3D Printing at CorkSport

You may have seen some funny looking parts floating around on the CS channels that did not look like the typical aluminum or steel parts you install on your Mazda or Mazdaspeed.

These plastic parts are made through 3D printing, a method we use often in R&D to really understand the ins and outs of a part. We’ve been getting a lot of questions lately on our 3D printers so I thought I’d run through what they are, how they work, and what we use them for.

3D printing is quite a simple process even though it may not seem so to start. In normal manufacturing, you start with a block of material and cut away portions until you achieve the shape you want. In 3D printing, you add material (usually plastic) layer by layer until the shape you want is achieved.

For a lot of 3D printers, including both of the CorkSport printers, you can visualize a hot glue gun attached to a robot. The robot controls where the “glue” is extruded and once the first layer is complete, the robot simply moves the object downward slightly and another layer begins. The second layer attaches to the first and you slowly gain height and shape until your part is completed.

This method is uses plastic “filament” as the material fed into the machine. Think of a spool of wire but instead of being made of copper, it’s made out of a recyclable plastic. This material is fed into the machine where it is melted and extruded like the glue in the above analogy. Other 3D printers use liquid resin that is solidified layer by layer or a powder material that gets bonded together layer by layer. The image below shows an almost empty vs brand new filament spool for our large 3D printer. To give you some scale, that is a 4 inch inlet air filter next to them– 10kg is a lot of filament!

We have two printers at CorkSport, a large Gigabot, and a small MakerBot 2X. The Gigabot can print anything that will fit in a 2-foot cube which is more than enough space for the majority of CorkSport parts. The MakerBot is much smaller, only about 9.5” by 6” by 6”. We typically use the Gigabit for most of the R&D testing and the MakerBot for making cool stuff for you all! However, the MakerBot uses a different plastic material that is stronger and more resistant to heat, allowing the parts to be tested on a running Mazda (albeit for a short time).

Barett and I use our 3D printers as tools to aid in R&D. We can take apart directly from a design in SolidWorks to a physical object extremely easily. Once we are happy with a design, it gets saved as a “mesh” made up of hundreds or thousands of tiny triangles. This is imported into a “slicer” program that does just as its name says: slices the part into layers. The part information as well as the settings for the print is exported to an SD card, which we use to upload the information to the printer.

Once we hit “print” all we have to do is wait. Smaller parts like brackets and fittings can be printed in an hour or two while large parts like manifolds or intercooler piping can take multiple days. 3D printers enable us to start a print on a Friday afternoon and leave it like this:

When we show up on Monday, the print is complete, ready for a test fit, and looking like this (Mazdaspeed 6 FMIC Piping):

I can’t express enough how much easier it is to have a physical part to test fit than to try to measure in all of the awkward angles and spaces that exist in a Mazdaspeed engine bay and hope your design will fit.

Having the capability to make a quick and inexpensive prototype to throw on a car can save countless hours and headaches down the road. This is why we use 3D printers so extensively: it makes producing great parts for you all so much easier. Some of our manufacturers even use our 3D prints to help understand the part, help with quoting, and even use them for mold/jig making. At CorkSport, our 3D printers are used almost as much as our 10mm sockets!

I’ve just scratched the surface on 3D printers, their uses, and capabilities so, if you have any questions post it down below!

-Daniel

Top Five Stereotypes… It’s all about the Mazda Enthusiasts We’ve Met

Roasting the Top Five Car Guy Stereotypes…it’s all about the Mazda Enthusiasts We’ve met…

The friends I want to talk about are your Mazda Event friends. Likely, you know them from your Nator club, Mazda club, or local car community, and truth be told they often fall into pretty great stereotypes of “Car Guy”.

Ready to have some fun…Let’s Roast ‘em!

The Newbie

This Guy is new to the Mazdaspeed/Mazda scene. He doesn’t know a ton about his car, it’s capabilities, and some of us would like to give a couple driving lessons to him first. He has big dreams for his Mazda and has a full wish-list of parts to prove it.

We can’t hate on this guy too much, because we all start somewhere, but the amount of time it takes to get him up to speed on acronyms, lingo, and basic tools isn’t always worth it. You would rather just do the work for him yourself so you can trust it’s done right. He’s a great guy, and will eventually be an awesome full member of the Mazda club, but he has some growing to do…

The Know it all

This Mazda Guy just NEVER SHUTS UP… whether he is right or wrong, he always has something to say and will stick to his opinions regardless of being proved wrong. He’s nice enough to hang out with, but we all avoid having strong opinions with him… it’s a guaranteed disaster.

