AEtherScythe

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A few weeks back at the #NationalMustangDay event in Detroit, @JWW mentioned an incident with a basketball led to hyper-extension of his MME charge port cover and made a dent just forward of the charge port cover. I immediately set to looking for a preventative solution. Unfortunately, before I could complete my quest, our MME suffered a similar, but less dramatic fate. We don't even know how it happened other than perhaps it was very windy one day when we using a DC fast charger. We're going to need to get the dent fixed, but I wanted to make sure that we had a solution to prevent a re-occurrence, before taking any action.

Fast forward to now. I have developed a 3D model for an insert that adds a small wedge on the inside of the charge port arm to prevent it from opening too far.
Sure you could still body slam it and overcome the wedge, but you'll probably break the cover off before that happens.

Below are the pics of the finished design. This has to be printed in TPU or similar flexible material with a shore hardness rating of 85A-90A or it can't be finagled into position. Installation has to be done with the charge port cover closed as much as possible, while working the wedge into place, then after that it's pretty easy to insert the upper and lower retaining wings.

I've posted two versions of the part, one without support so you can send off to a service to have it printed in TPU 85A (or similar) using Selective Laser Sintering technology or if you have a direct drive printer you can try using your slicer's built-in support with that version (V.1.N).
The second version of the part is the one I print on my Lulzbot Taz Pro with in-built support, meaning I do not let my slicer generate support. I had to keep tweaking the inbuilt support version (V.1A.S) to increase the gap between the angled support at the top. A gap of 0.5mm between the in-built support and the actual part wasn't enough, but 0.75mm seems to be a happy medium re: it does work as support and it isn't too difficult to remove. All I had to do was use some side cutters to get a grip on the angled bit and tear it free.

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4847310

Video showing installation + usage:
ECB0172B-36BE-4DF4-B896-4E49965A4199.jpeg
93E3DAE9-8E48-4A44-AC57-75CE1A106D03.jpeg
672F8F13-54D9-4D96-BF05-99D840DA56AD.jpeg





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AEtherScythe

AEtherScythe

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Great idea. But now I'm going to have to find Infinite Blue filament.
@generaltso as you probably know, TPU is not common enough to come in a huge range of colors. I just happened to have the red-vines NinjaFlex on hand, but black is an obvious choice on this one for most needs.

What are you using for a 3D printer? I hope it's direct drive as the vast majority of Boden-tube printers can't handle TPU.
 

generaltso

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@generaltso as you probably know, TPU is not common enough to come in a huge range of colors. I just happened to have the red-vines NinjaFlex on hand, but black is an obvious choice on this one for most needs.

What are you using for a 3D printer? I hope it's direct drive as the vast majority of Boden-tube printers can't handle TPU.
I've got a small FlashForge unit that does use a Bowden-tube extruder. I've never tried TPU, but I saw some chatter on Reddit that reported success. I've been planning to upgrade to a new printer anyway, so maybe now's a good time.
 

JWW

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Wow, this is so much better than a block of wood and super glue! :p

I am definitely interested in the 3D model - I don't have a printer but I will find someone who does and can print in TPU (whatever that is). Hey I'm a bean counter not an engineer.

And a video would be fantastic. Thanks!
 

TheVirtualTim

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I've got a small FlashForge unit that does use a Bowden-tube extruder. I've never tried TPU, but I saw some chatter on Reddit that reported success. I've been planning to upgrade to a new printer anyway, so maybe now's a good time.
TPU is a flexible filament. It's rubbery ... like trying to print with a wet spaghetti noddle. It's very hard to get a bowden-tube design printer (feed-gear on the side of the printer and pushing the filament through a long teflon tube) rather than a direct-drive printer (feed-gear directly on the print-head a filament guide-path only a couple of centimeters from the gear to the head so the filament has to push straight in).

It is *sometimes* possible to get a bowden-tube printer to print with a semi-stiff TPU (something with a Shore Hardness rating of around 95A). The part Leon posted was printed with NinjaFlex ... which if I recall correctly is 85A (very soft).

The part has to be flexible to go on the car ... printing with a stiff material like PETG, ABS, or PLA wouldn't work because he has to bend the part around and push some wings down into some slots on the door hinge.
 

Kamuelaflyer

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A few weeks back at the #NationalMustangDay event in Detroit, @JWW mentioned an incident with a basketball led to hyper-extension of his MME charge port cover and made a dent just forward of the charge port cover. I immediately set to looking for a preventative solution. Unfortunately, before I could complete my quest, our MME suffered a similar, but less dramatic fate. We don't even know how it happened other than perhaps it was very windy one day when we using a DC fast charger. We're going to need to get the dent fixed, but I wanted to make sure that we had a solution to prevent a re-occurrence, before taking any action.

