1970 Camaro Muscle Car Gets New Computer Housing with 3D Printing

Published on April 20, 2016. Written by: Paul Motley

I feel fortunate to be able to use the latest 3D technologies–from 3D scanners, 3D modeling software, to 3D printers–on a regular basis. Their versatility inspires innovative applications. I especially love that these tools are accessible to me when I rebuild muscle cars, which is a passion of mine outside of work.

One of the projects I’ve been working on is to convert a 1970 Camaro to an LS motor, with a GM computer accessed through an OBDII programmer. The small programmer has been temporarily mounted in the car for a few years now. Since we got a new 3D printer in the lab, I decided to print a new housing for the programmer. Building a new housing with a 3D printer would be a quick and simple project.

The tattered and worn out housing for the computer and its on/off switch inside the car. I took some basic dimensions of the setup and used them to design a new mount.
I included some design concepts in addition to the correct measurement dimensions for the housing

From there, I moved on to design the housing inside SpaceClaim, a 3D CAD modeling software. SpaceClaim made it extremely easy to push, pull, and modify the entire housing into a 3D model. It took just about five minutes to build the file from scratch based on the dimensions I had written down.

A screenshot of the SpaceClaim software showing the housing and the cover designed to enclose the computer.

Now that I created the CAD file, I converted it to an STL file and sent it from SpaceClaim to Cura where the G code file can then be sent directly to the Airwolf3D Axiom 3D printer. Cura is a free software for preparing your models for 3D printing.

The Axiom 3D printer we have in our lab is easy to set up. Simply insert the SD card that has the file and press print.

In a few hours the parts were printed out.
Comparison of the old housing (left) and the new 3D printed housing (right).

From here I simply need to pull out the old housing and replace with the 3D printed parts. Later, I will give the new 3D printed housing a paint job, install it in the car, and check it off my to-do list.