In the past, 3D printing technology was merely a prototyping tool – and actually, it still is. But today, it has broken ground in the car manufacturing sector. 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. Of course, this is possible, thanks to the consistent development of 3D printing materials and technologies.
So what makes 3D printing advantageous for the car industry?
More Efficient Iteration Process During Prototyping
First, 3D printing is a quick prototyping technology that is currently used in several fields. Quick prototype construction makes a large positive impact when it comes to the efficiency of the car manufacturing 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 constantly looking for new methods of cutting the weight of their products. 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. Applying the right optimization, a part’s weight could go down by up to 90%. Either the manufacturer reduces the weight of each part installed, or they reduce the total number of structures to be installed in order to create a more efficient design.
Less Material Loss
With 3D printing, parts can be constructed per layer. Hence, manufacturers only use how much of the material they need to build a particular car component. This is referred to as subtractive manufacturing: you would have lost material, which is not very sustainable and rather costly. The process is even more economical with metal materials. Indeed, avoiding additional costs for wasted material can be a real game changer when you tlak about production processes.
Customized 3D Printed Cars
A lot of car lovers actually like customizing their cars to make them very unique. This customization can be done on the vehicle’s external or internal design features, or both. But being a special order, this will of course have a cost for car manufacturers. 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 do you do? With 3D scanning combined with additive manufacturing, rare spare parts can be reproduced and even optimized anytime.