3D Printing in Automotive
Can you 3D print a car? Yes, it’s been done, and that’s not all. From gaskets to custom cabin features, interest in 3D printing in automotive is racing forward.
How is 3D printing used in Automotive?
Cars and motorcycles have a ton of small parts and pieces that work together to get you where you’re going. 3D-printed parts have introduced new ways these parts can perform, such as enhanced shock systems with vibration-dampening or more ergonomic features.
3D-printed parts used in engines need to have good heat resistance, while flexible, durable TPU can be used to make custom cabin accessories. You can design and print your own replacement cupholders, air vent clips or even rims. A 3D-printed piece for your ride can be just the right amount of flair or the perfect replacement for an essential part no longer in production.
While NinjaTek® filaments are perfect for thermoplastic 3D printing, there are also many advances in 3D printing metal for the auto industry using metal powders and SLS printing.
3D Printing Use Cases in Automotive
Anytime you can replace a metal car part with lightweight, durable plastic, you can save money and increase the vehicle’s performance. But beyond the parts themselves, 3D printing is used in a number of areas in the automotive industry.
Car Manufacturing: 3D printing technology is not just used on the car parts themselves but also the machinery and robotics along the assembly line, such as static-dissipative grippers for robotic arms.
Prototyping: Before green-lighting a new vehicle design, manufacturers are using 3D-printed material to fabricate fender prototypes and other parts as a proof-of-concept.
Vintage Car Parts: If you’ve ever fixed up an old car, you know that parts can be difficult or even impossible to find … and they’re expensive. With 3D printing, you can print the parts at home for a fraction of the time and cost. It also gives at-home mechanics the freedom to work on their own cars and farm equipment without taking them into a shop and paying overhead for labor.
Remote Control Car Tires: With 3D printing, you can customize your RC car tires or tweels (tire and a wheel combo) to take on any terrain, from off-road racing to the robot battle arena.
NinjaTek® Filaments in Automotive
Our filaments perform with flexibility and durability, whether it’s improving on your assembly line, enhancing ergonomics in the cab or defeating your opponents in a robot battle.
FAQs about 3D Printing in Automotive
What’s the future of 3D printing in automotive?
We can already choose our car’s exterior paint color and interior features, but one day we might be able to customize our entire car dashboard and have it 3D printed unique to the vehicle. As more car manufacturers explore the possibilities of 3D printing, it will open a lot of doors in design and performance.
Can you 3D print a car?
Believe it or not, yes! Local Motors has succeeded in 3D printing a car. Until there’s a day when we can print ourselves a new ride on the fly, most hobbyists and small companies can explore 3D printing technology through individual car parts and prototypes.
3D Printing by Industry
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