Project NSX: Part 9 – Designing, Fitting and Testing a 3D Printed Door Card Frame

We designed and 3D printed a stronger NSX Center Door Frame out of necessity, and solving a much-needed problem.

In the tech article Make Your Own Parts with Shareware CAD & 3D Printing! we told the story of how I had the passenger center NSX Door Frame laser scanned and then taught myself how to use CAD and 3D printing to design and print the missing driver’s side center door frame since only the passenger side was available from Japan.  With the design freedom of CAD, I then made the door tabs stronger and refined the design after numerous destructive tests.

This is important because NSXs are now between 15-30 years old and the plastic door frames that hold the leather-covered door card to the aluminum door are notorious for breaking over time, even if they have never been removed to repair or replace the window regulators or door speakers.  Both of which are also common issues in the NSX and will need to be addressed sooner or later.  It’s becoming pretty rare to find an NSX with the original door frame mounting tabs intact and replacements need to be special-ordered.  Unfortunately, the poor OEM design will only last so long before breaking again.  Until now.

Acura NSX Door Card Door Frame

The NSX’s fiberboard door card is attached to the aluminum door via a three-piece plastic door frame: Rear, Center/Lower, and a large Front section that houses the door-mounted A/C vents and side window defroster.

Acura NSX cracked door frame

The plastic tabs often break at the mounting hole itself or at the base of the tab due to the tight radius, crack-propagating edges.

Acura NSX broken door frame tabs

The rear door frame section sees a lot of abuse.  The two inboard tabs were broken off on the passenger side.

NSX broken door frame tabs

Only one of the top mounting tabs was holding the entire rear frame on the passenger door.

Acura NSX broken door frame tabs

There are fewer outboard tabs that mount the entire assembly to the metal door than there are inboard tabs that mount the frame to the door card.  Needless to say, when all of the tabs at the rear corner are missing like this, the security of the door is not very good and the car does not feel that ‘solid’.

Table of Contents:

Page 1 – Problem: Broken Door Frame Tabs
Page 2 – Broken Tabs Con’t & New OEM Front & Rear
Page 3 – Replacing Front & Rear Frames, Laser Scanning
Page 4 – Drawing & Designing Door Frames
Page 5 – 3D Printing Door Frames
Page 6 – Test Fitting & Destructive Testing
Page 7 – Redesigning NSX Door Frame & Finished Product

2 comments

  1. Have you looked into black PEI like ULTEM9085? It’s pretty amazing for a FDM material. We have a lot of parts made with it, but we aren’t printing it ourselves so I don’t know if it’s something limited to the very expensive commercial/industrial printers.

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