These Guys end up spinning out of the group or buying a new (non-Mazda) vehicle, either way, they don’t make friends easily, and we often don’t get together and hang out without them on purpose.

The Actually DOES know it all Guy

Ironically enough the “Actually does know it all Guy” often speaks the least in the group. Having learned from experience, they set back and watch some people make fools of themselves and others take the hard path to learning. Always there to lend a helping hand when something does go wrong, and offer up advice when it’s requested in a respectful manner, this guy is it a DIY mechanic and has no trouble getting his hands dirty for his friends…

Arguably the best Guy of the stereotypes and genuinely a great resource for the Mazda and Mazdaspeed community.  A true influencer and most likely a beta tester.

 

The Not So Great with People Guy

There is often this guy at car meets. He’s not great with people, especially girls, and even more especially with new people he’s quiet. He’s necessary to the club because he truly does have one of the best rides there are, and it inspires us all to push our capabilities. He can drive the sh*t out of his Mazdaspeed, is seemingly fearless when it comes to speed and handling, and is always willing to talk like a savant when it comes to his build, driving style, and dream car plans.

Talk cars or parts and you’ve got this guys attention, try to talk about anything else and you can see the glaze come over his eyes as he takes another drink from his beverage of choice…and dreams about a BIGGER and BETTER MAZDA.

The Guy Who Always Breaks Down

Whether at the track, a long drive, or auto crossing, every time we get together this Guy is going to break something, or completely break down. More often than not it comes down to just plain crappy luck, so we all do our best to pitch in and help him get things fixed before we head out. “Never leave a man behind” means we’re often out at all hours in an abandoned parking lot or garage trying to get him back on the road again!

We wish this guy’s luck would change… especially because we’re always there trying to help fix it…

I know there are plenty of other stereotypical car guys, and heck there are even stereotypes for the Car Girls out there. I cannot wait to see you ROAST your friends in the comments…perhaps without even telling them which type of Guy you’re accusing them of falling under.

Until next time, whichever Guy you are, stay safe, stay happy, and stay fast my friends!

-Kim

Mazda Motor Oil

There are always lots of opinions on motor oil flying around the internet these days.  I normally skip chiming in on any of the conversations as someone, in the end, goes away with hurt feelings but not today!

Back in December, we ran our 2015 Mazda 3 2.5 Skyactiv at the 25-hours of Thunderhill race which like the title says is a 25-hour non-stop race.  In the spirit of doing things which are a bit, insane CorkSport entered our Mazda 3 which no one had done before in this long of an endurance race.  

For an event like the 25-hour, the internet says you should run a bit thicker oil due to the high rpm and non-stop abuse on the track. I am more at the end of the arena of doing what the engineers at Mazda designed the car to use so we ran 0W20 oil in the car.  We did use a great product, Motul 0w20 racing oil to prove a point that with modern engines and oils you don’t need to up the viscosity.

After 25 hours of non-stop racing the car to the redline and never giving the car a break, we drained the oil and sent it off to Blackstone laboratories to get an analysis done on the oil.

Based on the internet knowing everything we would expect to see the oil viscosity wiped out from the non-stop running and heat as well as there being lots of impurities found in the oil from the same.  In reality, the comments from the report are pretty boring really. They mentioned the lead found in the oil which was from race gas we burned up in the car during testing as this motor is completely stock so there is no lead in the engine bearings.  There really isn’t anything else to say about it.

So the next time someone tries to tell you that you need to change to a non-stock weight of motor oil in your Mazda send them to this blog and run what the engine is supposed to have with a good quality oil.

Happy Mazda Motoring!

-Derrick

 

The Top Five Things YOU NEED to Know Before You Buy a Mazdaspeed

The Mazdaspeed 3 and Mazdaspeed 6 are some of the most unique, exhilarating, and frustrating sport-compacts out on the market today. If you’re reading this, then it’s because you are in the market for a Mazdaspeed or you have one already and are looking for a good laugh. For you are newbies to the Mazdaspeed game…listen up; we’ve got some words of advice and things to check as you are shopping around.  

First, let’s start with the top two must do inspections when shopping around.  

One: Has the car been modified?  If so then what parts are on the car and has it been properly tuned for the parts.  This also means the car should have some type of tuning tool such as the Cobb Accessport or Versatune Tuning Solution.  

