3D-Printed Motor Magic: Shapeways LS3/LSX Engine by 3D Model Specialties
1:18 | $37 to $51 (depending on options)
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!