A 3D Printed Car Jack? No, Seriously!

Ah nuts, I lost my car jack again. What will I do? Well, why not 3D print a new one?

Uploaded to Thingiverse earlier this week, this design allows you to 3D print a fully functional car jack — provided your build platform is large enough. It’s actually a bit of a promo for the Cheetah 2, a massive modular 3D printer by [Hans Fouche]. Earlier this year we shared his 3D printed lawn mower; which spoiler, also works.

The neat thing about the Cheetah 2 is that it doesn’t use filament. It actually processes plastic pellets right inside the hot end, allowing for much cheaper material — typically dollars on the kilogram, as opposed to the $30+/kg we’re all used to being gouged on. Of course, you could also make your own filament.

402It’s an impressive engineering feat to design a small plastic component like this to take the load of a vehicle, though to be fair, it’s not completely 3D printed. It does use an M12 threaded rod to provide the mechanical advantage required to lift the car by hand. But for ABS plastic holding it all together, it’s still quite astounding.

We’d love to see how much deflection the jack sees during operation — but unfortunately there’s no video of it in action.

Oh and it only took 3 hours to print.

48 thoughts on “A 3D Printed Car Jack? No, Seriously!

    1. Do you trust a typical steel scissor jack? Or a hydraulic floor jack? I was always taught to lift the car with the jack, and support it with jack stands. Only then is it safe to get underneath. If this lifts the car up enough to get a jack stand under it, I don’t see a problem. Except for the obvious “scissor jacks suck” problem, but that’s not the fault of the plastic.

      1. Fair enough, but you are still at a higher risk of a failure that could drop the car during the jacking process. 3D printed materials are only as strong as the weakest layer.

        1. That’s the first thing I thought.

          Those jacks terrify me. I watched the one from the trunk of my sister’s 1996 Passat go flying at breakneck speed while in use, dropping the car violently and scaring my sister, her boyfriend, and myself absolutely shitless. How none of us got hurt in the process is beyond me.

          1. I don’t understand how car manufacturers can spend so much money on crash testing and airbags and supply jacks that unsafe with cars. half scissor jacks are not inherently stable on a slope. when the wheel rises off the ground and there is no weight in the back I have seen the car slide sideways on a 10:1 slope. A scissors jack would be a trivial and inexpensive thing to make from angle iron and piping and some nuts and anyone who would contemplate building this should be ashamed of themselves.

  1. Calling this “an impressive engineering feat” makes me seriously question the author’s engineering knowledge. At least ABS fails slightly slowly compared to, say, acrylic. Neither are suitable for this application.

    1. Nobody said it would last forever. I would just use it to jack the car up, and then place jack stands under the car. The jack is just to raise and lower the car on or off jack stands.

  2. Yeah……don’t get under a car that’s only supported by any jack. Use jack stands. Even lifts have locking pins.

    I doubt this is seriously a production item for the guy. I’m pretty sure this is more of a materials science thing. In the picture the tire is barely off the ground so if the jack fails nothing is going to really get hurt. Stop being such a pedantic asshole. It’s a neat trick with plastic, that’s all.

  3. It would be just my luck though, to be stranded out in the middle of the desert with my 3d printer– to be resourceful enough to think up printing myself a tire jack so I could jack up the car– only to find that I was out of filament when it cam to printing out the tire…

  4. Geez guys. I don’t think this is meant to be practical. It’s a demonstration that it CAN be done – and in that, it is impressive.

    I’ve also seen a video of 3D printed carabiners for rock climbing. Again, not something anybody would ever plan on or want to use. More of a demonstration that it’s possible.

    tldr; This is neat and you’re jerks.

    1. The safety-first, safety only and misunderstand on purpose crowd has gotten quite annoying here. A lot of people just seem to really try to find something negative to say, and I guess writing the 20:th comment on basic jack safety is an easy way to get that superiority feeling fix.

    1. SeeMeCNC and Richrap did this years and months ago (respectively).

      It’s not new, it can even be done cheaply (see Richrap’s), but keep in mind that so far, print quality is not as good as normal filament. Extruding accurate filament is actually a pretty involved process, pellets are normally dried, fed through the extruder then pulled as it goes into water to tune thickness and cool, then put into a drier again, with inaccurate filament comes inaccurate layers. With large diameter hot ends (1mm or larger) you can hide this easier than you can with common small hot ends.

