As I continue working on my Pantera, I'm also considering the rarity and availability of some of the parts for this car. For example, the "electronic" part of the ignition switch itself is considered an incredibly rare piece that is difficult to find and sometimes fairly expensive when they do come up. Should this piece fail entirely, someone's going to be left with a non-running car if they can't find a replacement or rebuild theirs. As I continue making progress with the car, it's likely I'll find other parts that are simply not available anymore.

One of my side hobbies, other than working on rare Italian cars, is CNC machining and robotics. I've built from scratch, with no plans or blueprints, a complete 3D printer and a small CNC engraver for PCB milling. I am also somewhat fluent in Autodesk Inventor and Fusion360, making most of the plastic parts for my engraver using the 3D printer. I'm looking to get into slightly larger machining footprint and I wanted to gauge interest among the Pantera community here to see if there's any desire for my "reverse engineering" and prototyping replacement parts for these cars. I've been looking at the Tormach PCNC440 as a possible candidate for a benchtop CNC  machine suitable for small to midsized parts.

One of the first things I am interested in doing is to reverse engineer and prototype a drop in ignition switch replacement, milling the housing from high grade aluminum and the plastic parts from Delrin or some other suitably strong plastic, and using copper and brass for the electrical bits. The idea here is to turn out a part that can be simply remounted to the original, factory Pantera mechanical ignition assembly and wired in.

So what does the community think about this? If I started prototyping parts, would there be any interest from folks in purchasing them? What are some other small to mid sized parts that folks would be interested in?

 

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014A2F4B-CD73-479D-87CE-ECC08D790E0A I am glad there is someone in our community that has the interest and ability to address such a low volume reproduction process that you are suggesting.

 Personally, I have long envisioned a not so distant future where many homes have desk top 3-D printers, allowing simple replacement parts for appliances and other home items to be made in our own homes after the purchase of a one time use file.  But I digress ...

 You are correct that the ignition switch electrical harness is a critical part that is no longer being manufactured. That does not mean it is anywhere near to being unobtainable.  I made a small bulk purchase of new old stock pieces less than two years ago from a vendor in the UK. Prior to that another UK vendor had sold me approximately 60 pieces that I sold through the years.

 In addition to the original pieces, that electrical piece, remaining essentially the same except for the method of mounting to the lock cylinder portion,  was used on later Ford vehicles and those switches are even more readily available than the ones used in our cars.  I ‘think’  the later version’s internal pieces duplicate the early units,  so just creating a proper housing and swapping the guts from a new switch would be another method to create a Pantera-correct switch.

Please feel free to send a private message if you would like to discuss this issue privately.

Larry  

 

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I think this is a very commendable idea that should be supported by the Pantera community. Maybe the more knowledgeable members can suggest which parts might be worth rebuilding. You are obviously very talented and I for one, will be glad to purchase any parts I may need from you.

It is commendable that an individual is willing to make low volume parts, many of our existing vendors got into the market by exactly that means only to find that a hobby soon turns into a business and one can't live on zero profit. As example Pantera Parts Connection has a full shop with CNC milling and lathes etc. and is also Polymer Plastic Corp. with ability to make any part you desire.

Like Larry I have several of the ignition electrical parts as well as ignitions switches collected over the years. The electrical portion is often plagued by hardened grease rather than worn out and they are a simple refurbish. Parts are getting rarer but as many were sourced from Ford European models, they aren't too hard to find overseas if you care to look.

With more of an emphasis on stock and originality for resale in recent years, there is higher demand for oem parts.

I’m not really looking to turn this into a business or make piles of money off it. I have a full time job as a systems engineer already. This would be more of a “can I do it” exercise. The 3D printer I built was basically the same self imposed challenge and has gone through three motion system design variants. And it’s always exciting to take a chunk of raw material and turn out a usable part.

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