Are 3D-printed car parts the future?
Japan-based company ties with marque to create 3D-printed body panels
2016 is a funny world of creativity and creation. The barriers between idea and execution are at their lowest, primarily due to technology's availability. Cars are in the center of several of these technologies, with 3D printing potentially the next to become a mainstream consideration for manufacturers.
Daihatsu (who New Zealand sadly doesn't get to see a lot of anymore) recently confirmed a tie-up with tech company Stratasys, as well as Tokyo's Znug Design, to create new design motifs for the brand's Copen convertible.
“I don't think this sort of approach, where parts are designed by the customer and produced using a 3D printer has ever been tried before,” said Kota Nezu of Znug Design.
“I think effect skins would have been absolutely impossible using traditional methods of production.”
While the skins in the video aren't exactly my cup of tea (the ones tacked onto the white Copen make it look like some kind of broken puffer fish), it's not hard to see how this technology could be utilized for means beyond the prettifying of a car.
“We're interested in expanding the market for customized plastic bodied cars. And we see [this] technology as extremely effective for this,” adds Daihatsu's Chief Engineer of Product Planning Osamu Fujishita.
With Stratasys and their 3D printing capabilities reportedly already working with other manufacturers, maybe asking whether this is the future is the wrong question. Potentially, it already is the future.