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Hey everyone I have an important question: what are some the hardest to source plastic or rubber parts?

I ask this because I remember dusting a few rare parts on my 85 Supra when trying to restore it. I am an 3d animator but I'm also a grease monkey and I wanted to combine my modeling skills and my love of cars and bikes. So I want to know if anyone had things they would want 3D printed either because oem's are scarce or too expensive.

Really I am trying to test the market and see if I can turn a hobby into a business and I have the most experience working on supra's and with the people of this forum.

So please let me know what parts you desire or if you have advice in general.
 

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Its not 3D printing but I need the lables for some switches in my car BADLY, since they have rubbed away.

Sent from my SM-G928V using Tapatalk
 

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Whistles
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Not needing anything at the moment, but I hear tail light housings are getting tough to find.
 

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Somebody just did 3D print some plastic sunroof slider parts. What we are mostly needing are the exterior trims and weatherstrip but those don't lend themselves easily to that technology. One thing you might research is the seat belt ratchet lever thingamajig in the door jambs. Most I've seen are broken off and I thought they were unavailable. Also have a look at all the electrical connectors under the hood. They are all very crispy at this age.
 

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Center dash vents would be a good idea. Not sure how complicated it would be. I swapped dashes two summers ago and the center dash vents were so old and brittle, that they broke into pieces when trying to swap them over to the new dashboard.
 

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Indeed, all the vents would be great candidates, but would be quite complex and since they are cosmetic pieces, customers would be expecting a near perfect reproduction. With things like electrical connectors and other less visible items, the main goal would be to reproduce the functionality and you could get away with slight variation in appearance, perhaps as the designs may need to be modified to accommodate printing or modified for durability considering the printing process or material.
 

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I wouldn't quit you day job... Quality vs price the used stuff is a way better deal and better quality. I think where you'd do better is custom things that people can't pick up at the junkyards for 5 bucks.
 

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I wouldn't quit you day job... Quality vs price the used stuff is a way better deal and better quality. I think where you'd do better is custom things that people can't pick up at the junkyards for 5 bucks.
Thing is I haven't seen a mk2 in a salvage yard with any useful plastic, rubber or vinyl parts since the 1990s. Most were completely ravaged by the Texas sun already anyway and if it wasn't they'd leave the windows down, doors open and sunroof open. Then people would take parts off to access the cylinder head and just throw the exhaust manifolds, distributors, etc. inside onto the passenger seat. By the time I saw one in a salvage yard, the interior would be destroyed.

Plus there was very little demand. A mk2 would be slowly picked at. When I called salvage yards asking for mk2s they would tell me that they would rather crush a mk2 than let it take up valuable space that they could make a lot of money on quickly like a Honda Accorde. The lack of viable mk2s in salvage was what prompted me to start buying wrecked ones and parting them out myself figuring that would be the best way to keep those parts from being wasted.

By about 2005 though, I had a storage building quite full and what few mk2s were showing up in the auctions were in such bad shape they weren't worth the cost to transport them home, let alone the time to dismantle them. You guys wouldn't buy hard parts from me like an alternator with 250K miles on it of course, you wanted stuff like belt moldings and center consoles. So I quit parting them out after 2005.

I still watch craigslist, but what I'm not seeing anymore is WRECKs, mk2s that were in decent shape, being driven and enjoyed and just fell victim to a terminal accident. That's what I look for. It seems that now, the majority of survivors are either already being treated as collector cars, lightly driven on weekends OR most probably I would bet that 8 out of 10 of them are in storage, sitting in someone's garage, under a tarp with boxes piled on top of them, kids bicycles leaning on them, haven't been started in years, awaiting that "someday I'm going to restore it".

I think the prime age for mk2 collectors is 50 to 58. Given the economy, most guys age 50 are still working 50 hours a week so give the mk2 another five to ten years and we'll start seeing them come out of the woodworks. But if between now and then, our OP could perfect some 3D files, then they'd probably have nice little hobby-business on the side. I know it works in the Corvette world. There's certain people that everyone knows you send your dash clocks to this guy who just rebuilds Corvette dash clocks and there's even a guy who just does Corvette windshield wiper arms. They figured out how to restore one particular part, built the jigs and special tools and made a little side business out of it to supplement their retirement income. I'm sure they don't make enough to live on but its better than waiting on a social security check.
 

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Whistles
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Well said as usual, Phil.
 

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Phil, you're acting like these are some kind of 1915 Rolls Royce they only made two of. There's a thing called shipping you can source stuff from all over the world. Do you think someone would rather spend $20 on a used OEM part that looks OEM or $100 for a 3D printed replica of poor quality fit and function?

People think 3d printing is some kind of magic technology where you get perfect injection molded parts at the snap of a finger. Reality is far from that. They're great for prototyping though. I can print a half dozen design iterations, dial in the design, then cut a tool and the part is usually perfect.
 

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Phil, you're acting like these are some kind of 1915 Rolls Royce they only made two of. There's a thing called shipping you can source stuff from all over the world. Do you think someone would rather spend $20 on a used OEM part that looks OEM or $100 for a 3D printed replica of poor quality fit and function?

People think 3d printing is some kind of magic technology where you get perfect injection molded parts at the snap of a finger. Reality is far from that. They're great for prototyping though. I can print a half dozen design iterations, dial in the design, then cut a tool and the part is usually perfect.
Of course not. But our OP hasn't come out and said he's going to print dash vents on a tinkertoy ABS printer. I don't know what he may be capable of or what level of equipment he may have access to or what parts he may choose to print. I just doubt that anyone is going to gear up to reproduce any injection molded mk2 parts so I figure 3d printing may be our best hope even if the technology isn't quite perfected yet.

But people act like the internet is some kind of miracle too and it isn't. I've been restoring cars and hunting parts on the internet for a couple of decades now and that's not always easy either. Sometimes I've searched online for months to come up with an original Mustang, Corvette or Jaguar part in decent shape and you'd think those would be growing on trees in comparison to mk2 parts.

Its actually my nature to be pessimistic but I wish I had learned earlier in my career that people (particularly bosses) don't like to hear that something can't be done, even when I'm absolutely right. It is far better to encourage people try and fail than to work at convincing them not to try at all. Telling our OP he's crazy and its not worth wasting his time is shooting our own selves in the foot.
 

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Whistles
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What? People in the community with money and "know how" getting told not to try and ignored?

Certainly saved me time and effort. Funny because a tool did it all for me, and he thought it was a competition, LMAO.
 

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Epoxy resin casting parts is a very viable option. You can 3D print your master part, sand it smooth, then cast clones fairly rapidly. Epoxy resin holds up to high heat as well. I love designing and printing prototypes. I wish ABS printed better but the fact of the matter is, ABS plastic shrinks pretty badly. PLA prints easily and I rarely have any difficulty printing PLA.
 

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Hey.
Hadn't been on in a minute because I'm terribly busy with this, that and the other. Showed up and thought a thread I actively post to was freshly updated...but surprise, this is a totally new thread!

There's a big 3D printing thread going already, give it a look. I actually bought an industrial grade machine to do exactly this. Been more focused on the 4Runner/pickup market but I do owe a certain someone a pair of interior mirror trim triangles.

I elected to not go for resin for a number of reasons, but it is certainly viable. You need a ventilated shop space and the prints require fairly intensive post-processing. It does have its advantages as well.
 

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Quote: "the seat belt ratchet lever thingamajig in the door jambs". IF your is not broken, pull it out and lube it with lithium grease to keep it happy and functional. I did mine B-4 it got broken last year. Just a little moisture in there and they will seize up and fail.
Thanks, Phil!
 
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