There used to be an old anti-piracy commercial that would exclaim, “You wouldn’t download a car.” A popular response would be, “I would if I could.” That sentiment has been carried throughout the years and into the modern era of affordable 3D printing. Many people would print their own car, tools or other objects if they only could. It turns out that cars are finally making their way into the world of 3D printers.
Audi, one of the foremost car manufacturers in the world, is already dabbling in 3D printers for quick prototyping. The engineers can quickly create parts for vehicles for cars to see how they look in the finished product. As of now, they’re only creating small parts like fenders and air conditioner vents, but it’s a start. We can expect to see more parts on cars being made with 3D printers as the technology progresses.
Audi is only in the business of creating new parts for new cars. What about classic car owners who usually have to spend hundreds and maybe even thousands of dollars on parts that aren’t made anymore? It turns out that 3D printers make it easier for them as well since they’re able to create exact replicas of the part in question. Here’s car aficionado Jay Leno showing off his own 3D printer:
For now, 3D printers are only being used to create new parts for vehicles. As Leno says, the technology will be a huge advantage to car collectors. It’s also huge for car manufacturers that want to test new parts out before they take them to market. It’s really only a matter of time before all the parts of a car are made with 3D printers and then replicated using CNC machines.[h/t: Motor Torque]