Driftworks: 3D printing in custom car part design
Driftworks is a custom car part shop based in Birmingham, Great Britain. As the name hints, their main focus is drifting: that crazy style of driving when you deliberately oversteer your car until you enter the curves sideways in clouds of blue smoke.
Apart from their shop, Driftworks also runs a blog and a forum. And they have their own, very successful drifting race team.
While most of their business indeed takes place in a garage, they are not just a garage business anymore. During the 17 years of its existence, a side hustle turned into a true multi-million GBP enterprise and moved from a spare room in the founder’s house into huge self-owned premises.
Even after such a commercial success, the company team is still a bunch of enthusiasts and hobbyists at heart. The Original Prusa i3 MK3S printers fit very well into this environment, not only because both companies share bright orange as their brand color. 🙂
In Driftworks, 3D printing plays its usual signature role: rapid prototyping of new designs. The designers can quickly test-print several variants, adjust and improve them before committing to one of them and ordering the actual production run. They also use various 3D printed completion jigs and measurement tools.
Starkey from Driftworks explains: “We can draw something up and get it made within two hours. Before 3D printing, we would have to outsource everything, which is often a nightmare. We would go to another supplier all the time and ask them, please, can you laser cut this, can you draw that… With a 3D printer in the office, our turnaround time is now hours, not days.”
3D printing is involved in the development of various custom parts, from the simple stuff like keyrings, name placards, dial faces, or gear knobs, to mock-ups of components that actually affect the performance, like exhausts or throttle bodies.
Starkey adds: “There are off-the-shelf options available, but we want to do something different and special, showing off the engineering skills we have here at Driftworks.”