Ford is using 3D printing to reduce its development time through the production of prototype parts. This enables designers and engineers to quickly test and refine different approaches.
Traditional prototyping methods require specialist tools and can prove time-consuming. By using 3D printers, Ford can print a part within a few hours and, for as little as £750, create more scope for experimentation and radical design.
For the all-new Ford GT, designers used 3D printing techniques to help create the steering wheel, integrated driver controls and paddle shifters. Engineers also printed lightweight structural components for the upward-swinging doors.
It's not just Ford's engineers that can utilise this impressive technology, for the manufacturer is offering customers (with access to a 3D printer) the opportunity to print their own 3D Ford scale models.
The Ford 3D Store offers the first manufacturer-approved store for 3D-printable files. As well as enabling customers to print their own Ford GT, there are templates for a further 1,000 models, including the Fiesta ST, Focus ST and F-150 Raptor.
Sandro Piroddi, Ford of Europe's Rapid Technology supervisor, said: "3D computer printing technology has totally changed the way we design and develop new vehicles. We can be more creative in trying to find potential solutions, and for the customer this means that our cars are better able to incorporate the latest thinking in design and technology."
by: Oliver Harry