3D printing is becoming a popular at-home hobby but originated in production fields where the technology is still growing. Many of you might be familiar with the size of at-home printers, but industrial size ones can be as large as a warehouse!
Items like furniture frames, building materials, and special construction supports are made using these massive printing machines, but you might be wondering; can a car be 3D printed?
In short, yes, a car can be 3D printed. You would need a 3D printer large enough to make the pieces, and use a material strong enough, but it is possible to 3D print the body of a car. In fact, there are a few luxury-car brands that have been trying to get 3D printed cars road ready.
Check out the complete beginner’s guide to 3D printing if you have any other questions.
3D Printed Parts
There are two main advantages to printing car parts using a 3D printer. The first is to cut down on weight. The lighter the car, the more aerodynamic, and the better fuel efficiency.
Parts like window cranks, car buttons, steering wheels, gear shifters and cup holders are just a few pieces that have been created using a 3D printer.
By using 3D printed parts on the interior, you aren’t sacrificing the safety of the vehicle either.
The second advantage to using a 3D printer to make car parts applies to people who restore old cars.
If you’ve worked on an older car model, you might have run into the problem of not being able to get a specific piece because they aren’t being manufactured anymore.
With a 3D printer, you don’t have to spend your time sourcing the part for your old car, you can make it.
It might take a few days to design the custom piece, and another couple of days to print, but it’s significantly better than the months of searching you can save yourself.
If you want to buy a low-cost 3D Printer to get started. Then check out our buyers guide under $500 here
3D Printed Cars are Being Tested
There are several 3D printed cars that have been designed and are currently in the testing phase. Most of these are being designed by luxury carmakers since 3D printing isn’t great for mass production.
The most notable 3D printed car is the LSEV. The fully 3D printed body makes it extremely lightweight, and only weighs 450 kg. By comparison, a smart car which is about the same size, weighs 730 kg.
The LSEV will have top speeds of 43 mph, and a range of 90 miles. This car is being designed for the public with its initial cost coming in at a very respectable $7500.
Father and Son Built a 3D Printer Car
There are a father and son who built a 3D printed Lamborghini in their garage.
They used the 3D printer to make the body by attaching smaller pieces together. By making the body in smaller pieces, it is made stronger and better suited for the road.
There’s no news if it has been taken out on the road, but this would be an excellent project for a father and son.
As if the project itself wasn’t cool enough, after making the 3D print of the Lamborghini, the Chief Marketing Officer surprised them with their very own Lamborghini Aventador. A Christmas gift this family will never forget.
What Parts Can’t Be 3D Printed?
Although 3D printers are great, there are some limitations when building a car. At this point in time, 3D printers are unable to print electronics, glass, or pieces that will be subjected to really heavy wear. The following are pieces in a car that a 3D printer can’t print
3D Printed Camper Trailer
For those of you who want to take 3D printing on the road, take a look at this astonishing project: There is currently a 3D printed camper trailer in testing, and it’s already broken a world record!
The camper trailer broke the record of being the largest indoor, single-piece 3D printed object in the world.
The camper weighs only 270 kg but is plenty big. Measuring in at 13 feet long and 6 feet wide, there is plenty of space for a small family to spend a weekend away.
At the moment, cars cannot be fully 3D printed unless you are looking to 3D print a toy car. The list of pieces that can’t be 3D printed is still too large to consider a car being fully 3D printed. As technology advances, we might see fully printed parts and pieces in the future.
Several companies are very close to having 3D printed cars that are road-ready and just need to go through testing.
If you’re not looking to 3D print a car for the road, you can print the car body for pictures. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next lucky recipient of a Lamborghini!