3D printing. It’s popping up all around us. From prosthetic limbs to houses, the possibilities are endless. With Porsche announcing that they are beginning to print classic car parts could this be the start of the mainstream use in the automotive industry?
Porsche have said that they are going to produce small run and limited edition parts with the use of 3D printing technology on some classic parts. This will ensure that the cost of tooling for the production and storage costs stay down. This however is not the first time 3D printing has been used in the industry…
When the Chevy Malibu build started back in 2014, General Motors’ engineers used 3D printing to produce prototypes of some parts. Ford are another manufacturer that has incorporated the technology into production. The use of 3D printed prototypes was used in the design of the Explorer and EcoBoost engines which included printed prototypes of cylinder heads.
Is Porsche selling 3D printed products the start of the introduction of parts into normal production? Most likely, yes.
The Germans have some of the best engineered cars in the world and there is some bloody good cars that have come out of there. It is likely that if the classic car part replacements are a success then someone will introduce 3D parts into the manufacturing of new cars. It may only be small parts or even possibly non-mechanical parts like interior but this may cause a knock on effect with the rest of the car world.
Notice that the word ‘likely’ was used there. It is completely a prediction but there’s no obvious reason why it can’t and shouldn’t be used. The technology has definitely not reached its maximum potential and Porsche are pushing the current boundaries even further and that is exciting!
There is already small independent companies producing 3D printed parts. For example @draklore on Instagram is designing and manufacturing interior parts from custom gauge pod’s to gear stick knobs and we think this is bloody great! The fact an individual with some knowledge of design and CAD/CAM software can design their own car parts to their own specifications is brilliant. Shane is now selling the parts he designs and manufactures at http://www.draklore.com . With their being budget printers available now (you can pick them up for £200-£300), you can expect more sole traders or small businesses starting similar ventures throughout all industries. Below are some of the products http://www.draklore.com has to offer…
This is not the last of the technology you will see in the car world and it’s certainly exciting to see what’s next!