In the past, 3D printing technology was merely a prototyping tool – and actually, it still is. However, it’s also now being used in car manufacturing. This is now acknowledged as a major manufacturing technology, going beyond the construction of prototypes. Not only manufacturers but consumers as well are now dreaming of fully 3D printed cars. This is definitely possible, thanks to the continuous development of 3D printing materials and technologies.
So what benefits does 3D printing offer to the the automotive industry?
Speedier Iteration During Prototyping
First off, 3D printing is a fast prototyping technology that is now used in various fields. Fast prototype construction makes a huge and positive difference for any car manufacturer seeking a more efficient product development process. Using 3D printing can be a sure way to attain this goal, as it constructs parts quickly at an affordable cost compared to earlier prototyping procedures.
Car manufacturers are always learning new methods of reducing their product’s weight. The lighter a car is, the less fuel it consumes, and that makes it more environment-friendly. Reducing the weight of a car requires optimizing its parts’ designs. The right optimization can lower a part’s weight by up to 90%. Either lighter structures are installed, thanks to innovative design patterns like lattices, or the total number of car parts is reduced to make a more efficient design.
Less Material Loss
The technology behind 3D printing allows you to build a part layer by layer. In other words, manufacturers only use the exact amount of material that will be needed for a specific part or component. This is called subtractive manufacturing, where you would have lost material, which is less sustainable and entails some financial cost. The process turns out to be even cheaper overall when applied to metals. Indeed, avoiding extra costs for wasted material can be a huge game changer in terms of production.
Customized 3D Printed Cars
A lot of car lovers actually like customizing their cars to make them very unique. Such customization may done either internally, externally or both. But as expected, being a special order, this will entail a certain cost for car makers. With 3D printing, they are able to make a single version of a model, and it will not be a big deal.
Easy Part Replacement
Finally, if certain car parts are broken, replacing them may be difficult, especially if they are old model and may no longer be in production. So what’s there for you to do? With 3D scanning combined with additive manufacturing, rare spare parts can be reproduced and even optimized anytime.