Automotive Additive Manufacturing

Mercedes 3D printed spare parts breathe new life into classic models

Obsolescence management with AM is well underway, with several perks

The inside mirror base for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupé (W 198 model series), the spark plug holder from the tool kit of this iconic sports car as well as the sliding sunroof rollers for the W 110, W 111, W 112 and W 123 model series: these are important replacement parts for faithfully maintaining this classic of the brand with the star. They are once again available in genuine quality. Mercedes-Benz Classic has them newly produced in a 3D print. The process is particularly well-suited to smaller quantities and if the genuine tools are no longer available, for example. Mercedes 3D printed spare parts allow gaps in the replacement part supply of classic vehicles to be closed.

mercedes 3D printed spare parts
Saloon of the Mercedes-Benz W 123 model series with sliding sunroof.

The printed inside mirror base of the 300 SL Coupé (198 model series, replacement part number A40 198 811 00 25) can now be obtained from a service partner via the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center. Like the original, it is made from an aluminium alloy and subsequently receives high-quality surface chrome-plating. The new production part also includes a functional change: compared to the earlier original, the base is 42.5 millimeters longer and now measures 107.5 millimeters. This means the inside mirror sits a little higher and, in terms of road safety, offers an optimized view to the rear.

Mercedes 3D printed spare parts
Inside mirror base of the Mercedes-Benz 198 model series (coupé and roadster). A functional change.

The spark plug holder (replacement part number A198 580 00 65) was part of the standard tool kit of the 300 SL Coupé and Roadster, yet is suitable for several spark plugs with a spanner gap of 21 millimeters. The spark plug holder is also now available from the service partner via the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center. Particularly on a hot crankcase, it serves to position the spark plug before it is tightened with a spark plug wrench and the right torque. Made from robust thermoplastic polyamide 12 (nylon 12), it includes a modification made possible by 3D printing: instead of using a female connector, the spark plug is now securely held in place by a magnet. This means the holder can now be universally used for all spark plug types with and without SAE terminal nuts.

Mercedes 3D printed spare parts
Spark plug holder from the tool kit of the Mercedes-Benz 198 model series (coupé and roadster), also suitable for other model series.

The sliding sunroof rollers for the W 110, W 111, W 112 and W 123 model series (replacement part number A110 782 00 30) are an example of a component part with a concealed attachment, which ensures flawless function: the rollers are on the left and right of the sliding sunroof and are guided by metal rails. With the new production from the 3D printer, the sliding sunroof of the classic now slides like it did on the very first day. It is also made from robust polyamide 12 (PA12) and, from the end of 2018, can be obtained from every service partner via the central warehouse in Germersheim.

Mercedes 3D printed spare parts
Sliding sunroof rollers can be used for both the W 110, W 111, W 112 model series and for the 123 model series.
Flawless function.

30 years leading to Mercedes 3D printed spare parts

Daimler has almost 30 years of experience in 3D printing, for example, in the production of prototype components. This is the basis for targeted series use of the process beyond the sector. The high quality and impression of the corresponding components is ultimately based on Daimler Group Research in Ulm.
This has been intensively dealing with 3D printing for series parts for many years. Innovative materials, new processes and equipment technology, digitization and an optimized and secure process chain are the focus here.

The intensive cooperation between Mercedes-Benz Classic and Daimler Group Research in 3D printing allows for the continuous expansion of the corresponding replacement part range. The technically feasible spectrum extends from engine components to plastic seals and small rubber parts. Together, even very sophisticated and complex component parts, e.g. an instrument housing, are tested. The individual parts of the instrument housing are to be manufactured with the corresponding optimum production process. 3D printing especially shows its advantages when conventional processes for small quantities reach their technical or economic limits.

All Mercedes 3D printed spare parts fulfill the high-quality criteria of the Mercedes-Benz brand and correspond to the original genuine part in all its properties. This makes it possible for state-of-the-art, digital production technology to contribute to maintaining brand classics according to original specifications: “Future meets Classic”.

Due to the way layers of material are added to a part, 3D printing is also called additive production. Generally, the “powder bed” process is used, which, by means of one or more laser beams, creates the desired component geometry by sintering or smelting. In this process, various materials can be processed, such as metals or plastics. In the case of older parts, for which there are only two-dimensional drawings available, a three-dimensional dataset first has to be created. The 3D printer can then be directly controlled with this data.

 

 

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as both a technology journalist and communications consultant. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he received his undergraduate degree. Specializing in covering the AM industry, he founded London-based 3D Printing Business Media Ltd. (now 3dpbm) which operates in marketing, editorial and market analysys&consultancy services for the additive manufacturing industry. 3dpbm publishes 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies related to 3DP, as well as several editorial websites, including 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore. Since 2016 he is also a Senior Analyst for leading US-based firm SmarTech Analysis focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets.

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