Deck Chair Repair (using a 3D printer)

One of the folding chairs (aka thinking stools) I have in the garage broke recently, rather than chuck in the bin I thought it would be good practice to 3D model replacement parts and then make using a 3D printer. By good practice, I mean testing my Fusion360 skill are ‘good enough’ to the point where it would be more cost effective to model/print versus simply buying a new chair, depends on how much you value your own time I guess.

One of the corner brace/brackets snapped off
The original bracket was held in place using rivets
The design went through a few iterations, was happy to have gotten majority of the design right in v1
Model I created of the bracket in Fusion360 (bracket is upside down in screenshot)
Top piece which inserts into main bracket, you can see the M8 thread modelled internally.
Ready for functional testing
Used bolts in place of rivets, probably should of also used nylock nuts
Had to open up the holes left from the rivets in order to get the bolts to fit
The mushroom sleeve plastic thing has a bolt that screws in underneath which grips the chairs material, this was printed with an M8 x 1.5mm thread modelled by Fusion360, the M8 bolt screwed into the printed thread just fine.
The finished piece, probably should have printed this in Carbon Fibre reinforced Nylon as its a structural part taking the full weight of a person. Will be interesting to see how long it holds currently as PETG.

In the end it probably was about half an hours modelling time, and a few hours print time for a total of 3 iterations, it was worth it in the end just as a fun experiment, turns out I can model pretty quick when I have to.

3D Printing

3D printing automotive connectors – Part 1

Spread out over the past few months I have been gradually reverse engineering the entire wiring diagram for my Mk1 Escort. This is for when I recreate some of loom to update and surpass Ford’s original specification in order to be more accommodating for my MS3 ECU and larger loads placed upon the cars electrics. In addition to having a more reliable and updated car, I personally benefit from the knowledge gained by having a good understanding of the attitude Ford engineers of the 70’s/80’s had with designed cars. My research has also led me to writing more of my own more in documentation which provides much greater detail than some of the existing diagrams and service manuals currently available.

Recently I have found myself modelling a few connectors I will need for upcoming project work on my Mk1. I believe most of the connectors are proprietary and were produced specifically by Ford, resulting in the connectors being decades out of production and cannot be sourced online easily (or cheaply).

This 12 pin round male connector connects the main 2/6 pod cluster gauges to the main loom inside the dash. Using a set of digital vernier callipers I measured and poked all over the original connectors to document the measurements as best I could. I then fired up Autodesk Fusion 360 for the first time and began modelling after watching a few YouTube videos showing basic parametric modelling techniques.
Being my first ever 3D CAD model and also my first time using Fusion 360, I was very pleased with the final model outcome.
Mk1 Escort connector render

It was 3D printed using white PLA plastic with 100% fill rate on a Ultimaker 2 3D printer. I understand PLA is not ideal material for automotive applications, so I will most likely reprint in ABS plastic when it comes to using the final part.

This was also one of my early 3D prints, and was my first time printing something I had directly modelled myself. The white part to the left is my 3D printed copy and the clear part on the right is the original.
Mk1 Escort dash connectors

The pins fit nice and snug on the copy as they do on the original piece.
Mk1 Escort dash connectors

My latest model is the 8 pin connector which pokes through the firewall for the main engine loom. I will probably have a go at printing this in flexible PLA filament, however I really do not think the material will be up to scratch coping with the harsh environment exposed in the engine bay (high temp, oil, moisture, extreme vibrations etc). So this model will most likely serve as a mould of some kind in order to allow use of a more suitable material (yet TBD).
Mk1 Escort engine loom connector render

I’ll keep posting updates as I continue to model and print new parts and pieces for my Mk1 Escort.