3D technology involves creating a part or object from layers of powdered material which is spread and then solidified with a laser. The machine which produces the part is controlled by a computer which reads a CAD file and prints it according to the instructions. 3D printing can be accomplished with a number of materials, processes, colors, and finishes to create the exact pieces that are needed.
3D printing has influenced a number of modern industries, from creating lighter and stronger airplane parts to unique and customizable chess pieces. Technology seems to have an application in nearly every area of our day-to-day lives.
The wide availability of 3D printing methods has significant implications in the automotive world as well. Custom parts can be designed and printed in large or small quantities with the same amount of work. Obsolete pieces can be ordered for auto restoration jobs. The possibilities are endless!
Advantages of 3D Printing for Automotive, Car Manufacturers
Producing automotive parts with additive manufacturing technology has many advantages for the consumer. With JawsTec, a customer who orders 3D printed car parts can expect high quality parts, efficient and fast orders, reduced costs, customization, and personalization capabilities, and rapid prototyping for projects.
Because of the simplicity of ordering, producing, and shipping 3D printed parts, customers can often expect their parts within 1-2 weeks. This is usually significantly faster than traditional production times and can be a valuable factor for many companies as well as individual enthusiast. Faster delivery of quality parts can be the difference between success and failure in a project. Additively manufactured parts require less manpower to produce, as well as being more energy and material efficient. Together, these factors result in a reduced cost of 3D printed parts in most scenarios.
Another advantage of 3D printing parts is the customization and personalization aspect. For many car companies and hobbyists, a part can be exclusive and difficult to attain in exactly the right size, quantity, or color. This issue can be remedied by 3D printing the necessary parts. Additionally, unique items like spoilers, air vents, or similar upgrades can be produced and customized for a fun project. An entire car has even been produced using 3D printed parts, demonstrating just how applicable 3D printing can be to the automotive industry.
Finally, a big advantage of 3D printing for car developers is the aspect of rapid prototyping. When testing and experimenting with a new model or part, it can be highly advantageous to be able to change and adjust the CAD file between tests. Not only are the changes easy to make, but the test pieces can be ordered and received within a few weeks in many cases. These aspects of development, production, and delivery are essential to many automotive companies and can all be achieved with additive manufacturing technology.
As stated before, producing custom and replacement parts for cars is a useful application of 3D printing capabilities. They are easy to design and produce, making customization and replacement of parts accomplishable for the individual and the company.
Since additive manufacturing involves lightweight, non-toxic, recyclable, and mostly sustainable materials like polypropylene, it can be considered a green industry. This means that car parts that are 3D printed are environmentally friendly and can help reduce the carbon footprint. This sustainability helps meet requirements set up by Europe, Japan, and the United States for automobile manufacturers.
New Vehicles – Toyota, Ford, Volkswagen, BMW
Many leading car companies, like BMW, work with companies such as JawsTec in leading the development of additive manufacturing for the automobile industry. BMW is in the process of increasing the use of additively manufactured parts in its cars. In Germany, they are developing new cars for pushing the industry further in connectivity and the software-defined vehicle market. In the past, they have created door handles, cover mounts, wheel rims, and similar structures with the aid of 3D printing. They continue to innovate such applications today for their electric vehicles, light trucks, and new software for real-time best experience. Ford Motor Company also utilizes additive manufacturing technologies in their newer vehicles. They have designed letterings, custom vehicle details, and prototypes for cars. They have plans to use 3D printing capabilities in future designs as well. Besides big-name companies, 3D printing car parts is useful for hobbyists and automobile renovators as well. Individuals can design and print the exact pieces they need for personal projects, like restoring a classic vehicle. The options in material, color, and finishes present a way for anyone to receive just what they want for their automobile ventures.
Limitations of 3D Printing for Vehicles
Although there is a multitude of benefits in 3D printing automotive parts, there are some limitations too. Sometimes, especially in large-scale production, quality control, and consistency can be an issue. This can be helped by carefully examining the parts before use and conducting tests on the soundness of the parts.
Another difficulty for additively manufacturing car parts is high volume production. This can be an issue because the necessary parts may be so large that they take a long time to print and post-process. Among other difficulties, some files can be hard to scale for large orders.
Finally, as this is a cutting-edge manufacturing technology, the act of additive manufacturing for automobile parts in currently being regulated and standardized. This is especially important for companies producing automobiles since the safety of drivers and passengers is clearly a concern. While 3D printing car parts is a great step in the manufacturing technology world, it is still in the development stage, especially concerning regulations and rules.
Automotive’s Future of 3D Printing – EV, Mobility, Hybrid
As 3D printing technology advances, so must the applications, capabilities, and regulations. In the future, 3D printing may be combined with other types of automotive manufacturing, possibly resulting in commercially available cars produced entirely with additive manufacturing.
Another possible development for the future is the compatibility of 3D printing and AI or IoT. Artificial Intelligence could connect, operate, or control 3D printed car parts in ways we can only imagine. The Internet of Things could work in the same way, combining technology with additive manufacturing, and resulting in a whole new type of vehicle.
What’s Your Conclusion? Automotive 3D Printing
In conclusion, additively manufacturing automotive parts is a constantly revolving industry that reflects each new development in technology. With 3D printing, parts can be easily designed, quickly produced, and immediately implemented. Prototypes are easier to test and rework than ever before, giving manufacturers a competitive edge. Many car brands today are utilizing this technology, as are individual hobbyists. In the future, combining multiple technologies may result in completely new vehicle production and entirely reimagined cars.
Finally, from car enthusiasts to professional auto manufacturers, everyone should look for more ways to utilize 3D printing technology in their projects. Boosting efficiency, profits, and creativity are only some of the ways that additive manufacturing can aid in vehicle production. To get started in this revolutionary industry, visit JawsTec’s instant quote page today!