RI found out Ckucky just got a little 3D printer, and I had the perfect small project for it. Every FX I’ve owned has a problem with the headlight aiming. What it is is there is a ball and socket joint at one corner where the plastic socket piece cracks. Junkyard doesn’t do much good as chances are more than good that they are all cracked, if you can even find it. Haven’t tried Toyota parts, body parts this old generally aren’t available anymore. I’ve just used zip ties till now, it kind of works.

With 3D printer technology now making it into the affordable hobbiest tinker range, this would be a great test. It’s plastic, small, and too complex to make with hand tools easily, but simple enough to draw. I discovered a web based program at tinkercad.com that is pretty easy to use. It’s like digital building blocks, grab a shape, stick it together with other shapes, and create objects. When done it generates a file that you feed to the printer, and boom, you get a solid object rendition. It’s not quite Star Trek replicator, but when you think about it, it’s pretty amazing and would have been the realm of scifi only decades ago. So after a few hours with tinkercad, I created the piece to try and replicate, and Ckucky printed it overnight, in hot pink! My measurements are off and it needs tweaking to fit, but that’s the beauty of this, just need to adjust the drawing and reprint!

The other great thing with this is that it’s perfect for the niche community and the Internet age. Once I get it right, I can share the file. It’s a piece that anyone else with a Corolla of that vintage needs, but that is such a small field that creating a mold and casting the piece would be too costly in time and materials to be practical. With this, anyone can take the file, print it themselves, or send it to a service.

The other project I want to address is the FR-S/BRZ sunvisor mount base. After barely three years, mine cracked. It’s a common problem. I ended up ordering one from Toyota, but the little plastic piece is not available as a part, you need to buy the entire visor. This piece might be a bit harder to reproduce, it’s not all right angles like the headlight socket. We shall see!

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