Jul 22, 2016 | By Alec

The Ohio-based 3D printing specialists Freshmade 3D has been making headlines everywhere for a remarkable project: 3D printing life-sized bobbleheads of both Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, which will be showcased at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. If that doesn’t bring 3D printing in the national spotlight, nothing will. But as the company revealed, they are actually specialized in 3D printing replacement parts for cars. The company has recently partnered with classic car restorers Hahn-Vorbach from Butler, Pennsylvania, and will be using 3D printing to produce parts which have gone out of production decades ago.

This is great news for classic car fans everywhere, as restoring a car can be either very nostalgic or very frustrating. If you can find the parts you need, it is a fantastic hobby to share with your father or son. But that’s not always the case. Replacement parts are necessarily vintage as well, and chances are they are not in a good condition when you finally find it. “If you're looking for a part, a lot of times you can find something. But it's not necessarily something you want on your car,” said Freshmade 3D president and COO Christopher Tomko.

But there is a 3D printing alternative, as the Youngstown, Ohio-based Freshmade is now providing. “We can do this,” said Tomko. “We can give you a perfectly functioning metal part that's either been enabled by 3D printing or literally 3D printed.”

And the beauty of their services is that they can achieve a lot with the rusty, broken parts you take off your car. That part is used to design a replacement, at times through 3D scanning. “The digital data that you can achieve now with 3D scanning allows these machines to produces these parts to such high tolerances and to specifications that came out of the factory,” Freshmade 3D CEO Rich Wetzel explained. The parts themselves are then 3D printed in metal, or cast in metal using a 3D printed mold. Numerous options are possible, and will be decided upon together with the clients. “If you’re looking for a custom part, we will make it in the most economical process that meets your requirements. Using state-of-the-art design tools and new additive manufacturing processes, it’s finally possible to get your part,” the company explains.

As CTO Brett Conner added, they then use their own knowledge of parts to figure out the actual geometry for the replacement part. While that still takes time, it’s much quicker than conventional methods. “In the traditional sense, you're usually waiting years to get the parts. Now in this case, you can get it in a few weeks.”

That service is being boosted through a partnership with Hahn-Vorbach, who’ve actually been restoring cars for more than fifteen years and are anticipating major cost and time saving opportunities. “The big deal is, you're really cutting out that machining process,” said company president Paul Vorbach. “You still have to design things and you still have to do some finish work and chrome it and stuff like that. You just don't have to make ten thousand of these things to recoup your machining costs.”

While this service itself will doubtlessly attract plenty of business, Freshmade is thus also engaging in a massive marketing campaign by harnessing the power of politics. The Republican National Convention opens its doors today, where a size Donald Trump bobblehead will be exhibited. And next week, the Democratic Convention will play host to a version of Hillary Clinton. “I think it's a cool opportunity for us to showcase Youngstown and showcase Freshmade 3D. It really is cool. You'll have thousands of people looking at the presidential candidates as we make them. I think the other cool thing is just seeing it come together. Actually pulling some of the parts out and seeing a life-size person that's been 3D printed,” Conner said. Combine that exposure with the highly sought-after classic car components, and Freshmade 3D is heading towards a golden future.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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