3D-Printed Mo­tor Magic: Shape­ways LS3/LSX En­gine by 3D Model Spe­cial­ties

1:18 | $37 to $51 (de­pend­ing on op­tions)

Die Cast X - - KIT CAR GARAGE -

Gen­eral Mo­tors’ LS-se­ries mo­tors have rev­o­lu­tion­ized the art and sci­ence of en­gine swaps. The com­pact, pow­er­ful, ver­sa­tile LS of­fers af­ford­able, mod­ern V-8 power for vir­tu­ally any project car. What the LS has done for project cars, Shape­ways has done for 3D-printed scale parts. Whether it’s a stock re­place­ment or a cus­tom piece, chances are the com­mu­nity of Shape­ways de­sign­ers from around the world has dig­i­tally ren­dered it. And with Shape­ways’ ser­vice, you can have one 3D-printed and sent right to you in a mat­ter of days—and more eco­nom­i­cally than you might think. Some of the items are so com­plete and de­tailed with their mul­ti­p­iece con­struc­tion that they have ef­fec­tively be­come print-on-de­mand model kits them­selves. So we got to think­ing, why not see if we can find a de­tailed 3D-printed en­gine de­sign that we can build and paint like a kit?

There were sev­eral de­signs out there to choose from, but when we saw the LS from 3D Model Spe­cial­ties, we knew we’d found a win­ner. The artist be­hind 3D Model Spe­cial­ties is Ron Olsen; he has all kinds of en­gine de­signs for Ford, Mopar, and GM—each with dozens of op­tions and in mul­ti­ple scales, rang­ing from 1:32 all the way up to huge 1:6. The 1:12, 1:18, and 1:24/1:25 are the most pro­lific, and one of the coolest con­fig­u­ra­tions is the LS3/LSX. We se­lected 1:18 scale so that it can even­tu­ally find its way into a diecast project car. Tra­di­tional kit scales of 1:24 and 1:25 of­fer even more op­tions. To give you an idea of what’s avail­able, we or­dered the main en­gine, which starts at $22, plus three dif­fer­ent in­takes. We got a gor­geous replica of an LS-spe­cific OBX Rac­ing Sports in­di­vid­ual throt­tle cross-ram in­take for about $7. There’s a Whip­ple su­per­charger with an LS lower man­i­fold for just $5. We went all out with a cus­tom turbo man­i­fold ($8), a set of twin tur­bos ($11), and some head­ers ($10). Yes, we did have to buy the parts sep­a­rately, but look at all the op­tions! And the de­tail is at least as good as the pre­mium kits or pre­built mod­els we’ve seen. Amaz­ing stuff!

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