      Pellet feed for a while was one of the holy grails of FDM back when we were paying $50+ per roll of plastic we were paying the equivalent of $25 or more per pound, while pellets were $3-$7. At those rates, it made sense to try and extrude pellets, recycle prints or make your own plastic. Today it’s different, and you can actually buy decent filament for only a dollar or two per pound more than the pellets.

      Basically the only reason to use pellets now is on large nozzles where you would otherwise be changing rolls every 20 minutes or something.

  5. The printer tech is interesting, the application is scary.

    Scissor jacks are bad enough, but this….. Anymore, I keep a small floor jack in the vehicle, and, when pressed, have used a 2X4 to lever up to slip in 2X4 and 4X4 blocks for support.

  6. “Ah nuts, I lost my car jack again. What will I do?” Seriously how the hell do you lose your jack? for the one that came with the car why would you not have put it back after using it (lazy ass) and for floor jacks don’t lend them out (moocher friends)… Additionally you’d be much safer and better off getting a cheap-ass floor jack and a couple jack stands from the nearest harbor freight plus you would still likely take less time than 3d printing that thing.

    1. My maternal grandfather, whenever he’d sell a car, would for some reason keep the jack. No idea why! While clearing out his property after he died we must have found a dozen jacks in the garage.

  7. Thanx guys for the interesting discussion! I was all just to show that IS actually possible to 3D Print a working plastic car Jack, with a suitable big 3d Printer. For the record, I never took the wheel of. For that I would have jack stands. Here is more on the story, an I would be glad to answer any more questions.
    Hans Fouche
    A Plastic car Jack? 3D Printed?
    To coincide with the release of their Cheetah 2 3D Printer, Fouche 3d Printing have released photographs of a 3d printed car Jack, that actually works. This is not a model of a Jack, but a real one, able of lifting a real car. It was done, to show the capabilities of their unique Cheetah 3D Printer, that prints with a 3 mm nozzle, direct from granules, and with a one cubic meter print volume, and all this for just 10 000 USD.
    This follows in the wake of their 3D Printed Lawnmower, and the 3D Printed Vacuum Cleaner, both of which was full size working prototypes. What they are illustrating with these remarkable feats, is that 3D Printing can be used for a lot more than is thought…
    They claim 2 world firsts with this Jack.
    First: a Working car jack made from Plastic,
    And secondly: a Working 3D Printed Car Jack.
    Plastic will not be normally considered for a material to make a Car Jack from, but with the Cheetah 3D Printer, it is possible. It lays down layer after layer, of ABS plastic, under controlled conditions, to make very thick and strong ABS Plastic parts, and what is best, it does this using granules, which are a fraction of the cost of filament, and with Master batch mixing, it is very easy to do colored parts.
    The Jack itself.
    The whole jack was printed in just 3 hours and it consists of the main beam, which was printed in 2 parts, in order to make room for some big hollow pockets on the inside. The arm was done in the same way, and the 2 hinge pins, was printed solid. Some M6 bolts and nuts hold the parts together, and an M12 threaded bar was used to apply the force. Amazingly, the one hinge pin was drilled and tapped M12 into the ABS Plastic , and this stood up to a full day of testing, before striping. This will be modified. The knee joint also suffered from alignment problems, and will have to be re-engineered, but as a first prototype, it performed remarkably well.
    The plans for the Jack, are be posted on Thingiverse for insight. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1152696
    The Brochure can be downloaded from: http://www.fouche3dprinting@gmail.com
    And the pictures from https://www.facebook.com/fouche3dprinting/

    1. Now try a 3D printed screw jack that has bevel gears at the bottom of a large, vertical rod with a heavy square or ACME thread.

      I wouldn’t trust a plastic jack to hold long enough to get a metal jack stand under the car.

  8. I remember the 3D printed lawnmower. On the mower, the creator was an active commenter, and rather confrontational on the possibility of failure. But I was able to find some failures elsewhere, which I posted. Then ventured a guess why they failed, and how subsequent versions attempted to compensate.

    I’d like to see information like that for the jack. That info could then be applied to strengthen something useful. Instead the creator presents only presents only a finished item that’s impressive, but otherwise useless. (Except to him as a promo for selling his 3D printer. Though given his history of responding to criticism, constructive or otherwise, by calling people dickheads, I doubt anyone would send him a dime.)

