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Friday, November 25, 2011

3D printing: Difference Engine: Making it | The Economist

JAY Leno, the most popular talk-show host on American television, has one of the best collections of old cars and motorbikes in the United States. He keeps them in a large garage in the San Fernando Valley, down the road from the NBC studios in Burbank, California, where “The Tonight Show” is taped.

Mr Leno is an admirable collector. His vehicles are not trophies for show, but curious examples that he likes to put in running order—so he can drive or ride them himself and enjoy the essence of a bygone age. A crew of professional mechanics is on hand to help restore and maintain the vehicles. Parts that have become obsolete are fabricated on the premises, using a battery of computerised tools that any machine shop would be proud to possess.

In a monthly column he writes about his motoring passion for Popular Mechanics, Mr Leno recently described how his “Big Dog Garage Team” fabricated a feedwater heater for his 1907 White Steamer. The aluminium part had become so porous with age that steam could be seen seeping through. Being heavily impregnated with oil, patching it up by welding a plate in place was impossible. The answer was to fabricate the part anew.

3D printing: Difference Engine: Making it | The Economist

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