Fast forward to now. I have developed 3D model for an insert that adds a small wedge on the inside of the charge port arm to prevent it from opening too far.
Sure you could still body slam it and overcome the wedge, but you'll probably break the cover off before that happens.

I'll post the 3D model later, but for now here are the pics of the finished design. This has to be printed in TPU or similar flexible material with a shore hardness rating of 85A-90A or it can't be finagled into position. Installation has to be done with the charge port cover closed as much as possible, while working the wedge into place, then after that it's pretty easy to insert the upper and lower retaining wings. If there is ample interest, I'll post a video on the installation, later.
ECB0172B-36BE-4DF4-B896-4E49965A4199.jpeg
93E3DAE9-8E48-4A44-AC57-75CE1A106D03.jpeg
672F8F13-54D9-4D96-BF05-99D840DA56AD.jpeg
You know, just a wild idea here, but someone might be able to make a bit of change to cover the cost of materials, the cost of a flat rate USPS box, and a bit on the side, by making these to order. In black 9the universal match everything/nothing.

I'd sign up. Just crazy talk I know. ;)
 
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AEtherScythe

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I've just done a bit of research on a couple of quotes for commercial printing via SLS technology in TPU. One is about $30 a unit and the other is about $15 a unit, not including shipping, etc. The $15 a unit was $10 shipping on a QTY 2 order, which is probably better than I could do via USPS and I don't have the time for a "side business" anyway. I have samples on the way, but it will be a few weeks.
If these turn out well, it'll probably be more of a "here's the model and here are two commercial sources" where you can get them printed. Will let all y'all know.
 
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Kamuelaflyer

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I've just done a bit of research on a couple of quotes for commercial printing via SLS technology in TPU. One is about $30 a unit and the other is about $15 a unit, not including shipping, etc. The $15 a unit was $10 shipping on a QTY 2 order, which is probably better than I could do via USPS and I don't have the time for a "side business" anyway. I have samples on the way, but it will be a few weeks.
If these turn out well, it's probably be more of a "here's the model and here are two commercial sources" where you can get them printed. Will let all y'all know.
That works. :)
 

ChasingCoral

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@generaltso as you probably know, TPU is not common enough to come in a huge range of colors. I just happened to have the red-vines NinjaFlex on hand, but black is an obvious choice on this one for most needs.

What are you using for a 3D printer? I hope it's direct drive as the vast majority of Boden-tube printers can't handle TPU.
I'm totally clueless when it comes to 3D printing. Are you saying you couldn't make the piece using the same filament as the pony statues?
IMG_8087.jpeg
 
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AEtherScythe

AEtherScythe

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I'm totally clueless when it comes to 3D printing. Are you saying you couldn't make the piece using the same filament as the pony statues?
Correct. The Pony statues are not flexible material.

When I was prototyping the part I only printed the contours at 3mm thick and I was able to finagle those into place. By the time I had the shape validated and was ready to print the full part, I had to switch to a flexible material so I could actually manage to install the part. Installation involves working between some tight spaces that only open up fully when the charge port door is almost closed. Even when almost closed, it's difficult to get the outside edges of the part through between the door and the fender. It's only doable with a flexible part. Even then it may be a bit more fiddly than some folks will manage to pull off re: getting the wedge end of the part back into place.

The necessity of flexible material, and the finagling of the part into place will all make a lot more sense after I make that installation video. =D

Of course if someone at Ford would disclose how we could remove the entire charge port door + arm, then installation of a rigid part might also be doable. But getting that arm off and back on without damage is probably a risk most won't want to take. I certainly wouldn't try it without detailed how-to from Ford or some brave soul who's already done it in the field. ;-)
A rigid part would also need a minor modification to the wings that keep it in place -- they wouldn't need to be so deep and couldn't actually be as deep as the flexible ones are.
 
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ChasingCoral

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@generaltso as you probably know, TPU is not common enough to come in a huge range of colors. I just happened to have the red-vines NinjaFlex on hand, but black is an obvious choice on this one for most needs.

What are you using for a 3D printer? I hope it's direct drive as the vast majority of Boden-tube printers can't handle TPU.
It seems like black would work fine for this application.
 

PrimeFuture

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Just replying for when you post the 3D model. Will need to find someone to print this for me though.
 

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