Scope of the Project: IAV and Achates Power required a scale model of their new engine to be used at tradeshows as a display piece. 3D printing was chosen by CIDEAS so that the model could be scaled to a size and weight that would be manageable for booth workers. It was also imperative for the final engine to look as real as possible.
CIDEAS utilizes FDM, SLA and CLIP to Create Accurate and Detailed 100% 3D Printed Show Engine
Engineering and CAD: Because the Engine is a prototype design, which is not currently in production, the CAD work was somewhat incomplete. This resulted in a tremendous amount of CAD repairs by CIDEAS in-house engineering team, in order to eliminate interference and produce buildable components. This was done “on the fly” during the entire production process. 3D Printing and Finishing: CIDEAS decided that the majority of the model should be produced in ABS M100 plastic utilizing the FDM process. Although more difficult to finish, this enabled our team to build thick walled large parts in a sparse honeycombed mode, which in turn used much less material (without compromising the surface finish or strength). The other advantage in using a thermoplastic for the bulk of these models, is durability. It’s not uncommon for these trade show display models to be exposed to excess; summer heat, shipping and extended storage periods. For assembly, real bolts and hardware were used in order to maintain the realism as well as durability.
Fine featured components that required more detail were produced in SLA and CLIP, these higher resolution processes capture important features such as: part labels, ribs, textured components and lettering. These two processes are typically high enough in detail to minimize finishing time. In the case of the Fuel injectors, we were able to build them in CLIP and merely dust them in clear coat before installation. Conclusion: The overall project included a diamond plate stand and a shipping crate. From beginning to end in less than 6 weeks, this impressive engine was completed within the quoted time and within budget.