Usually, when visiting any kind of auto shop, we think of loud engines, dirty cars, and the smell of gas. Visiting Brock Winberg and his company Electric GT is anything but, and we are surprised to find a high-end customization facility filled with rare cars which have gone through, or are currently going through, electric conversions.
There are no loud engines, no fuel smell, and the cars are extremely clean as if they were made in a lab. Within minutes of entering the small shop located in sunny Huntington Beach, California, we notice Brock’s famed 1970 FJ that is completely overhauled, converted into an electric showpiece. It is absolutely beautiful and features a number of 3D printed parts, mostly made on the Airwolf 3D EVO.
Brock’s electric creations have evolved over the years. From small RC drift cars, then to go-karts. He started small, eventually working his way up to creating electrified Hummers and even converting a classic VW Type 20 Bus into an incredible electric concept machine utilizing several 3D printed components.
After taking a small tour of the shop, we get the feeling that additive manufacturing plays a huge role in what Electric GT is doing – designing complete systems for electrifying vehicles. Without it, Electric GT’s projects would cost much more to fund, take longer, and be more difficult to engineer. The amount of 3D printed components, especially in the final creations is impressive.
Additive manufacturing of electric vehicle components
Brock attributes his reliance on 3D printing to machines like the EVO, which have been workhorses during crunch time. His EVO, which is about 2 years old, has seen over 5,000 hours. It sits next to other machines making smaller parts, as Brock stated their reliability wasn’t up to par with the EVO, and couldn’t go through what it takes to make large useful ABS parts.
The EVO at Electric GT definitely isn’t a showpiece – but a valuable tool that prints daily
Some of the components include battery boxes, crate-motor prototypes, plug covers, charging ports, and more. Today the EVO is pumping away, printing battery box internals. The 3D-printed parts are incredible to see, but what is more impressive is how Electric GT utilizes the EVO to explore a great amount of customization, but not stray off their goal of creating clean, sleek, high-end electric conversions and components.
Some of the projects displayed in the main shop are a Ferrari 308, a one-of-a-kind electric conversion that has quite the history and drives like a super-high-powered go-kart, a new Land Rover Defender in the process of being converted, the prized 1970 FJ, and a few others. Each car has its own story and its own share of 3D-printed components.
Brock explains that without the use of 3D printing, the company would have different challenges, and using the technology has been a game-changer. The company takes full advantage of the capabilities of 3D printing for making end-use parts, and now also making jigs, fixtures, and tools to help in the manufacturing and prototyping process.
With quite a few projects coming up, Brock plans to use additive manufacturing in all of them. For him, it is a tool that helps evolve how his process works, and he plans to explore even more ways to utliize 3D printing in the future.
Are we on the path to revitalize manufacturing, small business, and training for jobs of the future?
Electric vehicles will someday become mainstream if the current federal administration’s plans succeed “to build a national network of 500,000 EV chargers by 2030.” There is no doubt that EV is about to become a hot topic with the recent plans to, “replace 50,000 diesel transit vehicles and electrify at least 20 percent of our yellow school bus fleet through a new Clean Buses for Kids Program at the Environmental Protection Agency, with support from the Department of Energy. These investments will set us on a path to 100 percent clean buses while ensuring that the American workforce is trained to operate and maintain this 21st century infrastructure.“
Given the federal government’s intentions to invest in technical education, electrifying vehicles, and small business, it makes sense to start by looking at EV conversion systems, equipment, and experts like Electric GT. See the following video tour and interview with Brock Winberg of Electric GT.
Electric GT designs and manufactures parts and complete systems for conversions in Southern California. Brock and his team are available for presentations, educational collaboration on EV conversion kits, and expert consultations for conversion systems. For general inquires, their best contact is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can see more of their parts and follow their efforts on instagram.
The EVO Additive Manufacturing Center
The 3D printer equipment used in this case study is the EVO.
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