Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Role of 3D Printing and Scanning in the Community Development of Automobiles

Today's guest blog is by Scott Harmon, Z Corporation VP of Business Development.

I wanted to take this opportunity to share a very cool webcast about using 3D scanning and 3D printing in custom automotive design. The company is called Local Motors. There are a lot of companies out there that make short run replica cars, like Factory Five and ERA Replica Automobiles. These cars are very cool, and people buy thousands of them every year.

Local Motors' approach is very different. Instead making a replica, they’re using a community development model to create a new car. Their design community creates the concept for the car, and the Local Motors' team designs and fabricates it. In the detailed design and fabrication process, they determine how to integrate mass manufactured components and custom designed components. It’s a fascinating combination of re-engineering the as-built parts, and designing entirely new components. The combination is completely novel, and thanks to some smart engineers and some great tools, Local Motors can do it at a price that’s less than many stock cars.

Obviously 3D scanning and 3D printing are critical enabling technologies for these processes, and it’s no surprise that Local Motors uses ZScanning and ZPrinting to quickly and efficiently create an entirely new kind of car. The webcast goes into more detail about how they make cars and the tools they use.

Please let me know what you think of the webcast, if you have questions or want more information.

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