3D printing in the automotive industry has been used for a long time. It is used both to create prototypes of individual parts and entire cars, as well as for the production of car parts and entire cars (although there are always elements that cannot be printed with a 3D printer so far). Is the situation in which we go to a mechanic with a project ready to be printed or when we print such a part ourselves, a story straight from science fiction or a matter of the near future?
Why are many automotive manufacturers willing to use 3D technology? For what purposes is it most often used?
The use of 3D printing in the automotive industry
3D printing used in the automotive industry allows you to obtain results that would not be possible with traditional production technologies. Objects created by a 3D printer can be much lighter than those created with conventional methods. In this way, you can achieve, among other things, an improvement in the car’s performance and lower fuel consumption. 3D printing in the automotive industry also allows you to obtain complex shapes (also according to an individual order) with simultaneous precision of execution. 3D printing allows you to easily change the size and final form of the element, and we can also choose from a large number of production materials called filaments.
It seems that there are many advantages to using 3D printing in the automotive industry, right? It must therefore be added that all this is additionally done at lower costs than in the case of traditional methods. Neat, isn’t it?
3D printing in the automotive industry and prototyping
Prototyping is an area in which 3D printing is used on a relatively large scale, not only in the automotive industry.
Where does the popularity of 3D printing as a method used in prototyping come from?
- 3D printing allows for trouble-free testing of various configurations of the printed element,
- Printing does not take much time,
- 3D printing in the automotive industry gives the opportunity to experiment,
- Thanks to it, you can implement even the most innovative ideas,
- An additional advantage of using 3D printing in the automotive industry for prototyping is low cost.
Such solutions can be helpful, for example, when preparing to transport a horse. Many needs for which 3D printing can find a solution.
Examples of the use of 3D printing in the automotive industry
3D printing in the automotive industry is used not only in prototyping. It also allows you to:
- Printing custom tools and instruments used by car mechanics,
- Creating small objects that are included in the car’s equipment, such as plugs, fairings, door handles, as well as engine parts,
- Production of dashboards with any surface texture, mirror housings, cup holders, sun visors, or gear knobs for individual orders.
„3D car” sounds very modern. In addition, we hear about another car model printed in 3D technology almost every now and then, so it might seem that the question of when they will be available in showrooms like all other models is only a matter of time. A good industrial 3D printer can be used here, which will solve many problems and doubts thanks to a precisely prepared project and in the next step 3D printing.
So far, however, there is no car that would be 100% made in 3D technology.
The so-called 3D cars are models in which most of the parts were produced by this method, although of course we can assume that the development of this field will certainly allow it in the future.
Now let’s see which 3D cars have gained the most popularity:
- Urbee is a two-person vehicle with a futuristic look, which owes its 3D elements: the body and windows.
- Shuya is a two-seater electric car. It weighs less than 500 kg, and the maximum speed it can reach is 40 km / h. The materials used in its production (carbon and Tyrant Gold fibers) are extremely cheap, which is why it sells for $ 1,700.
- Blade is a car made of aluminum and carbon fiber, light and durable materials. Thanks to this, it is relatively light, weighing 635 kg. It only takes 2 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km / h.
- Strati is an electric car that was produced in less than two days. The dashboard, body and seats were created here in 3D technology. It’s also a two-seater car. It reaches a maximum speed of 60 km / h.
Speaking of cars, is it possible to print a mirror for observing a child in the car? Sure!
What application of 3D printing in the automotive industry do you know? What do you like and what do not? We are waiting for feedback on the forum.