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Friday, March 6, 2015

3D Printers Can Make Car Parts

3D printing has come a long way over the years, with many people treating it as a miracle technology that can create anything. That may be an exaggeration of what the technology is capable of, but there is no denying that it can be used for amazing things. 3D printers have been used to create everything from replacement machine parts to custom-made prostheses, and now some companies are using 3D printing to fabricate replacement car parts.

The Benefits of "Printing" Car Parts
There are some obvious benefits to using 3D printing to create replacement car parts, the most obvious of which is that can eliminate the need to hunt down rare automobile parts. Anybody who has ever tried to restore a classic car or even just repair their old vehicle knows how hard it is to find the right parts for a particular job. Some have to search high and low to find what they are looking for, and when they find it they sometimes have to pay an astronomical price due to its rarity. Theoretically, a 3D printer can fabricate these parts easily as long as their specifications are programmed into the printer. It may not be ideal for those who want authentic classic parts, but it could be enough to keep an older vehicle on the road.

3D printing can also allow manufacturers and designers to create prototypes of new engines and other parts. Using a 3D printer to create these prototypes to see how they would function is considerably cheaper and easier than building a new engine from scratch only to find that it needs to be redesigined. The printed prototype doesn't have to be used in a vehicle; the fact that it can be an inexpensive means of testing out a theoretical device is often enough for manufacturers.

The only real disadvantage to using 3D printing for car parts is that the resins that are used in the printing process may not be tough enough for certain applications. 3D printing can yield some durable results, but they may not always be able to hold up to high stress and heat. There may come a time when 3D printing can create something that is better than traditional automobile parts and equipment, but until then, anything that is fabricated should be used wisely and with caution.


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