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Incredibly F-150’n Cool Fitment – Intercooler R&D, Part 3: 3D Printed Test Fit

Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to the third update on the R&D process for the Mishimoto the 2015+ F-150 EcoBoost intercooler. For those of you joining us now who may not have seen our previous updates, you can check them out on our engineering blog. We reached out to you for some feedback, and decided to move forward with an intercooler that utilizes the factory location. We’ve shown you the 3D-models on the computer, but recently, we took those digital models and brought them to life with the help of our 3D printer.

Printing Some Parts

Back in one of my friend’s school days when he spent a lot of his free time consuming music and movies from various online sources (purely out of curiosity – any lawyers wanna chime in on the relevant statute of limitations, here?), his Mother gave him a stern talking to after having received a notice from the internet service provider about downloading copyrighted content (allegedly). In debating the ethics of such things, the phrase “Would you download a car?” was certainly uttered, and regardless of the response*, the point was moot, because in what reality can you print a car? Well, in this one, as it turns out! Or at least you can print the parts… Take a look.

* The response: “Depends on what kind of car I could find!”

In the beginning of a print job, the part often looks indiscernible due to the jungle of structural reinforcement added into the model.
In the beginning of a print job, the part often looks indiscernible due to the jungle of structural reinforcement added into the model.

A 3D printer slowly constructs an ABS plastic model by using a computer to digitally “slice” a 3D CAD model into layers. It then prints those two-dimensional cutaways on top of one another, one at a time in succession, until the model is complete. This process often takes hours, but provides us with an excellent means of bringing our digital creations to life to test them on our vehicles. It is standard practice around here to load up a file, hit “go”, and then take off for the evening, only to return to work in the morning to find a finished print. If only everything were that easy!

Towards the end of the process, the end-tank really starts to take shape.
Towards the end of the process, the end-tank really starts to take shape.

Once the complex parts like the end-tank are printed, we typically use foam or another material to represent the more generic cubic shapes. For this 2015+ Ford EcoBoost intercooler, we measured and cut a piece of insulating foam.

Fitting those F’150ers On the Truck!

With a good physical representation of our product in hand, it was time to check fitment on the truck. This form of prototyping is a valuable process for us, because it allows us to make any changes to our models at relatively low expense and with little turn-around time. This way, once we get to the aluminum prototyping phase, the kinks are all ironed out, generally eliminating possible fitment issues – that way, we can focus on functionality.

For this particular project, our engineer, Jason, did a damn good job the first time around with some spot-on fitment. Check out some photos of our test fit.

The truck is parked in a lift space, but Jason takes no shortcuts.
The truck is parked in a lift space, but Jason takes no shortcuts.

Installation is pretty easy on this one, and fitment was on point. I had Jason pull back the shrouding on top to give you a view of how it fits behind the bumper.

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The final iteration of this intercooler will feature weather stripping along the top and sides to seal the core to the shrouding behind the front bumper in order to ensure maximum efficiency. You can see a this mocked-up in the above photo.

Here’s a close-up of where the end-tank mounts to the truck.

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Finally, here’s a shot through the front bumper shutters of how the core will sit.

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Next Up…

Aluminum prototypes are already in the works, so progress from here on out should be pretty swift. As I stated before, we take advantage of tools like our 3D printers to mitigate unforeseen events and keep these projects moving so that we can get them to you as soon as possible – these F-150 performance parts are well on their way, so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading,

-Gardiner

2 thoughts on “Incredibly F-150’n Cool Fitment – Intercooler R&D, Part 3: 3D Printed Test Fit”

  1. I’m happy you put a prototype on my 2.7l and evaluate it for you, I do have access to Ford IDS so I can looks at all the IAT, CAC, pids.

    1. Hey Christopher,

      Thanks for the generous offer! As of right now, we have a development vehicle that we are working with, but we’ll definitely keep that in mind as the project progresses.

      Thanks.
      -Gardiner

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