3D Printing For Car Parts: A Complete Guide

The innovation of 3D printing technology has revolutionized product development and manufacturing.

3D printing is also known as additive manufacturing. It entails incorporating several layers of material one after another until you make a 3D-printed project for a car.

It’s so prevalent among several manufacturers because of its innovative integrity, which is far greatest than those of conventional production.

Nevertheless, like any other method of manufacturing, 3D printing comes with quite a few disadvantages.

Thus, in this article below, we’ll inform you about the benefits and drawbacks of 3D printing technology for car parts so that you can analyze this groundbreaking method in detail.

So, let’s have a look at the details below…

Can You Print Car Parts Using A 3D Printer?

Yes, it’s possible to print replacement parts for distinct car parts that are often impossible or nearly hard to find in the market.

You can print parts like clips, knobs, cup-holders, and also other non-safety-related car parts using a 3D printer.

Unless you’re an engineer who has access to an advanced machine, I will perhaps avoid printing accurate parts that are subject to tension, pressure, or also higher temperatures.

This might be a duplicative statement, however, please don’t replace a part of your car’s safety belt with a PLA (Polylactic Acid) print tool or ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene). These materials are both flexible and resistant to shock.

Major industry participants such as Volkswagen, BMW, Bentley, and Opel also make serious utilization of additive manufacturing. However, before you get very excited and attempt to start 3D-TeslaXYZ, you must consider the caveat given below:

The price range in Bentley’s advance Stratasys 3D printer comes with 3 to 4 more zeroes (0’s) than the parts printed on an Ender-3 printing machine.


Which Automotive Companies Are Now Using 3D Printing Technology?

You can see how efficient a new technology is by knowing which renowned companies are using the technology.

This is the astonishing thing: the most quality-focused and trustworthy automotive manufacturers in the market are utilizing 3D printing.

A few of the primary companies using 3D printers are as follow:

• Audi
• BMW
• Ford
• Porsche
• Alfa Romeo’s F1 team
• Bugatti
• Volvo
• Rolls Royce
• GM
• VW
• Daihatsu


Advantages Of 3D Printers In The Automotive Industry

The reason behind 3D printing becoming so prevalent is due to its advantages over conventional manufacturing techniques.

Let’s check out the most noteworthy advantages of 3D printing technology.

Durable & Lightweight Car Parts

The most common material utilized in 3D printing is plastic. 3D printing lets the invention of complicated organic shapes for any vehicle that is much more delicate than parts made conventionally. In the automotive and aerospace industries, this’s a vital aspect as the usage of lightweight material helps enhance the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.

Rapid Prototyping

Utilizing 3D printing tools, you can make prototypes within just a few hours. Additionally, you can quickly and cheaply develop a new prototype along with every single design modification, which is opposed to the time-consuming and costly procedure of refining a prototype utilizing conventional methods.

Easy Access

The usage of 3D printing tools has improved in recent years because of greater availability. Thus, locating a regional 3D printing service provider is now easier to go than ever before. 3D printing technology has turned into a favored hobby because of its easy access and low cost.

Eco-Friendly Method

The usage of 3D printing decreases waste that gets generated in the production procedure. What is more, this method helps to improve the atmosphere further, as 3D printed lightweight models can make planes or cars especially more fuel-efficient.

One can 3D print utilizing material that is either recyclable or made using plant-based organic material.

Waste Reduction Process

In 3D printing technology, only the needed material is utilized to make specific parts, as it’s an additive manufacturing procedure. This’s different from conventional processing, in which massive masses of non-recyclable material are cut to make 3D parts for cars.

So the general cost of the 3D printing technology is lower since less material is utilized and you only spend for what you require.

Quality & Consistency

As soon as 3D printing is operated, the product is made in a stringent step-by-step procedure, which makes sure outstanding product quality and design.

3D printing also lets you have greater consistency than conventional manufacturing, although it still consistently produces high-quality car parts.

Print Your Car Parts On Demand

Different from the subtractive manufacturing process, 3D printing doesn’t take up much space as car parts can just be printed as soon as ordered or required. All 3D files are kept in a virtual space, from where you can print them from a CAD or STL file.

Endless Geometry & Shapes

Traditional manufacturing processes depend on shaping and cutting methods to make the preferred shapes, which isn’t just difficult but likewise expensive.

Fortunately, you will not have this issue with 3D printing, and all you’ll need is the appropriate support.

