Once those parts were created, Guerini cast the master model in aluminum, working with a company specializing in such work.

Numerous pieces were printed in the same batches, with 250 pieces 3D printed in the three different resins. With five separate print jobs ensuing, Guerini’s project consumed 45 hours. In post processing, many of the tiny holes had to be refined, with most threaded for M1.6, M2, M2.5 screws.

The components required sanding, and then of course painting. Four hours was required for final assembly.

“I can highly recommend the Form 2 to anyone who is passionate about model making,” Guerini says. “With some patience, time, and a sound knowledge of the mechanics, you can create pieces of any complexity. Beware though, it’s a hungry beast craving for 3D models.”

Guerini’s work has not gone unnoticed, and other Porsche enthusiasts and makers have been asking him to make other models. As the Formlabs’ team points out in their blog regarding the project, this may be something that could transform from a hobby into a full-time job, should Guerini so desire. Interest has been high, and the Porsche engine model is available for sale via Italy-based Creatr. Discuss in the 3D Printed Engine forum at 3DPB.com.

[Images: FormlabsCreatr]

 

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