3D Printing and Fitting the Bodywork to the OpenRC F1 Car

by Jason King on January 30, 2016

Open RC F1 FrontLast time I wrote about my progress with this OpenRC Formula 1 car project I’d just Completed the Rolling Chassis.

Although I’d already 3D printed a little of the bodywork too I’ll explain this part here, along with any issues I had and how I resolved them.

By the very nature of this project it is quite visual, especially as 3D printing stage is nearing completion, so I’ll include a few more photos in this post. A picture speaks a thousand words as they say and with 3D printing this is particularly true.

How I 3D Printed the F1 Car Bodywork

I’d had quite a lot of success using rafts for most of the chassis parts, so I decided to use them for most of the bodywork too.

There’s seven main parts to the bodywork, including the rear wing, which I’d already made and attached to the chassis in the last blog post and excluding the small mirrors and camera, which I’d already 3D printed in black Floreon PLA.

Open RC F1 SideAs well as rafts some supports were also required (as correctly documented by Daniel Noree) for the front spoiler, front nose cone and rear wing.

Other parts of the car that need supports were the lower part of the servo saver and the rear rims, but I’d already made these long ago without any problems.

After my recent delivery of colorFabb PLA plastic in various colors I chose to use sky blue and white for the bodywork, but there’s nothing stopping me from reprinting any of these in different colors if I change my mind later.

3D printing each of the bodywork parts (all at 0.2mm layer height and 10% infill) took between about 1 and 4 hours to complete, so this took a few evenings of continuous printing.

It all went quite smoothly to be honest and I didn’t have to reprint any parts for any reason. With rafts, supports where required and my trusty MakerBot Replicator 2 it was just a matter of slicing, loading and hitting print, ensuring the build plate was level and I had the correct color filament loaded of course.

How All the Parts Fit Together

Bolting the parts together was tricky in places. As I mentioned in the last post it was an effort getting the M3 nuts into the little slots but I somehow managed it without breaking anything.

Open RC F1 Chassis BodyPatience might be required here though as I found that even the tiniest piece of plastic in the holes which shouldn’t be there could mean the nut either didn’t fit in at all or didn’t go in all the way and align with the associated screw hole.

Once all of the nuts were in place the holes lined up really well, so it wasn’t much effort to bolt it all together.

Some holes were a little tricky to get to, like the one in the front nose cone, but I think my alen (hex) key was to blame as it was a bit too short. Something else to look out for is that the bolts only just reached the nuts in places. An 8mm bolt only just reached but a 10mm bolt was too long.

Applying a little pressure and trimming where necessary soon solved this though and prevented me from having to buy 9mm bolts, which I’m not even sure exist.

Open RC F1 TopIn all it fitted together really well and looks pretty awesome when it’s all bolted together and clipped onto the rolling chassis. There are six places where the bodywork bolts to the chassis but I haven’t bolted it all down yet.

The clips hold it together nicely for my purposes (until I fit the electrics) and I can see that the holes line up well so I don’t anticipate any problems bolting the body to the chassis.

The side mirrors and camera required a little trimming with a modelling knife before they slotted into place but they now fit quite snugly and look great.

One thing to mention is that if you downloaded the STLs before 24th January 2016 you might be missing a small part. Daniel had forgotten to upload a tiny lock pin, which helps hold the centre lid in place. I hadn’t noticed that this was even needed until he mentioned it to me, but it only takes a few minutes to 3D print and does help, so make sure you download an use it.

Incidentally when I tried to fit it, it was a little tight so rather than trim it I scaled the X and Y dimensions down from 8x8mm to 7.7×7.7mm and it fitted perfectly.

What’s Next for this OpenRC F1 Project

I love the way this little car fits together and it looks great. I’ve spent a lot of time 3D printing and building this so far and am impressed with the results.

Open RC F1 RearI’m still working on the rear axle, trying to make it fit tighter into the rear wheels, but I’ve literally just 3D printed it again without a raft, in colorFabb PLA and with no apparent warping. When I’m done writing this I’ll try it again.

Some simple decals would be good, so I’ll have a look online for some of those, just to add a little more detail to the bodywork.

Then we’re onto buying and fitting the electrics, testing, tweaking and filming it in action. Lots still to do and lots still to report, so keep an eye out for these new developments as they happen.

If you’d like to follow my progress with this F1 car then my OpenRC F1 Web Page is where I post all updates, but if you’d like to discuss the project then my 3D Printing Facebook Group is a great place to do this.

Thanks for reading.

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