The Body-General Comments
I have owned this car for some time. I spent many years finding data and materials to restore the car. I was able to work on the engine, but not the body. Not having the resources of GM I had to wait until technology could catch up. About 10 years ago I began using a program call SolidWorks to do design on some of the world’s largest telescopes. This is a program where you do 3d modeling of parts. Using this program I was able to model part of the car, where needed, and use the photographs from GM to design the damaged or missing parts. What I did was to design the part as a solid model; I then gave the model file to a company called Solid Concepts www.solidconcepts.com. They take my soild design model and made me a solid part using 3d printing or rapid proto typing.
Hood grill Side emblum Hood letters Trunk grills SolidWorks drawing
To make the part we decided to use bronze for the castings. Since there is shrinkage in this process, I added a scale factor to the 3d printed model to allow for this. The printed parts were in a plastic call SLA and this was used to make the casting molds. A local casting firm called Beyond Bronze did the casting using the lost wax process. This produced a very high quality casting.
Plastic form and final casting Letters by 3D printing in metal
We had to do some machining to reduce the weight on some pieces then they were chrome plated. In the past few years a new process of 3d Printing is being used where the parts are printed in metal. This becomes a two step process, design the part and metal print it, no castings. I needed this process to make the X400 letters. They had sharp edges which could not be done using any machining process unless you did a lot of hand work. I could not determine how they were made. I had some missing letters and some damaged so replacements were needed. A company called: 3DProParts, www.3DProPart.com ,does the 3d printing process in metal. They can make metal parts in copper, stainless, zinc and several other metals. I chose zinc. Samples were made and we had them chrome plated, they were excellent, so all the letters including the ones for the hood, SUPERCHARGED, were done. It would have been nice to do all the rest of the missing grills in the process, but it is too expensive for large items and at the time the machine could not do long parts. This is a fairly new process and still changing. The parts made in this method are strong enough to be used right off the machine. The 3D printing process is very accurate; I was able to design in the tap size holes and tap them for the mounting thread size.