I was in Berlin over New Years and loved the place. One of the things we did there was walk around Unter den Linden. This large avenue has a lot of flagship stores on it and one of them was the Volkswagen one. As well as all the Volkswagens you could also see the new Bentleys and they also had a Bugatti Veyron.
Surprisingly the luxury cars pulled in more people than the new Volkswagen models. It was the first time I had ever seen a Veyron. It is a very very attractive car. It is sleek, low, the tires are rap star large and the angles are dramatic and make it look very powerful.
So why am I blogging about the Veyron here? Can you see the dash on the pictures to the right and below? Those are some pictures I took of the car from the outside. And that dashboard you can see.That is a 3D printed dashboard. The Bugatti Veyron is, as far as I know, the world's first production car to feature 3D printed materials in the final car.
Car companies were the first big users of 3D printing and have used it for years to prototype cars and car parts. But, until now it really did not make sense to use 3D printing in the actual cars because of cost and production issues.
The Veyron however is produced by hand, is subject to a lot of customization and is comming out in an extremely limited series of 300. Because of all these factors they used 3D printing.
3d systems(and eos will probably follow) has a new process that prints SLS out of PP, which is evidently bringing the "direct manufacturing" loop even closer to reality. It has the exact same properties(according to them) as the PP that would be injection molded in the production part. Though for complex parts the answer may be to print them install them. This was before the crash though, so who knows what will become of the big 3. Something like 2/3s of the SLS machines in existance(at least 3d systems ones) are in Michigan supposedly. Used equipment anyone?