AMS Spring 2023

Maker Replaces His Broken Car Radio with 3D Printed Amp/Clock Setup

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If your car stereo breaks and you’re pretty broke — and you’re not a mechanical engineering student — you’re probably out of luck, or facing a trip to BestBuy.g9Z3YX6

But if you’re Reddit user “Sleepwhereweland,” in that case, you 3D print your own replacement amplifier interface to replace the radio and throw in a 3D printed “analog” clock face and hands just to make things groovier.

“My stereo broke so I wanted to print a new one. The original plan was just to have a single aux cord plug connected to an amp sitting behind it,” Sleepwhereweland writes. “Designed it in IronCAD ’cause it’s fast. Took me about 20 minutes once everything was measured.”

When radio broadcasting began in 1920, it wasn’t long until car owners started adapting home radio sets in their cars for kicks. But it wasn’t until the 1930s that the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation made a commercial product fitted specifically for cars. It was called the Motorola model 5T71, and it sold for around $130 and could be installed in many of the popular cars of the time.

But back to the job at hand. Sleepwhereweland used a tiny amplifier for his project as well as lots of ingenuity.

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The printing for the job was done in white ABS, and he says the job took 10 hours “on my crappy little homemade printer.” The print was done at 235C set fro 30mm/s, .12mm layers, 18% fill and three shells.

“I wanted some other design on the outer layer so I just started sketching some circles in a projection of the stereo outline,” he says.

The hands of the clock and the details were printed in blue on his RepRap printer.

Sleepwhereweland says placing a 24v LED which runs on the available 12v system provided the “perfect brightness” for his backlight system, and the “Amp On” wire and switch run through his 3D printed face plate.

So how much did it cost? The whole shootin’ match cost just $30 and the cost of a few small 3.5mm connectors.

You can check out the details of the whole 3D printed amplifier project in an Imgur post.

Have you ever used your 3D printer to replace a broken part or designed an improvement for an existing product? Let us know in the Broken Car Radio with 3D Printed Amp forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out more photos from the project’s progress below.

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