The Role of 3D Printing in the Manufacturing of Cars

There are many ways in which the manufacturing of cars is changing. One way is through 3D printing. This technology has a lot of potential and is very important in bringing innovation to the automotive industry. In fact, many automotive companies, such as Ford, GM and APWORKS, are already using this technology in their production.

Volkswagen Motorsport

The role of 3D printing in the manufacturing of cars is still an emerging field. However, companies such as Volkswagen and Ford are beginning to explore the possibilities of using the technology to enhance vehicles’ performance.

Although the initial application of 3D printing in the automotive industry was for prototypes, it has a significant role to play in the production of finished vehicles. For example, the Italian automaker XEV is using the technology to produce a low-speed electric engine.

Aside from the obvious ergonomic improvements, 3D printing can also help manufacturers improve product quality, increase productivity and speed up the development process. As Volkswagen has demonstrated, 3D printing can be used to fabricate physical assemblies, such as dashboards, within days.

While the first 3D-printed car is not expected to hit the market anytime soon, the first component has already been sent to a Volkswagen plant for certification. This is a significant step forward in VW’s efforts to scale up its use of the technology.


Ford is among the first companies to explore 3D printing in the automotive industry. With nearly 30 years of experience, Ford has adapted to the changing landscape of manufacturing and has benefited from the technology. In fact, Ford has been using the technology for almost two decades.

The company has several facilities that utilize 3D printing. One of those locations is the Advanced Manufacturing Center in Michigan. This center is dedicated to testing new vehicle designs, and it uses a number of 3D technologies.

Among them are laser melting, fused deposition modeling, binder jet printing, and stereo lithography. These technologies allow engineers to create small parts in an economical manner. It also allows them to iterate designs in a matter of hours, allowing them to produce multiple iterations before committing to a single version.


General Motors (GM) is redefining the vehicle development process. They are using 3D printing to speed up production, increase quality and reduce costs. And, they are expanding the use of additive manufacturing for personalized applications. The company plans to develop 20 new electric and fuel cell car models over the next five years.

GM has been using 3D printing for years in prototyping applications, but they have now expanded the use of this technology for production. They’ve added 17 production-grade Stratasys FDM 3D printers to their fleet.

They’ve also built a 15,000 square foot Additive Industrialization Center, a facility dedicated to developing and productionizing the company’s 3D printing technologies. This new facility is located in the suburbs of Detroit, in the Warren Tech Center. It houses 24 3D printers that can produce polymer and metal parts.


Ricoh is Japan’s leading multinational imaging company, specializing in print and imaging solutions. Its products and services reach customers in over 200 countries.

In recent years, the automotive industry has seen a growing use of 3D printing. This is primarily because it is an affordable solution to produce parts that have special shapes. Additionally, it can reduce lead times and cost.

Ricoh is developing a new metal 3D printing technology that can help create innovative aluminum parts. These parts are lighter, stronger and chemical resistant. They are also cheaper than other processes.

The technology can be used to produce a variety of products. A number of materials can be used, including PA6, PP, TIGITAL 3D-Set PPP 371 and other polymer powders.

In addition, RICOH is creating a new Customer Experience Centre (CEC). The CEC will accelerate co-creation with its customers, and will provide demonstrations and education on Ricoh’s products and technologies.


APWORKS, an Airbus subsidiary, is a leader in metal additive manufacturing solutions. It offers customers a choice of the most effective materials and the shortest possible production time. Their expertise covers prototyping, qualified serial production, and metallic 3D printing.

Since 2013, APWORKS has been at the forefront of additive layer manufacturing. The company has worked on many innovative projects with a number of leading automotive companies. In the last two years, they have launched the world’s first 3D printed motorcycle, and the Light Rider, a topologically optimised electric motorcycle.

Light Rider was designed using an algorithm to eliminate unnecessary parts. The electric motorcycle weighs only 35 kg. This is 30% lighter than conventional e-motorcycles. A 6 kW electric motor drives it.

Another example of a product created with APWORKS is the exhaust finisher for the Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport. An exposed titanium exhaust finisher weighs 1.85 kg – 1.2 kg less than the standard Chiron finisher.

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