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I am interested in 3d printing from aluminum valve cover for car SAAB valve cover

I am thinking of creating 3d scan and the placing order with i.materialize or similar online services.

I am curios if this is feasible at all, since I am interested in 3d printing functional part not just a souvenir. Also since 3d part does not have smooth surface, will sand blasting help without affecting dimensions?

Also what would be an approximate cost of 3d scanning and printing?

I really do not know where to start and would appreciate any directions.

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    $\begingroup$ I suspect getting this 3d "printed" will be more expensive than buying it OEM and will not be as strong $\endgroup$ – Perplexed Dipole Oct 16 '18 at 14:19
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to 3D Printing! I agree with @PerplexedDipole here and with answer below ... this is not a cheap process. 3D printing is used for "one off" and validation, not for production printing. If you had something special you wanted done (ie: and atypical design) this might be a way to go. But really, you could have a new one cast and finished from an old one cheaper than you could have one 3D printed. Personally, I'd go buy a TIG welder and some aluminum sheet metal and make my own before I'd pay someone to do as you're suggesting. I'm not dogging you here, it's just an observation. $\endgroup$ – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Oct 16 '18 at 15:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 there is robot-arm-welding, which can be a form of additive manufacturing, but the robots for that are in the 5 to 6 digit area. and the produced part needs to be postprocessed a lot. AFAIK it can't print in place. And the valve cover consists of more than one part assembled. $\endgroup$ – Trish Oct 16 '18 at 16:11
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    $\begingroup$ Printing in Aluminium is not very easy (like welding Aluminium is not easy as well) my company is looking into aeronautical applications. The powders are expensive and the end product it porous. $\endgroup$ – 0scar Oct 16 '18 at 18:31
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    $\begingroup$ No, metal printing is very difficult because of the large temperature differences, I've seen printed products warp 20 mm steel plates (this is where the product is build upon). Orientation and support material is very important, more than it is for polymers. $\endgroup$ – 0scar Oct 16 '18 at 18:43
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This is a very large part. My estimate for the cost would be a few thousand to get this printed in metal, if not tens of thousands (assuming it even fits the maximum build volume of the printer, which is only 440mm on its longest axis).

3D scanning also isn't a very reliable way to reproduce parts, especially for something mechanical that needs to be precise. You can not just scan something and then print it like making a photocopy. A lot of manual design and reverse engineering work would be involved.

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  • $\begingroup$ atop that... I don't even know of any aluminium printer. I know they use steel... $\endgroup$ – Trish Oct 16 '18 at 16:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Trish stratasysdirect.com/materials/direct-metal-laser-sintering $\endgroup$ – tjb1 Oct 16 '18 at 18:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Trish At work we print Aluminium, but it is pretty difficult. Scalmalloy is one of the few powders that can be used too print in Aluminium. We also print superalloys, which are very heat resistant materials typically found in the hot path of jet engines. $\endgroup$ – 0scar Oct 16 '18 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Trish - I'm aware of stainless steel & titanium, which Koenigsegg talks about in this video Not the "typical" 3D printing method, but still additive manufacturing. The end print looks pretty magnificent if you look at the quality and what it actually does. $\endgroup$ – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Oct 16 '18 at 18:58

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