High-end 3D printing (aka, additive manufacturing) is fast becoming a fixture in the automotive design process. Now some car companies are trying to use the growing interest in consumer 3D printing to promote their car designs and manufacturing processes.
The latest company to draw a connection between their car designs and 3D printing is Honda Motor Co., Ltd., which recently released the 3D data for the exterior designs of several previously-released concept models as part of its “Honda 3D Design Archives,” campaign. The 3D-printable STL models, based on version 4.0 of Creative Commons licenses, can be downloaded from the Web, allowing interested parties to use their personal 3D printer to create their own novelty version of Honda’s concept cars. Continue reading
This year was an interesting one for additive manufacturing (AM), with plenty of big moves inside the industry and hints of upcoming changes to the landscape from without. Medical uses for 3D printing really started to gather steam, with prosthetics being one of the largest areas of development. In 2013, we also saw a general shift in AM from a pure prototyping tool to an increase in end-use production.
Stratasys moved into the home 3D printer arena with its acquisition of MakerBot in June. That particular move, along with the merger with Objet in 2012, helped Stratasys to diversify its portfolio, branching out into areas of AM in which the company previously had little or no presence. Continue reading
As the standard of living grows in countries like China and India, one of the first luxury items many individuals want to purchase is their own automobile. As more and more cars hit the road around the world, fuel consumption will increase drastically, potentially leading to fuel shortages. A couple billion cars could also propel negative environmental changes through the sheer volume of waste produced.
It seems fairly certain at this point that electric cars are part of the solution to this dilemma. The Urbee (Rapid Ready coverage) is a small, environmentally friendly vehicle being developed to address the fuel and environmental issues caused by traditional automobiles. It also happens to use additive manufacturing (AM), specifically ABS plastic, for its body. For the second iteration of the vehicle, the Urbee 2, KOR EcoLogic and GrabCAD have initiated an insignia design challenge open to anyone with a talent for design. Continue reading
In the course of my diligent efforts to keep you good people up to date on the state of additive manufacturing (AM), I come across many interesting news items. I’ll gather them up every so often and present them in a Rapid Ready Roundup (like this one). You can find the last Roundup here.
I don’t usually like to report on unsubstantiated rumors, but this one has been making the rounds long enough I suspect it likely has some validity. Word on the street is that Apple is looking to get into the 3D printing game. If that’s true, I almost think they’ve missed the boat by not acquiring MakerBot when it was still up for grabs. Continue reading
I hear it all the time, and read it in comments. “3D printing is great, but it’ll never replace (insert traditional manufacturing process).” I’m pretty sure the same thing was said about automobiles and horses. The fact is that additive manufacturing (AM) is becoming more and more a regular part of production, and a number of companies, including GE Aviation, are finding ways to make the technology work for them.
One company that seems to have a big interest in AM is Ford. The company has enthusiastically embraced the power of digital design and rapid prototyping, using off-the-shelf 3D printers. Now it seems that Ford wants a system specifically designed and built to offer the most manufacturing potential for the automotive market. The company is calling the new system Ford Freeform Fabrication Technology, or F3T. It’s not AM, but it’s not business as usual either. Continue reading