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The Role of 3D Scanning in Car Restoration

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3D scanning has revolutionised the way hobbyists and workshops alike approach the restoration and customisation of classic cars. Scanning facilitates the creation of precise digital models of car parts, which can then be modified and improved upon in CAD. Where original parts are no longer available or are beyond repair, 3D printing offers a way to re-manufacture brand new parts just like the originals – though this isn’t just limited to 3D printing!

1981 Ford Fiesta XR2

One example of a car part that was successfully restored using 3D scanning and printing on a classic car is the dashboard of a 1981 Fiesta XR2. The original dashboard had become brittle and cracked over the years, and finding a good replacement in an acceptable condition proved to be near impossible.

To restore the dashboard, the car owner turned to 3D scanning. They captured a detailed digital model of the original dashboard and used CAD software to repair and strengthen the design. After a replacement was 3D printed, the end result was a dashboard that looked and felt just like the original, but was stronger more durable.

1970 Aston Martin DBS

Another example of a part that was restored using 3D scanning and printing was a set of custom engine brackets for a 1970 Aston Martin DBS. The original brackets had aged beyond repair, and there were no replacement parts available. The owner turned to 3D scanning and printing to create a new set of brackets that would fit their custom engine setup.

Using a 3D scanner, they captured a digital replica of the original brackets which could be used as a starting point for their new and improved design. Again, in CAD, they made the necessary modifications to the design and metal 3D printed a set of custom brackets using DMLS that were a perfect fit for their engine.

3D Scanning: Irreplaceable Tech

It’s easy to see the value 3D scanning played in both these examples. 3D scanning played a crucial role in the restoration of these car parts that otherwise would have been lost to time. 3D scanning and printing not only allow us to create new parts that are indistinguishable from the original parts, but also give us the ability to improve upon the original design to create stronger, more durable parts. Rising EV usage and sales, the restoration of classic cars will likely become an increasingly important part of the automotive industry in the years to come and 3D scanning will be there every step of the way.

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