3D Printing: Shaping the Automobile of the Future?

We've seen a lot of cool, innovative vehicles on our lot over the years. But we at Ricart like to look to the horizon. Concept cars by automakers like Nissan, Mitsubishi and Ford always blow us away. But sometimes innovation isn't always seen on the showroom floor.


More and more, automakers are looking to 3D printers to help shape cutting edge vehicles without the wait. What once took months or even years to engineer, now takes a matter hours.


We're car geeks. So we looked into a few interesting ways 3D printers are driving the industry to a place ahead of its time.


Conceptualize It


Concept cars are truly the vehicles of the future. But traditionally, it takes years for automakers to take an idea from a couple scribbles on a napkin to a full-scale, working piece of machinery.


Though it's still in early stages, Honda's giving consumers the opportunity to print their own 3D printed car. How cool is that?


Okay, so it's not a full-scale car--it's a model. But the Honda 3D Design Archive houses five files, ready to be 3D printed. They've even included the 2014 Acura NSX concept.

That's forward thinking.


Upgrade It


3D printing technology hasn't been reserved for automakers, alone. Formula One race teams such as Caterham, Red Bull and Lotus have jumped on the technological wave, embracing 3D printing to gain the edge on the competition.


When it comes to prototyping new F1 parts, time is money. And, well, money is money, because prototypes are expensive. With the use of 3D printers F1 teams are able to engineer, test, reengineer and test parts, systems, and more at a fraction of the cost.


Replace It


If you are into older cars, you know parts are hard to come by -- especially for collectibles. So what do you do when that part you need hasn't been reproduced in decades? You print it! That's what legendary former late-night talk show host Jay Leno does.


When you've got an epic collection of rare and hard to find cars, like Leno, you bring the parts to you. Disassemble, scan and print. It's becoming that easy.


Driving the Future


It's so fun to think of all the ways 3D printers make the industry better. At Ricart, we believe the advances automakers and F1 teams are making in 3D prototyping will applied to commercial vehicles, and, ultimately, save drivers time and money.


Until then, our Parts Center is available to provide you with the best parts and expert advice.

Categories: People