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Learn How to 3D Print a Gorgeous Wood-Finished Knob for Your Gear Shift

by • August 6, 2016 • No Comments


Not mine.

A lot of individuals love to accessorize and personalize their cars. Whether it’s a vanity license plate, bumper stickers, a fuzzy neon steering wheel cover, a smiley face stuck on top of the antenna, or a few Mardi Gras beads hanging of the rearview mirror, there are a lot of methods – both tacky and classy – for dressing up your vehicle a bit. (In all honesty, many of them tend towards the tacky, and I’m not excepting myself. I have bright green Mardi Gras beads hanging of my rearview mirror, but at quite least I put away the fuzzy dice a while ago.)

With a few ability and creativity, yet, there are ways to manufacture your car one-of-a-kind in a not just classy but auand sotic-appearing manner. Russell Singer, create director at MAKEiT, Inc., has a lot of ability and creativity, and he’s caning to share it. Founded in Pasadena, California in 2014, MAKEiT specializes in industrial computer desktop 3D printing devices; Singer, who holds degrees in industrial and systems create, joined the company after working as a research man at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Recently, he began a blog called The First Layer as part of the MAKEiT website, where he dedicates time and space to offering 3D printing tips and projects.

Project Number One: a lovely Mini Cooper enhancement in the form of a 3D printed, wood-finished shift knob for his car’s guide gear shift. It is a somehow specific project, but I suspect that with a few ability in 3D create and/or scanning, it can be modified
for any stick shift-bearing car.


“Because the shift knob is a regular point of tactile interaction it was significant to complete not just a high high end finish that may appear as wood, but in addition a effortless form with enjoyable tactile feedback and functional usability,” he says. “Aside of preferences on shift knob mass and profile, the just real functional consideration is getting a snug secure fit on the shifter shaft. After one take on with a easier friction-fit create, I discovered the hot daytime temperatures in Southern California may cause adequate dimensions distortion to loosen the knob in fact yet it can be quite stuck in place in cooler temperatures. I revised the create to work with set screws and a few hex nuts that are enclosed into the print.”

cutawayView-1Encapsulating the hex nuts into the print involved a bit of deft maneuvering that involved stopping the print job, rapidly inserting the hardware, and resuming the print. Singer decided to do this by hand, alyet he states that sure slicing software plugins, such as PauseAtZ or TweakAtZ in Cura, can program the pause in for you.

Three cap screws were threaded into place after the part finished printing, and and so it was time for the fun part – manufacturing the knob appear somehow. Singer played around with a few various materials preceding settling on a wood filament of Hatchbox. For an auand sotic wooden appear, he switched his printing device nozzle to a 0.6mm diameter so that the final print came out rocky and unin fact-appearing. For an introduced touch, he set up the print in Simplify3D so that the print resolution changed several times mid-print, of 0.35mm to 0.075mm, outcomeing in a really great, effortless appear.

For the finishing system, Singer recommends any water-based wood stain, applied in three coats with a round of sanding between every one. Several coats of shellac created his stained part glossy and well-sealed, at that point he introduced wood filler to manufacture the engraved letters and numbers on the shift head stand out. He and so sanded the part one additional time and blasted it with a swift finishing coat of enamel spray.

WP_20160521_12_57_07_Pro-2-1-1600x1188“The final outcome is a truly one-of-a-kind shift knob that is as really great to use as it is to appear at,” he says. “With three set screws tightened on the shifter shaft it’s as secure as the factory shift knob, and to date this customized part never fails to get compliments and surprised reactions when passengers learn that yes, it was in fact 3D printed.”

Want to try it? Check out the full instructions for printing on Singer’s blog here, followed by step-by-step instructions for getting that really great wood finish. Are you a 3D Printing and/or Mini fan? Discuss this project over in the 3D Printed Mini Gear Shifter forum at 3DPB.com.