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Top 10 3D Printed Automotive Applications in Use Now

The automotive industry is one sector that has embraced 3D printing with both hands. While consumers are still not sure about whether 3D printing serves a practical purpose in their everyday lives, and some industries are still skeptical of the benefits, 3D printing is producing some fantastic results for car manufacturers and related companies. Here is our assessment of the top ten printed automotive applications that are in use right now.

  1. Ai Design – Ai design is known for its bespoke interior items that are often seen on high-end cars. These parts include the ability to add radar detectors, SatNav units and smartphones into the car’s interior for full use and accessibility. The company has been using 3D printed parts that are cheaper, more flexible and feature even more innovative designs than before.
  2. Automotive Lenses – The first impression from automotive parts manufacturers was that it would be difficult to achieve clear lenses due to the way that items are 3D printed layer by layer. However, the company Luxecel managed to solve the issue, with automotive lenses that are cheaper and faster to produce. It used to take them weeks or months to come up with prototypes, and now it takes days.
  3. Thumb Tool – BMW is one of the companies that embraced 3D printing very quickly, recognizing its many benefits. It is odd to talk about the thumb tool that is used by the assembly workers at many BMW factories, but it shows us how much 3D printing has changed the way cars are produced and assembled. Workers were struggling with strain injuries because of having to repeatedly push rubber plugs into holes. Now the 3D printed thumb cast tool solves the issue.
  4. Tires from Hankook – While the tires that are eventually produced and sold by Hankook are made using traditional methods, the way that 3D printing helps is during the prototyping and the design phases. Now the company has much shorter turnaround times for its new and innovative designs, while it also says that meeting times and inefficiency have been drastically reduced.
  5. Formula One – The Williams Formula One team is one of the most famous in the sport, and also one of the most innovative. It is thought that most teams use 3D printing in one way or another, but Williams is open about its process. The company uses 3D printing to obtain complete gearbox assembles and aero parts for testing and production. Items like gearbox casings are printed at Williams before going on an F1 car. These parts used to take days to make, and now it is a matter of hours.
  6. Honda Access – The idea behind Honda Access is to deliver special bespoke finishes and customized parts onto cars for its exclusive customers. With 3D printing, coming up with special designs and having them on the car within days is a very real possibility.
  7. Blade – While most companies stick with parts, Blade is a 3D printed supercar that looks like a Ferrari or a Porsche. It is a complete chassis construction using 3D printing.
  8. Spare Parts at Audi – The issue with spare parts is always present for car manufacturers. Some parts are not needed until months or years into the future, but they must be manufactured in a set order, so they are always ready to be shipped out or sent to a customer. With 3D printing, the whole process has a much quicker turnaround time, which eliminates the situations where customers would wait months for a spare part.
  9. LM3D Swim – A fully 3D printed car, the LM3D Swim is a revolutionary design from Local Motors. It is an electric car that is 80% plastic and 20% carbon fiber.
  10. Koenigsegg One:1 – The One:1 from Koenigsegg has one of the most advanced and unique turbos for a supercar in the world. With 3D printing, they were able to get a narrower inner turbo housing, and a larger overall unit. This means more acceleration and performance on the high end.

Watch the video below to see how the partnership between 3D Systems and the Renault Formula 1 Team speeds development and fuels innovation from wind tunnel testing to flow rigs to robust on-car parts

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