Usually though, the objects made are those designed by 3D printing aficionados who are simply looking to spend the free time on their hands doing something constructive.
These often involve fairly simple to create objects that with a little effort and some time on your hands, can be fashioned.
But with the technology growing so fast and many more people joining the world of 3D printing, more and more enthusiasts are taking on the challenge of creating just about anything they can think of using additive manufacturing.
One such guy who is beating all the odds through 3D printing is Thingiverse user and automotive connoisseur Eric Harrell. Being extremely passionate about automotives and also since he is a mechanical engineer by profession, Harrell mostly spends his free time working on machines. Now with the current 3D printing wave, he overtime found himself naturally drawn to the technology and mainly feeling curious to know just to what extent additive manufacturing could be used to Fabricate Intricate Auto Parts.
It is this deep urge to test the limits of 3D printing technology that led him to 3D print a working Toyota 22RE 4 Cylinder Engine.
The engine is an exact replica of the real thing. Remember that designing something as critical as an engine is one of those achievements that mainly are attained by big 3D printing companies in the industry, which have powerful top-end printers that can pop out basically anything.
What makes Harrell’s story way out of the ordinary is that he did not use one of the superior 3D printers in the market in 3D printing his working Toyota 22RE 4 Cylinder Engine. On the contrary, Harrell was simply using a RepRap Original Prusa. So have you ever dreamed of 3D printing any automotive part and thought that it was impossible?
Perhaps this is your chance to still give life to the design you had in mind and you can first test your hand by attempting to 3D print your own working Toyota 22RE 4 Cylinder Engine.
How did Harrell do it?
Given that the files Harrell used to design and fabricate this engine are currently Downloadable Here, it should be quite easy for anyone who would like to give it a try to come up with the exact replica of a Toyota 22RE 4 Cylinder Engine just like Harrell did.
Though, he warns 3D printing lovers who would want to go down this road that they should first and foremost make sure they are working with a good printing machine. It doesn’t necessarily need to be one of the expensive top-range printers but it has to be one which is at least robust enough to withstand the lengthy hours it is going to take to print all the parts required to assemble the engine.
Besides being able to handle the task, the right printer has to be well calibrated. For instance, he explains that while he was doing the printing he had to scale down the files to 35 percent.
This skilled engineer used up to 1kg of PLA filament on his RepRap Original Prusa while he was creating the engine. So anyone who would like to fabricate the engine should be prepared to use about the same amount of filament although this will also be greatly influenced by the setting used.
Since the fan pulley and the electric motor are ideally supposed to be connected, Harrell thought it fit to use Rubber bands to attach the two. He clearly voices that one of the challenges he was faced with is finding pre-made springs of the exact size he was looking for. Left with no choice but to improvise, he made valve springs with ¼ inch ratchet extension together with steel mig welding wire of 0.023 inch.
He also made sure that the spring had an outer diameter of around 0.470 inch. That is not all, here is the disclaimer. Every one of the springs has 10 loops and it is required of you to stretch each spring just long enough to ensure the valve remains closed.
All in all, any person attempting this must know that all parts of the engine will have to be 3D printed with the exception of just a few bearings and fasteners.
It’s More than a Weekend Challenge
Albeit this is something most people would love to attempt because well, it’s not every day that you get to create an engine right? It pays to keep in mind that this is not your usual weekend challenge. There is a great deal of time, effort and commitment put into the project that enabled Harrell to be successful.
Overall the Toyota 22RE 4 Cylinder Engine requires up to 80 different parts that need to be 3D printed. What’s more is apparently the engine took more than 3 days of printing time. Just to be precise, this is the expected minimum number of hours that you may need to 3D print the major parts of the engine:
- Head (20-23 hours)
- Engine Block (40 hours)
- Oil Pan (13-15 hours)
- Valve Cover (10-12 hours)
Given this information, you could always use our 3D Printing Cost Calculator App to help you calculate the real cost of making this engine, or any other 3D printing project you have lined up.
Looking on the positive side, at the end of this challenge you will feel immense satisfaction having known that you have created a working engine. And considering you already have Harrell’s files to go by, why not give yourself a ‘little’ something to work on that is going to challenge yourself – especially if you have a passion for 3D printing?
Harrell advises that one does not have to print everything all at once. He recommends a step by step process where you print the parts required in instalments then finally assemble everything to come up with your own fully rotating engine model. The end picture you are looking at here is a model that is complete with pistons, a working crank plus a valve train with the valves sequentially opening and closing.
If you’re looking for a simpler challenge to start with, why not print the parts for and assemble this little PLA Spring Powered Car, which Jason here at 3D PrintHQ made a little while ago.
Thanks for reading and feel free to Like, Share and Comment on this article.