3D printing technology lets you create hollow bodies without holes in them, and have severe undercuts, all of them are impossible using any other method of production.

Faster Production

Different from conventional manufacturing processes like CNC machining as well as injection molding process, 3D printing technology is quite faster. This’s mainly because this method lets you quickly test ideas and designs, from a prototype to a final product.


Disadvantages Of 3D Printers In The Automotive Industry

Of course, just like anything else, 3D printing also comes with its disadvantages!

While there’re many benefits to 3D printing technology, there’re also drawbacks.

Here’re the major ones.

Structure Detail

In the 3D printing method, parts are formed layer-by-layer. That’s why it’s also named additive manufacturing. Thus, although these layers are held together firmly, they’re easy to splitting as soon as stressed. Printing parts using Polyjet and Multijet often tend to be very fragile.

Restricted Assembly Measure

The measure of the printing bed in 3D printers is typically rather small, which restricts the part size you can print. Thus, any big item requires to be printed in small pieces and then reassemble. It makes the process time-consuming.

Isn’t Very User-Friendly

Using 3D printers isn’t easy. Since this’s a new procedure, trial & error is sometimes needed when printing parts.

Expensive

Industrial 3D printers are expensive. The equipment and materials used in industrial 3D printing technology are costly. Since the starting capital is needed, most people are incapable of enjoying this innovative procedure to print their car parts.

Manufacturing Sector People Are Loosing Jobs

Ultimately, this technology leads to a decrease in manufacturing sector jobs since the machine is doing all the job, and more people losing a job in the manufacturing sector.


Materials Utilized In Automotive 3D Printing

3D printers utilize different materials to print nearly anything that otherwise can be manufactured.

Although a mixture of plastics, metals, and carbon fiber, it is easy to imagine how someone may 3D print an entire car.

However, the single place where this method falls short is when it comes to electrical components, engine, suspension, and tires. To better realize automotive 3D printing technology, let’s know about a few materials you can buy to 3D print.

Plastic

Of course, plastic is a material we think of as soon as we imagine the 3D printing method. However, plastic isn’t as strong as metal, but plastic is less costly.

Maraging Steel

It is commonly used for injection molding mechanisms. These help automotive manufacturers create bulk plastic parts. It is generally less expensive and faster to create the mold through 3D printing rather than traditional machine.

Stainless Steel

Low flexibility, high strength, and decay resistance. That’s why people in the automotive industry love this material.

Bluestone

Bluestone is a construction material that’s a stable arranged nanocomposite. It is ideal for prototyping for drag or aerodynamics on a scale replica of your bike or automobile.


3 Best 3D Printer For 3D Printing For Car Parts

To 3D print motorcycle parts or automotive parts, you have to find out the best 3D printer for the task.

Here are the top 3 best 3D printers available in the market for printing motorcycle parts and automotive parts. Let’s dig deeper to find out…

#1 Creality Ender 3 V2 3D Printer

For a budget-friendly 3D printer, this Creality Ender 3 V2 model will exceed your expectations. An elevated version of the actual Ender 3, this Ender 3 V2 model offers good print volume, high-quality prints, and easy usage.

In case you are wondering what makes the printer perfect for producing local motors, and automotive parts, then find it out here.

Features

  • Carborundum Glass Platform
  • Open Space for Build
  • 3-In. Color LCD Screen
  • High-Quality Power Supply
  • Built-In Storage Section
  • XY-Axis Tensioners
  • Completely Upgraded Hotend and Fan Duct
  • Unique Silent Motherboard
  • Easy Filament Feeding
  • Smart Run-Out Detection For Filament
  • Hot Bed is Quick-Heating
  • Print Resume Abilities
Pros
  • Relatively cheap
  • Easy to use
  • The design & structure look quite aesthetically pleasing
  • Great support
  • 5-min to heat up
  • High accuracy printing
  • Easy to maintain and assemble
  • An all-metal body offers durability and stability
  • It’s easy and modular to customize
  • The power supply is incorporated under the build-plate
Cons
  • Open build space isn’t good for minors
  • A little bit hard to assemble
  • Takes longer to print vehicle parts
  • Glass beds are heavier and thus cause ringing in prints
  • Only a single motor is present there on the Z-axis
  • No touchscreen interface

#2 Artillery Sidewinder X1 V4 3D Printer

This printer came onto the scene first in October 2018. Artillery is a middle-level 3D printer that can rival several other high-end 3D printers available in the market.

