When I was growing up, my dad and I restored classic cars. Combing junkyards for the pieces we needed was a mixture of interesting and frustrating since there was always something you couldn’t find no matter how long you looked. [Emily Velasco] was frustrated by the high price of parts even when she was able to find them, so she decided to print them herself. She wrote an excellent tutorial about designing and 3D printing replica parts if you find yourself in a similar situation.
All four marker lights on [Velasco]’s 1982 Toyota pickup were on their way to plastic dust, and a full set would run her $160. Instead of shelling out a ton of cash for some tiny parts, she set out to replicate the marker lamps with her 3D printer. Using a cheap marker lamp replacement for a more popular model of pickup as a template, she was able to replace her marker lamps at a fraction of the cost of the options she found online.
We really like the trick [Velasco] used for matching the unusual shape of the lens. By photographing it on a piece of graph paper, she was able to get the silhouette and use the grid to eliminate any lens distortion in the image. It won’t work for super complex shapes, but for roughly 2D parts with complex curvatures this can be a great way to make a part that matches well. We can see this being useful to you in a wide variety of hacks.
If you want to dig deeper, we’ve covered other projects at the intersection of 3D printing and cars like 3D Printed Rims, 3D Printed Parts for Concept Cars, and even OEMs that provide 3D printing specifications for accessory mounts to name a few.