Production in the automotive industry is extremely complex. Vehicles are made of thousands of different parts with different purposes. With so many parts, some will inevitably need to be replaced. And what better way to do so than with a custom, low-volume manufacturing process that you have access to at home? With 3D printing, it’s possible to produce quality replacement parts at a much faster rate and a much lower cost. It seems like a truly winning combination, doesn’t it?
Naturally, the parts we’re talking about don’t include components under significant load, pressure, or heat. Those parts are made using industrial processes, so it simply doesn’t make sense to 3D print them at home. However, it is possible to produce accurate 3D printed replacements for cup holders, clips, knobs, and other non-essential parts.
So, here’s our list of some of the best sources for 3D printed car parts! A note on the selection of sources: Printable car parts are hard to find online, so several sources containing a minute selection of such parts were omitted from the list, leaving just the big players below.
If you’re interested in printing a part for your car but are worried about the quality, consider using a 3D printing service. Not only can you depend on professional production, but you can also choose from a wider variety of materials and finishes. Check out Craftcloud, All3DP’s 3D printing price comparison service to find the right provider for your needs!
Simply put, MyMiniFactory is a website that hosts hundreds of thousands of models made for 3D printing. It enables designers to distribute their 3D models and others to use them for their own projects.
As you’d expect from one of the world’s most popular 3D model sites, there are a few 3D printable car parts to choose from. First and foremost, we’d like to mention just how easy it is to find them on the site. Thanks to organized categories, you can find a page for 3D printable car parts in a matter of seconds.
As mentioned in the introduction, it’s possible to 3D print all these models at home on a desktop FDM 3D printer. Speaking of models, there are all kinds of parts available. You’ll see a lot of cupholders and simple accessories, but there are also other functional parts which are super handy. The perfect example would be a sliding door part for the Opel Vivaro van. It’s a simple component which can be reproduced easily and be just as functional as the original.
Despite the models being free, users can always support the designer with a few dollars. This payment is optional, but it’s a nice way of saying thank you.
It’s definitely worth taking a look at MyMiniFactory and its wide inventory of 3D printables.
Model selection: Small
Ease of use: Good
Apart from offering a 3D printing service via their website, Shapeways also has its own marketplace. It’s basically a digital warehouse for 3D models from different designers. The idea is to make finished parts available for professional printing and delivery to a customer’s doorstep.
In case you go for a 3D printed car part hunt on the Shapeways marketplace, make sure to type the right keywords. There are lots of car parts available, but finding the right one requires clever searching. This means that, in order to find the part you need, you’ll have to get the keywords right – this helps a lot.
What makes Shapeways such a great place for 3D printable car parts is the fact that clients don’t need to make the parts themselves. Sure, it’s fun to tinker at home, but Shapeways will 3D print your parts using SLS, ensuring high strength and quality.
As you’d expect for this kind of service, it’s not free. The prices are really reasonable, especially if you think about the quality you’re getting with an SLS 3D printed part. Naturally, pricing depends on the models and is always listed in the model description.
If you’re lucky and find the part you need on Shapeways, we highly recommend their service.
Model selection: Average
Ease of use: Satisfactory
Almost everyone who is into 3D printing either uses or knows about Thingiverse, and that’s why, at first glance, we didn’t want to include it here. However, in our search for some lesser-known sources, we couldn’t find any with a good selection of car parts.
As you might expect, Thingiverse is packed with loosely car-themed models like key chains, but there are some real car parts, too. Despite the platform offering a large selection of parts, it’s easy enough to navigate through it all. Using precise keywords can lead you directly to the parts you need.
Models are free, but users can always tip a designer in case they really like their model and want to provide some support.
It’s always worth looking into Thingiverse since there are many models around. The chances of finding what you need are high.
Model selection: Large
Ease of use: Good
Feature image source: Ultimaker / YouTube
License: The text of "3D Printed Car Parts – 3 Best Sources" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.