Features

  • Direct Drive Extruder
  • Quick Heating Ceramic Glass Bed For Printing
  • Print Resume Capacity After a Power Outage
  • Synchronized Double Z-Axis System
  • Large Build Print Volume
  • Filament Detector Sensor
  • Ultra-Quiet Stepper Motors
  • Safe & Secure, Quality product
  • Touch LCD-Color Screen
Pros
  • Supports both MicroSD cards and USB for further choices
  • Well-organized lot of ribbon cables for more promising organization
  • A firmly placed and the smooth print bed offers a shiny finish to the bottom of the printed product
  • Has big leveling knobs for more manageable leveling
  • Easy to construct
  • Helpful community to guide you through any problems that can come up
  • Amazing build print volume for this price range
  • Prints consistently, reliable, and of a high-quality parts
Cons
  • Insubstantial wiring on the extruder and heat pad
  • Uneven distribution of heat on the printing bed
  • EEPROM save isn’t supported
  • The spool holder is quite tricky as well as difficult to adjust
  • To start printing and work correctly you need to have some specific skills

#3 Creality CR-10 Max 3D Printer

The Creality CR-10 Max model is the perfection of 3D printers in the CR-10 sequence. After researching as well as incorporating consumer feedback from their earlier models, Creality developed an ultra-high performance and upgraded printer to print own car parts easily.

Features

  • Golden Triangle Firmness
  • Super-Large Build Print Volume
  • Less Filament Detection
  • Automatic Bed Leveling
  • Power Off Restart Function
  • Quick Heating Build Platform
  • 2 Models of Nozzles
  • Capricorn Teflon Tubing
  • Double Output Power Store
  • Dual Y-Axis Transmission Belt
  • Certified BondTech Dual Drive Extruder
  • HD Touch Screen
  • Dual Screw Rod-Driven
Pros
  • Provide a high level of printing accuracy
  • Have a huge build print volume to print bigger models
  • The high success rate of printing with automatic leveling
  • For an extensive-scale 3D printer the bed is rather fast
  • Its durable structure decreases vibration and enhances stability
  • Great client service and answer times
  • Quality certificate: ISO9001 for assured quality
  • Simple return & refund procedure if required
  • 1-year warranty & lifetime maintenance
Cons
  • Very heavy printer
  • The heated bed turns off as soon as your filament runs out
  • Some users claimed to have incorrect firmware in the unit
  • The heated bed does not heat up quickly compared to moderate 3D printers available on the market
  • Layer shifting can happen after replacing your filament

FAQ 3D Printed Car Parts

Following are the common questions on 3D printing of car parts

How’s 3D Printing Utilized In The Automotive Industry?

Because of the characteristic of the automotive enterprise, most manufactories have been at least testers or early adopters of the technology.

Thus, it not just revolutionized the method that manufacturers can prototype and repeat more efficiently and faster, but also lets them create highly precise tools as well as complex automotive parts.

Does 3D Painting Have Any Future In The Automotive Industry?

Surely 3D printing technology is here to remain. This is only the beginning and we’ll continue to witness rapid progress in the forthcoming years.

3D printed car parts will become higher quality and cheaper, giving old car owners easy access to all the difficult-to-find car parts.


Wrap Up

After reading the entire article, you have now known the benefits and drawbacks of 3D printing technology.

So, keeping that in your mind, you can realize why 3D printing technology has revolutionized the manufacturing field and gained general popularity all over the globe.

Likewise, you are even well aware of the drawbacks of 3D printing. Therefore, 3D printing is an invention that ought to be respected, being aware of its possible solutions and shortcomings.

3D printing is surely going to stay here for long periods. And it is certainly the future of the automotive industry!

 

Reference

  • sculpteo.com/en/3d-learning-hub/applications-of-3d-printing/3d-printed-car/
  • all3dp.com/2/3d-printed-car-parts/
  • 3dprintedparts.com/2021/07/07/3d-printing-for-the-automotive-industry/
  • 3dprinting.com/automotive/3d-print-your-own-car-parts/
  • hmmsonline.com/articles/real-examples-of-3d-printing-in-the-automotive-industry
  • 3dsolved.com/3d-printing-for-car-parts/
  • amfg.ai/2019/05/28/7-exciting-examples-of-3d-printing-in-the-automotive-industry/