While 3D printing is moving virtually every industry forward, it’s having an especially profound effect on the industry that moves us forward: Automotive. It’s not just about transforming the way cars are designed, 3D printing is impacting the manufacturing processes and, in some cases, producing final vehicle parts.
Today cars and motorcycles are being designed “from the ground up” using 3D printing as it becomes an integral part of the concept process. New innovative parts – small and large – are prototyped on 3D printers, allowing their creators to see, touch and test them within hours. That means better designed vehicles can be brought to market faster – a powerful advantage in such a competitive industry.
Car manufacturers are also leveraging 3D printing to create the customized jigs and fixtures used to build the cars on the assembly line, producing them at a fraction of the time and cost of conventional metal tools.
But it gets even better. Some auto manufacturers are describing a future where customers will be able to print their own replacement parts from posted files.
In an unusual twist, 3D printing is also allowing car enthusiasts of all stripes to make their own concept car models. Porsche and Honda have recently shared STL files of car designs, granting the public the rights to 3D print at home!
In the days ahead we’re going to peek behind the curtains of the automotive and motorcycle design and manufacturing process and learn how contemporary trends (such as the use of alternative fuels) are being integrated with help from 3D printers.
Even race vehicles are being refined with 3D printing technology. So buckle up and enjoy the ride!