Ford Showcases 3D Printed Shift Knob That Teaches You How To Drive And Save Fuel

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News Posted: Sat, Jul 27 2013 7:59 AM
Make no mistake: the world is 3D printing has become an incredibly interesting one, and one that's growing at breakneck pace. What was once a hobby for high-end science labs has quickly become a favorite amongst average consumers, and now, companies far and wide. Ford has just published a video showing an engineer building a vibrating shift knob using just a 3D printer and an Xbox 360 controller. The point? To create an intelligent shift knob that helps people learn how to drive a manual vehicle, and it also is designed to vibrate when one should shift in order to save the most fuel.


It's built on Ford's OpenXC software platform, and it's a tremendous example of what's possible when it comes to taking 3D printing to the next level. There's no clear time table as to when we'll see this available on commercialized cars, but one thing seems certain: the aftermarket community is about to get a boost. 3D printed shift knobs for your new ride? Seems like a new business venture.

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AlexHaley replied on Sat, Jul 27 2013 9:28 AM

Thats intense! The future of 3D printing seems to be a bright one, i wonder what other great things will come from it.

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Read the book Makers by Cory Doctorow. He envisions a crazy future all predicated on 3d printing. It as very good hard sci-fi book.

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Aoshi replied on Sat, Jul 27 2013 2:02 PM

Cool idea! I don't see much about a price however! It doesn't take too long to use manual shift using the clutch.  However if this could be used to nail down the timing when you can switch without a clutch I would be impressed.  Since that is pretty difficult for me.

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Clixxer replied on Sat, Jul 27 2013 2:33 PM

Pretty awesome even if they used Ford software heh. I can't wait till next year when 3D Printers are gonna be costing as much as a tablet or smartphone. It is gonna be one cool toy to play with.

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Driving shift isn't hard at all to begin with, but if we can get rid of manuals this way, I would appreciate it.

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Clixxer replied on Sat, Jul 27 2013 5:59 PM

Mayhem, are you one of those people who like the "semi-automatic" transmissions with the shifter paddles?

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Inspector replied on Sat, Jul 27 2013 6:28 PM

This is pretty awesome, it would be pretty cool to have the info there. Showing the gear you are in is nice :D.

Mayhem, you have it all wrong. This is the complete opposite lol, it promotes learning manual.

Aoshi, what you mean by "switch with out a clutch"? Thats bad no matter how good your timing is.

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realneil replied on Sat, Jul 27 2013 7:51 PM

Lots of older big rigs shift without a clutch once they're rolling. Upshift and down.

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sevags replied on Sat, Jul 27 2013 8:12 PM

That's a really great idea not sure why no one did this before!!!! The shift knob that is!!! The 3D printing part of this news seems to be really weak and pointless, who cares how the plastic shift knob was made it doesn't matter if 3D printed, injection molded, carved out of a block of aluminum, who cares!!!!! It's the tech of this knob that's important not how the shell was made...

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rhudyct replied on Sat, Jul 27 2013 9:05 PM

A girl I used to date would redline EVERY time before she would shift...people like her really need this shift knob.

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Clixxer replied on Sat, Jul 27 2013 11:17 PM

realneil:

Lots of older big rigs shift without a clutch once they're rolling. Upshift and down.

Yep, that who taught me was a fuel driver from Love's what he just called "slick" shifting. Although last time he got a new rig it was automatic.

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Inspector replied on Sun, Jul 28 2013 12:25 AM

Thats totally different from personal cars lol. Plus you can still do it on personal cars, its just not good for the engine.

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Clixxer replied on Sun, Jul 28 2013 12:53 PM

Eh if done right it shouldn't hurt it. From what I have been told is that if you aren't forcing it and done right and quickly it doesn't matter since at the right speeds everything lines up. Granted using the clutch is best policy but my first car was a Ford Ranger with a 5 speed and I drove like that probably 60-70% of the time driving to school or wherever. I got the car at about 110,000 miles and it wasn't until I hit 186,000 that I replaced the original clutch.

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