3D Printing in Automoblie Manufacturing
By: Eric Franck
While most manufacturers will not be printing a finished product, many will use additive and subtractive process to produce prototypes. Manufacturers who adopt 3D printing typically utilize rapid prototyping for design and fit validation. Read through or watch our companion video below!
At the Source
The automotive industry has been rapidly advancing over the past couple of years. Electric vehicles have disrupted the market becoming increasingly mainstream and gasoline vehicles have strived to become more efficient, in order to compete. Unfortunately, innovation comes at a price. Rising development cost have forced manufacturers to search for alternative- affordable, quicker, and safer methods of development. Today, automobile manufactures use additive and subtractive manufacturing for prototyping and production products.
Research & Development
While most manufactures will not be printing a finished product, many will use additive and subtractive process to produce prototypes. These manufacturers utilize rapid prototyping for design and fit validation. CAD model testing alone is not enough to discern possible fatal design flaws no matter the simulation. Prototypes allow testing and fitment without the high manufacturing cost of a final design. This method of manufacturing also allows for car enthusiasts to design, print, and implement cosmetic parts into their vehicles, such as headlights, taillights, antennas, and even dashboard components.
Makers in the community make what they need to suit their needs, all3dp.com showcased an article on a company named “Eventuri”. The founders at Eventuri wanted to do something about the disappointment caused by untrustworthy manufacturers when buying mass produced car parts. Eventuri’s goal of customer satisfaction promises that every model designed is meticulously tested and remodeled if any element is poorly made, or could use improvement, until it performs how Eventuri envisions.
Can I do this?
As you’re reading you may be saying, “This is only for big companies with lots of money.” You would be wrong in that case, even entry level car guys can make 3D printed items for their cars. Many vintage car collectors have designed, and 3D printed spare parts for their old vehicles.
This collector took his 3D printer and made windshield wiper caps that are no longer manufactured to put onto his car. Many other makers have made similar or more complex models of parts. Some more advanced car gurus have even made custom mounting cases for extra gauges and accessories.
Go for it!
There are no hard-set boundaries in what you can make when you have the resources available, just because it hasn’t been done before or is not the popular idea. There's no harm in trying an idea. If you need a wiring harness, try designing one, it could be the next big thing to expand the industry. Additive manufacturing only expands with those who want it to succeed.