I found some rapid prototyping services that might be useful. As long as you have a solid CAD model, you can have them print out a part. Print out a cutaway of a piston design to check for clearances. A rocker arm design to check geometry and clearances. A functional oil baffle for rocker arms. A miniature cutaway engine. Beware: it's addictive.
American Precision Prototyping
Both websites give you instant quotes online. American Precision Prototyping is geared more toward engineers, while Shapeways is geared more toward designers and artists. APP may be more expensive up front, but they build economy of scale into their models. I recently found that the total price for 4 of a design was cheaper than ordering 1. Shapeways will be cheaper up front, but for more than 2 of a given part, it'll go up. One thing I found with APP is that they can print out a material that melts at 140F, so you can use it to make investment castings.
Final note: Keep an eye on scale and units. More than once I've gone to checkout and realized I printed a 1:1000 or 1000:1 scale part. I eventually bought Accutrans to help with scaling, but I've heard STL models created by SolidWorks will work if done correctly.
Here's a picture of a bike wheel prototype I made. It's a 1:2 scale cutaway model.
Tech questions that don't fit above forums
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