Work continues on the G37 design process! We’re currently working through the mechanical design of the plastics. When we 3D print the surface plastics with our printing partner Shapeways there are different printing costs that come into play based on the 3 dimensional size of the plastics.
So we need to find a balance between functionality, look and cost to print the plastics. We found this out the hard way in the early days when we originally designed the MK1 370Z plastics as one large piece. Shapeways changed their pricing algorithms overnight and that plastic became $800 to print 🤯
Now those with an at-home printer may be thinking “I print stuff on my home printer and a whole spool of my filament only costs me $40, those prices are crazy. Those plastics should be super cheap to print, I don’t understand why it’s so expensive”.
To get the quality of an SLS durable Nylon print with the build volume that is needed, and that is an accurate print every time, requires very expensive printers (north of $100K). We simply just do not have the funding or the facilities to house such equipment. Typically the response to that statement is that there’s printer ABC that costs $Y and it should work for you. But the reality of running a printer farm is much different than running a home/single printer for personal use. This’s why we run our printer farm for the smaller structural pieces that go in the dashboard. To give you an idea, just printing the the supporting plastics for a single 370Z kit (supports + tablet holder) take 38 hours of print time.
So we partner with Shapeways for their high end equipment for passenger facing plastics. In the future if there is enough demand for the kit we will definitely consider plastic injection molds (which also require a significant investment).
On the climate control side of things we’re currently working on an abstraction layer between our tablet software and the circuit board firmware that interfaces with the vehicle. For the FRS/BRZ we have direct replacement circuitry controlling the climate, but in the G37 it will be controlled via CANBus. So we have a translation layer that we’re creating that we flash as firmware at the circuit board layer that uses the same protocol back and forth with the tablet. Our tablet software detects which vehicle climate control is connected to it via USB and then adjusts its screen layout functionality based on the capabilities of the vehicle.
With a successful translation layer at the firmware level we’ll then be able to test the system end-to-end and work out any of the glitches. The climate CANBus protocol for the G37 is something that we know. It is actually the same protocol used in the 370Z and the R35. So we do plan on using this same interface for those with a 370Z equipped with OEM-Navigation that we don’t have a good solution for today. We even have some 35 owners interested in a second screen for their vehicle.
In summary, our design teams are working hard at finding the right blend of design, functionality and affordability for the kit, and we hope to have some visual updates ready to share soon 🙂