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Half Scale Cars - A Full Solution

Icon for a full solution

The Challenge:

Half-scale cars came to Printing Portal with a two-part challenge:

  1. To economically design half-scale model cars

  2. To manufacture a large master part that can be used to GRP up to 30 cars


Our solution combined a range of our services, including 3D Scanning, Reverse Engineering, Large Format 3D Printing, & Assembly.

3D Scanning:

We start this journey with a 3D scan of an existing 1:18 scale model car using a structured light 3D Scanner at our site in Dartford, UK. We use both White & Blue Light Scanning with the Fringe Projection method to obtain a clean, reliable set of data that can be used for Reverse Engineering.

3D Scan of a small model racing car
Photo from Adam.webp

Reverse Engineer & Redesign:

The second stage is to use the data obtained by the 3D Scan as a guide to create a full NURBS CAD model of the car using a combination of Geomagic Design X & Rhinoceros 3D. This high-quality CAD is then modified to suit the customer's design, which is important, as merely scaling a model up or down will produce undesirable effects. For example, the width of the F1 Renault Mansell car had to be increased to allow legroom inside the half-scale version. This would be extremely difficult without fully reverse engineering first.

3D Printing:

After the files are fully prepped, we move onto 3D Printing, where we utilize our fleet of Large Format FDM 3D Printers to print each section of each car.

We split the design up in such a way that not only fits on our printers but also minimizes the support material and therefore print time & cost. When using our Large Format 3D Printing Service, we work with the customer to choose a Nozzle & Layer Height that is appropriate for the specific requirements. In this case, a 0.8mm Nozzle with a 0.4mm Layer Height was used to balance cost & lead time with surface quality.

Our machines are designed & built in Holland by Builder 3D Printers, for which we are an official reseller in the UK. If you are interested in purchasing one for your own business, you can find out more information here.

3D Printed segment of a car inside the 3D printer.


During the Redesign Phase, we add internal bosses to the CAD which makes it significantly easier to attach each section together. They not only add strength to the joint but also assist with alignment. Epoxy glues combined with mechanical fixings are used to ensure a strong bond that will survive not only transportation but also its use as a GRP master.

Our Finishing & Assembly workshop specializes primarily in finishing 3D Printed items to almost any level of finish. For this particular project, the customer only required a basic level of removing support structures & assembly. The final finishing is carried out by them before being used as a master for GRP Molding.

3D Printed model porsche car


By utilising a range of services offered by Printing Portal we are able solve complex challenges from customers all under one roof.  We not only assisted in the design of the cars but also in the production of a GRP Master that can be used for the production of up to 30 half scale motorised cars.

GRP Moulded Car
Half scale model car made with GRP moulding
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