Two: You MUST check the engine compression!  This is the easiest way to get the overall health of the engine and know if you are getting a solid Mazdaspeed to start your journey with or a Speed on it’s last leg.  Most auto parts stores can loan an engine compression tool for a small deposit then only basic hand tools are need to do the test.

Now let’s get the top five things you should know before buying a Mazdaspeed.  

Maintenance is KEY, but that’s really not special to just the Mazdaspeed, all performance engines/vehicles, especially turbocharged and direct injected ones, will require a higher level of care and cost when it comes to routine maintenance.  This means better quality oils, oil filters, premium grade fuel, and an acute awareness of the vehicle itself; if you’re ready for that than let’s move on.

Next up are the three “not if it happens, but when it happens” about the Mazdaspeed engine.  

The variable valve timing (aka VVT) system is prone to failure from the factory so this should be on your radar for an upcoming replacement.  You may get lucky and find a car that has had the VVT system replaced, but I wouldn’t plan out. It’s a medium difficulty project that can be done over a weekend and cost around $400 in parts. If you are not mechanically inclined, it is going to be expensive to have a shop perform the work.

The poor little OEM K04 turbocharger just never had a chance on the 2.3L DISI MZR engine!  Sadly, the OEM turbocharger is an honest to gosh ticking time bomb. The OE turbo will fail at some point and need to be replaced.  Fortunately there are a lot of exciting options on the market to take you and your Speed to the next level. For example check out the CorkSport Drop-In Turbocharger.  It bolt’s in like OE, but packs a punch in the performance department, supporting up to 450 horsepower. Note: Updating your turbo requires tuning.

Lastly for the Mazdaspeed quirks; the high pressure fuel pump internals (HPFP).  Like the name states, these parts provide an upgrade for the camshaft driven high pressure fuel pump so your engine does not experience fuel starvation during wide open throttle (WOT). These are absolutely required if you plan to make in modifications to the engine that would increase power and for any performance tuning.  Honestly, we recommend the HPFP internals for 100% stock Mazdaspeed as well because the drop in fuel pressure is even an issue for stock cars.

So you read all that and you’re probably thinking “damn I’m not buying a Speed, sounds like a total PITA”.  Well hold on, I didn’t mean to shine a poor light on the Mazdaspeed platform, but it does have its quirks to overcome.  However, after those few concerns are taken care of the platform is A LOT of fun and probably one of the best bang-for-the-buck sport compacts available.  Just a few thousand dollars can net you a Mazdaspeed around 350whp and more smiles than you’ll know what to do with.

The last thing you need to know before you buy a Mazdaspeed…jump straight in and don’t look back because you won’t regret it.  From the late nights in the garage installing the latest performance parts, to the early mornings at the car show, and then the midnight highway pulls making V8s owners second guess their purchase. The community, the journey of building YOUR car, and of course the car itself is so awesome.  

-Barett

Mazda Hybrid?

Mazda 3 Hybrid??

I was looking at the Mazda Japan website the other day and noticed that there is now an option for a Mazda 3 gasoline hybrid listed.  Years ago Mazda announced that they were working with Toyota hybrid tech and this looks to be the result.

There isn’t a lot of detail listed with the description of the model so I decided to do a comparison of the Mazda 3 against the current model year of Prius as the 2 vehicles are most likely running the same hybrid drive setup.

Price:  With the current exchange rate the Mazda 3 hybrid is ~$23500 which is almost the same as the current Prius price shown of $23475.  You get more car with the Mazda 3 for the price and a car which handles like a car should. Win here for the Mazda.

Styling:  Right away I can tell you I prefer the styling of the Mazda 3 over the Batmobile inspired Prius which looks like someone used a late 50s Chevy and applied the styling.  

Fuel Economy: This one is the funniest thing and really shows where Mazda’s engine tech is beating all of the other manufacturers.  Toyota Prius 1.8 hybrid gets 56mpg in combined city/highway. Mazda 3 2.0 hybrid gets 63mpg. Caveat on this data, I took the economy listed on the Japanese page and converted it to MPG so they are not based on the same drive cycles.

If your Japanese skills are on point check out the landing page for the 2018 Mazda 3 Hybrid yourself here.  Just a note google translate won’t let you convert the page due to SSL from Mazda’s page.

So you are asking why do I care about a hybrid and in all honesty I probably won’t own one myself but if it does happen I prefer to at least own one that handles worth a crap and has decent driving dynamics.  I can’t say I have ever heard anyone raving about how good the chassis is in a Prius.

 

-Derrick