Upgrading the Cobb AccessPort A-Pillar Mount for Extreme Summer Heat

Since releasing my Cobb AccessPort A-Pillar Mount a year and a half ago in December 2019, out of the 60+ happy customers who have purchased it, a handful of customers have contact me that their A-Pillar Mount deformed when they left the mount attached while the car was parked in the heat of summer. 

Cars Get HOT!

As anyone who lives somewhere that experiences hot summer days is familiar with, car interior temperatures can get extremely hot. According to researchers at Stanford, on a 95°F day, interior car temps can climb to 129°F within 30 minutes. Another study agreed with that and added that after 60 minutes the car interior temps climbed to 138°F.

The material I mostly use for my products is PETG, which has a glass transition temperature point of around 150°F. That’s the temperature at which the material begins getting soft and is prone to deformation. Normally, this is plenty high enough temperature for my products, however with the A-Pillar mount being positioned right between the windshield and the dash, in the direct sunlight, and with the long weight-bearing shape of the arm, it’s easy to see how the summer heat might sometimes be just a bit too much for PETG tolerances.

Switching Materials

To resolve this, I took three actions. First was to send free replacement parts to those customers. Second was to advise customers to remove the mount when the car is parked in the extreme summer heat. Third was to begin working on printing this part in a stronger material such as ABS and ASA.

Making parts with 3D Printing has its challenges, but printing with ABS material presents additional challenges to overcome. Unlike PETG, ABS material requires being printed within an enclosed and heated chamber and at higher temperatures. If the ABS print starts cooling unevenly during the print, it will warp and deform before it’s finished printing, ruining the part. ABS also releases toxic volatile compounds into the air while the part is being printed, so a filtration system is needed to remove the toxins from the air. So I did this, constructing my own enclosure and filtration system. Similarily, ASA also needs an enclosure and filter, although these are less of a concern.

My A-Pillar Mount has been very popular, so I’m very pleased now to be able to offer it now with this upgraded material with stronger heat resistance. All orders since 5/30/21 include the upgraded part, and anyone who purchased prior to 5/30/21 can order an upgrade here. Because the part quality has been enhanced and there is additional work to produce it, I’ve increased the price slightly to accommodate.

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