  9. I find this quite amusing, the negative comments, on a site like this? Hackaday….hack into things…explore…push the boundaries…new ideas… Is that not what all this this is about? Idea…concept model…prototype 1a….prototype 1b…lots of prototypes…the more the better…then lots of pre production models…. testing…testing…testing. Then the first production model. Don’t some of these people understand that?

    1. I had a good look at this jack, and have made some design changes this morning,
      Later today I started the Cheetah,
      and have just finished the parts for Prototype 2 of this Jack….
      Will assemble it tomorrow…..test it….and made a video off it lifting a car….
      Really nice technology these big 3D Printers….
      Have Designed and Manufactured an improved prototype, in just one day….
      And the design work on CAD was done on my laptop, while I was still lying in a bit in my bed…..
      and this afternoon I kept an eye on the Cheetah 3D Printer, while I was sitting in a comfy chair,
      watching some movies on my laptop again, while it was controlling the machine….
      Yes, that is a nice way of working…..
      Very nice….

  10. You guys are missing the point?
    But before you read past this point, let me declare the fact that i have a stake in Fouche3dPrinting. Why should i waste your valuable time while you are trawling through the web, while you should be creating\making something useful?
    And if you want to get personal and insult me – i save you the trouble – recently unemployed DBA?
    So here is my fictitious letter of apology against this website.. http://www.knittingMonthly.com?

    Dear Madam
    We profusely apologize – we have no idea how our “product” ended up in your magazine knittingMonthly. After careful consideration and analyzing your questions we don’t think that it will be safe to send you a sample of our demo product for testing. We know that vehicles are heavy, but we are sure they are of almost equal weight anyplace on Earth. And lifting a vehicle with any jack is a dangerous procedure already on brick paving- never mind ice and muck. Therefore you are 100% right that the “product” won’t be suitable for your readers. We apologize for the anguish that this have caused you, and please convey our apology to your readers.
    Kobus from Fouche3dPrinting

    So after that bit of humor- please note that i consider all crafts and making by all 3 sexes to be superior to the “art” of sitting and writing consumer product validation blogs for knittingMonthly. Do we think that this should be sold commercially? Are we developing it further? duh Because we knew from the start that there will be no market for this. I urge you to read on and see if you can figure out why.
    And i know every comment on the web will last longer than anything cut in stone. :) But sometimes explanations are needed.

    And before you get all sleep deprived * angry again,let me save you some trouble and lmgtfy – Hans Fouche. Have a look what he has been up to for the last couple of years. No – we are not making a jack out of chocolate either. Or before you end up with condoms\cats link here is a link?

    Useful Points. Think of rapid full sized prototyping.
    All makers and good human beings are sensitive about what they create. Are you?
    ABS is not the best material to make certain structural parts from. From the link you might start to realize why we already know that.

    Small pellet extruders – lmgtfy very difficult to make. Printing with Pellets? Rarely done. Couple on kickstarter? Our big one does up to 2kg per hour.

    But let’s do a practical real world simulation. To illustrate our point in the real world – please print that jack on your 3D printer and ask your mother\wife if she like the design? Her first comment will probably be that it is too small. ” ” awkward silence.. Let’s rather stop there.. :)

    Or not? So whenever we ask a non technical person to test something functionally we end up with the answer that boil down to that it will work better in red or something silly like that. Kind of the answer that we got on hackaday so far and on many other sites.

    Our point is that we believe in making functional products for testing or small batch manufacturing. There is probably someone that will raise the point that ABS is not ideal for car jacks…But a point Hans made was how often does car jack get used and how strong do they have to be on a small car? Your next car might very well have a full( or parts) plastic jack – the excuse from the manufacturer will be some environmental reason (fuel savings etc) – but the actual answer will be for the manufacturer – cheap.

    We use more than 50 kg of plastic a month – Can you afford to use 50 kg ‘s worth of resin or filament for your full sized prints?
    Delamination? Seriously? I can stick my finger nails between the layers – but there was no delamination – thanks to more than a year’s worth of development on the extruder.

    Please note that this is a startup venture – easy to rip off – bootstrapping is not all that it is made out to be. So – “thanks” for your support. And for strange reason – we do get some early adopters that do business with us…

    Please insert expletives in where you think it will be appropriate. Think Walter – Jeff Dunham?
    And regarding plastic lawn mowers – pick up potential projectiles before cutting. It is just common sense. Even dimes.

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