3D printing is widely known for producing small parts and objects, usually associated with hobbies. However, it is starting to make a big splash in major manufacturing industries, including auto manufacturing.
Customizing Auto Parts
3D printing near-infinite customization allows for many opportunities with auto design. Every 3D-printed auto part is based on a CAD model. The 3D printer will follow this design perfectly every time.
Besides customization, 3D printing can also create auto parts with unique angles and curves that are not possible using more traditional manufacturing methods. There are many excellent, structurally viable 3D printed auto part designs that can now be created.
Printing 3D Automotive Part Prototypes
Some companies and universities are experimenting with using 3D printing and advanced software to create auto parts that are the optimal shape and weight to maximize fuel efficiency. So far, many of these designs are solely experimental, but 3D printing sees practical use for rapid prototyping.
Rapid prototyping is vital for automotive design because it allows automotive engineers to try out new parts quickly to see if they fit the rest of their automobile design or make practical sense for drivers. 3D printing produces single products very quickly, usually in a matter of hours, for a relatively low cost. 3D printing is also used to create scale models of vehicles during the design process to test their aerodynamics in a wind tunnel. This rapid production helps accelerate the timeline for new car designs to get to market.
3D Printing a Working Vehicle?
Can you 3D print a working car? Mostly, though, you will have to assemble it piece by piece. 3D printing metal car parts is very much possible with printers that use a sintering technique that fuses layers of metal powder. It would take careful design and industrial printers to produce every part of a car, but 3D printed custom car parts are far more doable using the same principles.
As 3D printing becomes better and better for mass production, it is undoubtedly going to continue changing the auto manufacturing industry. At Jawstec, we’re following these developments closely and are happy to offer many of the same 3D printing services you’ll find at large auto manufacturers for your custom car part designs. Whether you’re looking to work on a plan for your hobby car, creating a prototype for a new product to sell, or want to try your hand at auto part design, we are more than happy to help. Contact us today for a 3D print quote!