3D Scanners

Repair and customization of the famous Ford GT40 possible thanks to 3D scanners

artec ford GT40

The Ford GT40 is a sports car of which only 126 examples were made in the 1960s and whose story is well known to car enthusiasts and laypeople alike: the rivalry between Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari has inspired more than one film. In any case, the focus is still on the vehicle today: in the USA, Chris Ashton, a classic car enthusiast, modified and individualized his Ford GT40 using 3D technology – thanks in part to the 3D scanners Artec Space Spider and Artec Eva. The collector was able to reproduce complex shapes quickly and as realistically as possible.

3D scanners are often used to digitize objects and parts from the past so that a digital copy can be created. This can then be modified, adjusted and then 3D printed to create a physical model. This is particularly interesting in the automotive sector for the design of spare parts: Most spare parts for vintage cars are no longer produced, which makes maintenance and repair work more difficult and significantly increases costs. However, thanks to a 3D scanner, the user can easily digitize their original part and recreate a model first digitally and then physically thanks to additive manufacturing.

Photo credit: Ford

Artec solutions for customization of the Ford GT40

The American Chris Ashton was able to continue his passion for cars in his job: Ruffian Cars is a company in California that builds and modifies sports cars. For a number of years, it has been using additive manufacturing to reproduce parts, requiring many iterations to create a model that is as faithful as possible to the original. Therefore, the decision was made to invest in the Artec Space Spider and Artec Eva Scanner, primarily to reproduce the car’s flares.

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Chris Ashton explains: “In the past, I would have had to model the fenders out of foam or clay directly on the car and take the whole car to a shop to have the molds made (or do it myself, but it’s complicated and uses a lot of chemicals ). And I would have to do it in two passes because it’s impossible to create a symmetrical version in one part. The main advantage with the 3D scanners is that the fender flares are built digitally on a true-to-scale scan of the real car. This allowed us to make sure they were the right size and that the left and right sides were perfectly symmetrical.”

The interior angles and curves of the headlight housing were 3D scanned (Image credit: Artec 3D)

Chris says the Artec Eva scanner was used to scan the entire vehicle, while the Space Spider was used to scan smaller parts and zoom in on features. This scanner is ideal for applications that require fine detail and accuracy – ideal for capturing the reality of small objects. The company can then retrieve all of the vehicle’s data via 3D software and see how the parts fit together in real time. Chris continues, “Because the scans come into the computer full size, I can model my new parts around them and print them regardless of scale. It’s a huge improvement over what I was doing before: measuring by hand and building my parts from that, hoping they’re right.” This makes the 3D printing process easier and more accurate.

The assembled headlight model (Image credit: Artec 3D)

Chris Ashton’s work doesn’t stop at the reproduction of the Ford GT40’s flares: the customization work extends to the seat belt buckles, but also to the fenders and side skirts. In November, he will present his Ford GT40 at SEMA 2021, a trade show where car manufacturers can exhibit their products. More information about Artec 3D scanners can be found HERE.

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What do you think about the use of 3D technologies in the repair of classic cars? Please leave us a comment or let us know what you think on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN or Xing. Would you also like to receive a summary of the most important news in 3D printing and additive manufacturing directly and conveniently in your mailbox? Then register now for our weekly newsletter.

*Cover photo credit: Artec 3D

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