Never let an old girl die – bike restoration blog – and general bike gibberish related to keeping your girl on the road

’75 RD350B update: The beginning of prototyping design ideas

Not a very big start to concept design but a start none the less.

One of my workmates is currently building his third 3D printer, that prints PLA and ABS plastic but it is limited to objects of 20x20x20 cm – somewhat too small for my plans to build my own Cafe Racer Seat… unless it’s to scale 😉

His interest in the 3D printing has certainly inspired and steered me towards the software linked  further below in this post.

However I was initially intending to sculpt something out of modelling foam and learn how to create something with fiberglass, like in the following videos:

Herm Narciso, Dime City Cycles – Makes a Fiberglass Cafe Racer Seat! – Part 1

Herm Narciso, Dime City Cycles – Makes a Fiberglass Cafe Racer Seat! – Part 2

The only downfall I can see is I cannot prototype quickly and accurately… I cannot see how it will look prior to actually shaping the mold. Not without some other approach at any rate… That and I will probably create something lopsided with my first attempt…

Enter Autodesk 123d and Autodesk 123d Make (both available here:

These 3D applications look great for getting into rapid prototyping, you can quickly segment a model, print off a template and cut your design out of ribbed card board… for a quick example watch the video below.

This video originally linked from:

It’s worth pointing out that you can also print more accurate plastic
models or just about any material… you’re just limited by what
printer you have access to.

I recently had some projector mounts printed for an 848 headlight mod I’m working on… more on that another day however!

You can even objects
printed in gold, titanium, etc and in a large array of sizes but for my
purposes templates for cardboard are more than adequate.

I’m intending to prototype both scale models and full sized cardboard versions of my seat before finally printing a mold with which to lay my fiberglass in.

That’s the intention anyway… we’ll see how I go!

My first challenge was finding an adequate 3d model to base my initial prototyping off – aka I want to be able to model a seat and place it on a 3d model bike… prior to getting into the whole printing prototypes.

Finding a 3D model of a 73-75 RD350 was difficult to say the least and in the end I had to settle for a user submitted model for the game GTA: San Andreas, which was unfortunately quite low detailed and also a 72.

It looks a little different… but for my purposes will be an adequate place holder as the bike itself doesn’t have to be too accurate, I’m not printing that !

I can open and view the file so far, I can convert it to a 3DSMax file but need to find a way to convert it into something compatible with 123D instead… something for another night.

Anyway here’s the model in question:

I’ve left the creators name on this image I did up… just so he knows I appreciate his work should he ever see it here.

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