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    Question Printing an intake manifold?

    Anyone have experience in a suitable material and printer capable of printing an intake manifold.

    I'm building an engine for my race car, and cannot find an off-the-shelf intake/throttle body setup that will clear the chassis of my race car.

    Thinking of scanning the head flange on a CMM, and designing an intake manifold from scratch.
    My original thought was to have it CNC'd from aluminum, but then started wondering if it could be 3D printed directly.

    Looking for input on material selection, as well as printers with sufficient resolution to do it properly.

    Thanks,
    David

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    I believe Hot Rod magazine tested one several years ago but I could be mistaken.

    From personal experience, it can work for awhile. The FSAE team I was on printed Ultem intakes for 2 years. Lots of fatigue issues from pressure pulses and not to mention what happens if/when it backfires. I would say a printed intake would make a good prototype.

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    I was on the U of M FSAE team when we ran a 3d printed intake. we had 5-7 designs. They would last 10-15 hours before cracking. Great for testing, doesn't last. The abs ones disintegrated instantly, ultem was much better. The later carbon fiber/aluminum hybrids were trouble free.

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    Quote Originally Posted by homanfab View Post
    I believe Hot Rod magazine tested one several years ago but I could be mistaken.

    From personal experience, it can work for awhile. The FSAE team I was on printed Ultem intakes for 2 years. Lots of fatigue issues from pressure pulses and not to mention what happens if/when it backfires. I would say a printed intake would make a good prototype.
    What backfires?


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    Heck you can have an exhaust manifold printed these days, powdered metal and
    either laser or electron beam sintering.

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    This may be of interest, I am working on a 12 valve head/cylinder for a BSA triple. It would be impossible to CNC because being air cooled the fins span from front to rear leaving voids that cannot be reached. A sectioned mold would have to be made cutting between each fin gap then the layers stacked to make the complete part. There are now wax filaments available for 3D printing. You can print the part then have an investment casting company use it to cast the part. One nice part is the drawing can be to scale and the print scaled by the shrinkage.
    Attached is the ports and chamber for one cylinder that will be put on the flow bench.
    The guides were printed separately so the ports are clean and do not have support material inside.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 4valveports.jpg   4valver3head.jpg  

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    You can also 3d print the molding sand it self now....to then cast an intake.

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    OK.......so who does it and how much does it cost?

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    It would be very interesting to find out how much it would cost to do a one off print in aluminum. Anecdotally it seems to be a non trivial process to figure out the process to get a particular metal part to print well and you may have to do some finish machining so I wouldn't be surprised if it ran to the low thousands. I might be completely wrong though so it would be fascinating to find out the cost of straight metal printing and the cost of printing a sand or lost wax mould for that matter.

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    If you just need to figure out flange dimensions I've set an intake manifold on a regular printer/scanner and traced out a DXF from that. I scanned a ruler right next to it to double check scale in x and y (It was dead on to start with) and I think it took two scans on the 11x17 bed to cover the whole thing. There was enough overlap that I didn't need to make any alignment marks.

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    Not sure the motor but isn't design itself of the intake manifold on most high output motors a bit complicated?
    Tract tuned length and equalization, reverse pulsation waves, that sort of stuff?
    I don't think it's a constant flow system like a water pipe feeding a sprinkler on the front yard.
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by rcoope View Post
    It would be very interesting to find out how much it would cost to do a one off print in aluminum. Anecdotally it seems to be a non trivial process to figure out the process to get a particular metal part to print well and you may have to do some finish machining so I wouldn't be surprised if it ran to the low thousands. I might be completely wrong though so it would be fascinating to find out the cost of straight metal printing and the cost of printing a sand or lost wax mould for that matter.
    This shit is pie in the sky for the common man. Yes, the tech exists, but it's a long way from being bullet proof, available or affordable. Perhaps this may happen in my son's lifetime, but certainly not mine.

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    try this crowd see what materials they can do i.e. sand mould or finished part

    3D Printers, 3D Scanning, Software, Manufacturing and Healthcare Services | 3D Systems

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve-l View Post
    This shit is pie in the sky for the common man. Yes, the tech exists, but it's a long way from being bullet proof, available or affordable. Perhaps this may happen in my son's lifetime, but certainly not mine.
    It's the actual matter of "affordable" that's the key question. It might be worth a few hundred bucks for a serious hobby project, but maybe not a few thousand!

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    As an example, this clutch housing that I am machining from a 12" round by 3.5" thick bar stock will cost about $220 to investment cast. The wax filament runs $50/kg. Printing takes time but if you have your own printer, the cost is the electricity.
    The wax can be polished before investment so the print does not have to be perfect detail.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails clutch_housing.jpg  

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    email these guys, they have both prototype and production level 3D printing capabilities with incredible material properties to choose from.

    [email protected]

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    Quote Originally Posted by rcoope View Post
    It's the actual matter of "affordable" that's the key question. It might be worth a few hundred bucks for a serious hobby project, but maybe not a few thousand!
    Well, I was estimating around $2,000 to CNC it from billet aluminum, however, I eventually found a race shop that has done several manifolds for this particular head, and has the files for the head and ITB flanges.
    They gave me a quick estimate of $600-$800 to fab the complete manifold, which is very reasonable for this sort of custom work. They also have been around for decades and have an excellent reputation,

    Thanks for the input guys.

    David

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    Not sure the motor but isn't design itself of the intake manifold on most high output motors a bit complicated?
    Tract tuned length and equalization, reverse pulsation waves, that sort of stuff?
    I don't think it's a constant flow system like a water pipe feeding a sprinkler on the front yard.
    Bob
    Simply put yes... we used RICARDO Wave to do the unsteady gas dynamics analysis. More or less the main factors are plenum volume and runner length. Shorter runners (generally) shift the power up in the rpm range and long runners shift it down. Now the intake, cam and exhaust all should work together in an optimized setup, this is where simulation is helpful. I always chuckle when aftermarket companies post 1D gas dynamic simulation pictures of their custom intakes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kustomizingkid View Post
    Simply put yes... we used RICARDO Wave to do the unsteady gas dynamics analysis. More or less the main factors are plenum volume and runner length. Shorter runners (generally) shift the power up in the rpm range and long runners shift it down. Now the intake, cam and exhaust all should work together in an optimized setup, this is where simulation is helpful. I always chuckle when aftermarket companies post 1D gas dynamic simulation pictures of their custom intakes.
    This is an individual runner setup, so no plenum. The main design factors are overall intake tract length and cross-section, and achieving a smooth taper and transitions from the throttle bodies to the ports.

    Esslinger Engineering will be designing and building the intake, based on my model to establish the physical location of everything based on available space.
    They've been doing this sort of work for decades, and have an impressive reputation in the racing community, so I'm confident I'll get a quality product.

    Thanks for all the input guys,

    David

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    An Aluminum intake for 6-800 is very reasonable. I have wondered how a Delrin intake manifold would hold up. I use to make a bunch of throttle body adapters for Turbo City back in the day from Delrin. I even made one for my ol' Dodge and it worked well. It sounds like fun just thinking about it! Have fun and tell us how it works.


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