The Road to the 3D Printed Car: How 3D Printing is Transforming the Automotive Industry

October 15, 2021

3D printing has long been an integral component of the automotive industry’s research and development, even if you can’t buy one from a dealership any time soon. However, 3D car models printing applications have just begun to spread throughout the manufacturing sector. 

The use of 3D character model printing in supply chains can open a wide range of new manufacturing possibilities. Companies may now bring additive manufacturing in-house to assist operations on the factory floor since the 3D graphics printing technology is becoming more practical and inexpensive. High-precision, functional 3D printers that can replace final parts and enable customization and high performance are now possible, thanks to new, durable materials, but this is just the beginning. 

3D car model printing in the automobile sector has traditionally been used for prototyping. Rapid prototyping has become nearly synonymous with 3D printing because of the technology’s greatly improved speed for prototypes utilizing 3D printing. The product development process has been transformed as a result. 

In automotive design, the use of 3D car model printing makes it possible to swiftly build prototypes of actual physical parts or assemblies, such as an interior element, the instrument panel, or even scale models of whole automobiles. With rapid prototyping, organizations may quickly convert concepts into working prototypes. These concepts can then be developed into high-fidelity prototypes that closely resemble the final product and ultimately steer items through several validation phases towards mass manufacturing. This fast validation is critical in the automobile sector because of the high stakes involved. It may be highly costly to stop an automobile production line for even an hour.

When it comes to creating unique components at a lower cost, 3D printing is excellent. This gives manufacturers more flexibility in what they may create and sell to their clients. 

3D printing auto parts has provided ways to push the quality and creativity of their work for smaller companies that place “custom” at their core, such as custom car shops. It has provided vital room for experimenting with and perfecting custom designs without worrying about the potential costs and time-intensive manufacturing processes that are otherwise associated with customization. Now days many custom shops use free 3D car models from companies like Frogmodel to print broken parts of a vehicle. It makes their jobs lot easier.

A growing number of large corporations are using a combination of 3D printing technology and more traditional methods. 

Volkswagen re-created the famous Microbus of 1962, using an electric motor with a 120-horsepower and 173-pound-foot torque using 3D car model printing. 3D printed elements, such as generatively designed cast-aluminum wheels, are used in various upgrades of the “Type 20” concept car. The hubcaps were 3D printed using a Formlabs SLA printer and then electroplated to mimic metal parts despite their stamped steel appearance. 

Classics and show models aren’t the only uses for 3D car model printing. 

British carmaker MINI has used 3D printing and Twikit’s customization software to offer mass personalization services for their vehicles, allowing customers complete design freedom. Customers may choose from various typefaces, patterns, and pictures to personalize the interior and outside of their vehicle, and they can see their changes in 3D for free and that free 3D car model will be printed to help while making the original production. Cost savings made possible by modular 3D printed components are critical for the project’s market feasibility since they have made customization accessible to the general population. 

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