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Old 04-19-2021, 08:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Pontiac vibe owners

Hey folks, I have a gen 1 vibe with oem 16" wheels. I've been wondering if 3D printed plugs for the slots in the wheels would improve the aerodynamics and improve fuel economy. What do people think, and if it would work would anybody be interested in getting this thing going?

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Old 04-19-2021, 09:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This sounds like a 3D printer question more than a Pontiac Vibe question.

Actually a photogrammetry question. How do you propose to get a model of the part required. It is possible to take multiple pictures with a smart phone and generate a point cloud. Then software exists to remesh the triangulated point clouds down to quads that define the features. Then onward to the slicer.

Else one could make a clay plug in the slot and measure it with a caliper and model the part that way.

'Improve fuel economy' implies a positive ROI. Do you have a printer?
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Old 04-20-2021, 01:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I mentioned Pontiac Vibe because if there is enough interested people we could try to get this thing off the ground. These fillers are specific to those Wheels. I do not have a 3D printer but our library charges $0.10 a gram that's not too bad. I was also wondering if there's a way to make a mold and have rubber plugs made in a simple way. I just threw this out there for people to ponder had to see if anybody would be interested. I also saw someone mentioned in the Mad mechanics site on how to use a Kinect camera to make 3D models.
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Old 04-20-2021, 11:59 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Are you looking to do four wheels or productizing something to sell to other Vibe owners?

A quick image search finds straight and spun five-spokes and eight-spoke variants.
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Old 04-20-2021, 12:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If this is something you want to sell to other Vibe owners, I think the effort would be wasted.
If they bought a Vibe, then they were most likely wanting some sort if small SUV ( CUV ? ) like vehicle, and fuel economy would be low on their list of priorities.
If this is for yourself, I still feel the effort would be wasted.
Filling plugs in wheels will not make a big difference in drag. It does have an effect, but on SOME DESIGNS of wheels, the effect is next to nothing, and can be even worse that no gaps at all.

I would test first.
You could close off the gaps using duct tape, ( on both sides of the wheel so it sticks to itself ) and see if you see a difference.
I'm guessing that you will see no change at all, except for a sticky mess.
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Old 04-20-2021, 03:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I would never recommend duct tape. duckduckgo.com/?q=aluminum+tape
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Old 04-20-2021, 07:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freebeard View Post
I would never recommend duct tape. duckduckgo.com/?q=aluminum+tape
Even on a wheel in motion ?
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Old 04-20-2021, 09:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Sure. Mainly because the adhesive is easier to clean up. From the link I provided:
Quote:
Aluminum Foil Tapes - Grainger Industrial Supply
https://www.grainger.com/category/ad...&filters=attrs
Aluminum Foil Tapes 263 products Metal foil tape has a metal backing and a strong adhesive that conform to curves and uneven surfaces. The metal backing is reflective, UV resistant, and thermally conductive.
I was just outside where I pulled some aluminized duct tape off a window. The aluminum foil had separated and the cloth and adhesive had turned to dust. Adhesive dust. It will take a solvent to remove.

The aluminum tape is 10-100x thicker with no cloth reinforcement. Try it you might like it. I got a partial roll at Goodwill. I see prices vary --upwards-- possibly different thicknesses.

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