There may come a day, in the not to distant future, that instead of running out to the parts store when you need a new part—or even something as simple as a bolt—you head over to your 3D printer, select the part or piece from the menu, and produce the parts right there on the spot yourself. While that may seem like a far fetched prediction, it’s a lot closer to reality than you might think.
Take this 3D printed LS3 for example. While it is obviously to scale and in no way capable of handling internal combustion, it is still a prime example of what you can accomplish with a few CAD files and some schematics drawn from the real deal—and the internet. These parts have been printed using Polylactic Acid (PLA) plastic filament but there are 3D printers that are capable of printing in metal, making the notion of printing an entire engine much less farfetched.
Regardless of whether or not that future comes to pass, we think we can all agree that, practical or not, this scale model of one of the General’s most popular engines of all time is the coolest thing ever done with a 3D printer—so far anyway.
There are a few drawbacks to the process, however. Currently, the printing process for making all of the parts for the model engine take 200 hours and over two kilograms of filament to fully print. That is a lot of time to find tiny fasteners to put it all together. Another draw back is that not everything can be printed in full resolution.
If you are familiar with the LS3, you’ll notice that a few details were hard to duplicate on this scale—such as the cross bolts for the main caps that are missing in the video. We also noticed the absence of an oil pump—not that it’s very important in this application, but still. Aside from that, however, this model appears to be an astonishingly accurate replica of the LS3.
The creator, Eric Harrell, said that he 3D printed every single component for the engine aside from the fasteners and bearings. He also said that he created the engine by working from CAD files, pictures, repair manuals, and diagrams that were floating around the interwebs.
Harrel has created more than just replicas of the LS3 over the years as well. He has created 3D-printed engines ranging from the 22RE Toyota four cylinder to the Subaru EJ20. You may also recognize his work from when he 3D printed a working Toyota W56 five-speed manual transmission, which you can watch him row through the gears here.
If you think the engine is just too cool to not have one on your desk at work, there is good news! Harrell includes all of his files, parts lists, and instructions in the description of the video; or you can access them here. Don’t have a 3D printer? Fear not. Harrell has also taken this eventuality into account and simply asks that you message him through YouTube for pricing.
We are scared to hear what one of these bad boys goes for, but considering what a 3D printer costs, it might be a steal. If you happen to buy one, be sure to let us know what it set you back. We wouldn’t mind a whole fleet of these things sitting around the office.