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Custom Car Mods: Crazy Grandpa’s Garage

Custom Car Mods: Crazy Grandpa’s Garage

Perfecting the production of performance parts.

“Raise3D’s printers are really reliable and easy to use. I plan to expand to another 8 printers in short period to catch up to my order demands.”

“Big Bear”
Owner, Chief Designer

Crazy Grandpa’s Garage provides custom car modification services for car enthusiasts. They are a full service company providing both design and production. 
Many of Crazy Grandpa's clients are passionate car customizers with a focus on appearance and performance tuning. Most of their clientele are from within their targeted high-end sports-car market. 
To keep up with the demand, Crazy Grandpa’s Garage employs their 3D printers to produce customized patterns of: spoilers, side skirts, bumpers, and more.

Crazy Grandpa Garage team applying the carbon fiber sheet to the car spoiler mold.

The Crazy Grandpa Garage team applying the carbon fiber sheet to the car spoiler mold.

For a high-end market of customers looking for uniquely customized parts, Crazy Grandpa’s Garage designs and fabricates specialized pieces. Prior to 3D printing, this was an involved process involving a highly skilled team to laboriously hand-make a parts based on rough measurements.  This method requires a prototyping process for each part which drastically increases costs and time.

By applying 3D printing, Crazy Grandpa's Garage was able to:

  1. Eliminate the prototyping step and go directly to casting with printed molds
  2. Automate the mold-making processes with printers; greatly reducing employee labor
  3. Ensure quality and reliability with computer accurate parts.

Overall, the addition of 3D printers resulted in:

  1. 50% reduction in production costs
  2. Significant increase in part reliability
  3. 83% Reduction in turnaround time

Company: Crazy Grandpa Garage
Industry: Car Modifications
Interviewee: “Big Bear”
Title: Owner, Chief Designer

Process: 
Owner and Chief Designer, known within his company as Big Bear, begins any customized car part by scanning and/or measuring the car and collecting the necessary specifications for the vehicle.  Utilizing CAD software, he electronically creates the design and mold with regards to the specific car’s geometry to ensure a perfect fit.

Garage and office featuring Raise3D N2 (upper right glass office)

Garage and office featuring Raise3D N2 (upper right glass office)

N2 (top) and N2 Plus(bottom) printers producing molds.N2 (top) and N2 Plus(bottom) printers producing molds.

N2 (top) and N2 Plus(bottom) printers producing molds.

Many parts that are requested are for external use on the vehicle.  Items, like a 6ft spoiler, are too large to complete on a single printer.  Using ideaMaker, Big Bear is able to split his model into 7-8 interlocking pieces and delegate the print jobs to his fleet of N2 and N2 Plus printers. By delegating the work to multiple printers and printing simultaneously, the turnaround time for each product is greatly reduced.

Printed Mold Parts

Printed mold pieces.

Assembled mold pieces lined with epoxy resin.

Assembled mold pieces lined with epoxy resin. 

Once all the individual parts have been printed, they are prepped for casting by assembling the mold pieces and processing with putty to create a smooth and finished surface. The molds are printed with male and female slots which will lock the mold halves into place and eliminate any slipping during the casting process. Parts are then casted with layers of resin and carbon fiber. These resin and carbon fiber parts provide superior strength in conjunction with lightweight properties.

Completed spoiler mold wrapped with casted resin and carbon-fiber material.

Completed spoiler mold wrapped with casted resin and carbon-fiber material.

Challenges:
Before 3D printing, Big Bear required staff with specialized skill in parts and fabrication. Each part was uniquely handmade and required involved communication processes and a much longer production time.

Because the models were not created digitally, the geometry of the vehicle could only be estimated and requires a prototype model. With the specifications and measurements from Big Bear, the team will manually work and shape the necessary parts. These prototypes are made with more inexpensive materials and are either carved in wood or molded in fiberglass. The prototype is tested and modified until it matches the intended design. Once finalized, this prototype is processed and prepared for casting.  They will create a mold around the part, then cast the carbon fiber model within the resulting mold.

Creating parts in this way requires a high volume of highly skilled workers.  Because the design, fit and performance of a part is restricted to human labor skills, many complicated designs could not be achieved. Additionally, the value of each employee greatly affects production. Losing a highly skilled worker in the office significantly drops the capacity of the garage.

Solution:
The Raise3D Printers coupled with the ideaMaker software bring automation and a complete solution to the Crazy Grandpa Garage team. 3D design has allowed the team to design parts without the restrictions. These 3D parts, parts are exact and are no longer affected by the variation of hand-making.  Additionally, the labor time is reduced by automating the work with printers.

With the volume of the Raise3D printers, Crazy Grandpa’s Garage is able to produce much larger parts than they would with other commonly available desktop printers. The printing reliability, large build size, ideaMaker features, and touchscreen operation boosts efficiency while minimizing operation labor.

Overall, the cost of production has been reduced by 50% and the reliability of the design and resulting fit has been improved significantly.

By expanding their printing matrix to 12 printers, the team will shorten their production time from the original hand-produced 30 days to just 5 days.

Completed product and company logo.

Completed product and company logo.

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