The first company we will look at in this article is UK-based Eventuri. Eventuri manufactures high-performance carbon fiber air intake ductwork for a range of high-end models, including the BMW M-Power and Audi RS ranges.
The complex geometry of the ducts is designed in CAD first, and then the airflows through that geometry are simulated in a computational fluid dynamics package. Obviously, carbon fiber–reinforced plastic components are expensive to manufacture due to the costly mold-making process, so it is perhaps no surprise that the company has turned to 3D printing to test the form and fit of these components before they invest in the molds required for final production. For manufacturing the prototypes, Eventuri invested in an Ultimaker 2 and the Ultimaker 2 Extended+ printers.
By definition, custom auto modification focuses on very small production runs, with many parts being totally unique. In the past, if a customer wanted custom accessories, they would either need to be purchased from a third-party custom part specialist, or else be fabricated in some other time-consuming and expensive manner (such as laser cutting or CNC milling).
Well, for certain plastic parts, those days are certainly numbered. Since purchasing an Ultimaker 2 Extended+, Tucci Hot Rods has tripled the speed at which these parts are produced, while reducing the cost of manufacture by a whopping 90 percent.
Take, for example, its recent Ford Fiesta ST project (pictured below). Before Tucci Hot Rods purchased a 3D printer, a custom job like that would have taken between six and 12 months. Now that the company is designing and fabricating in-house, and not having to rely on the long lead times associated with outside vendors, the entire car was finished in just two months.
In terms of cost, Tucci Hot Rods estimate that an average of USD$500 is saved per part, compared to its previous traditional machining methods.
Designer Don Tucci was impressed by the flexibility and time-saving allowed by the 3D printer—so much so that he said he will try to use it on all future builds.
Now you have seen how a desktop 3D printer can have such an impact on the automotive world, from the prototype phase all the way to the final product itself. No doubt there are hundreds of other examples of how users have been modding their own rides with the aid of FFF printers.
Are you one of them? Do you own an Ultimaker printer, and have you made some cool stuff for your car? Let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear about your ideas!
Highly Complex, Durable, & Lightweight Production Tools
Using 3D printing to produce manufacturing jigs & fixtures has many benefits above the time and cost savings compared to traditional manufacturing. Our 3D printing materials are strong but they are also lightweight. By giving you the option to print in a sparse-fill build you have more control on the weight of parts, especially those that are being used by workers hundreds of times in a shift.
Unlimited designs, speed and unattended operation are additional benefits. 3D printing allows you to design manufacturing tools for your workers not the manufacturing process. Increase efficiency and ease of use while decreasing mistakes and cost. Print new tools overnight – no additional operator required – and have then ready for your workers the next day!
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Benefits of 3D Printing in the Automotive Industry
Using 3D printing in the automotive industry gives you the following benefits:
> Unsupervised builds VS a CNC Machine that requires a full time operator
> Cost Effective Customization
> Improved quality and speed of prototypes
> Ability to create large prototypes in strong materials such as Ultem
> Increased communication and feedback earlier in the design cycle
> Increased production with optimized tools
> Decreased design time with functional testing
> Cost reductions in engineering documentation, warehousing, and
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