Defeat Thieves With 3D Printed Stolen Logos

A 3D printed replacement logo for a BMW

This application of 3D printing resonates strongly with me, and it may with you as well: replacing a stolen logo.

Devin Montes of the Make Anything // 3D Printing channel on YouTube posted his experience of replacing a BMW logo stolen off of his prized 1999 vehicle. 

 Logo stolen from the BMW!
Logo stolen from the BMW!

This type of theft is surprisingly common; it happened to me more than once. In each case I was forced to either drive my “unbranded” vehicle or pay the manufacturer a ridiculous amount of money for a replacement logo that snaps back onto the vehicle. Back then, 3D printing your own replacement was not an option, but it certainly is now. 

In the video, Montes explains in great detail how to go about the process

 Measuring the replacement logo size
Measuring the replacement logo size

As always, the process begins with measuring the original to determine the replacement size. 

 A contour tool determines the exact shape required to replace the BMW logo
A contour tool determines the exact shape required to replace the BMW logo

Montes uses a “contour tool” to capture the general shape of the missing logo. 

 3D modeling the replacement BMW logo in Solidworks
3D modeling the replacement BMW logo in Solidworks

Then it’s on to modeling in Solidworks using the publicly available BMW logo imported into the modeling tool. 

Eventually, Montes was able to create a suitable design that was printed in PLA on his Replicator 2. After some sanding to reduce the visible layers and application of primer and paint, Montes arrived at a version that matched the style and color of his 1999 vehicle. 

Which was then applied to the car hood with some epoxy. 

It’s not clear how long the biodegradable PLA will last, as it’s being used in a tough outdoor venue. But if it fails – or is re-stolen – he can simply make another one. 

While Montes succeeded in his experiment, I suspect a great many people could also use this approach to recover their stolen logos. 

It would be terrific if a selection of popular logos were made available in online 3D model repositories for printing in this way, so that those unable to complete the 3D modeling parts could still get the job done. 

However, that’s highly unlikely as the brand owners, such as BMW in this case, would protest their trademarked property in this way and insist on those seeking replacement to purchase the official versions from their local dealer. It’s also possible to purchase third party versions on public sites like eBay, which seem to be priced in the USD$5-10 range. 

That’s not expensive, but it’s certainly more fun to make your own. 

Via YouTube

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