The automotive industry has been charging ahead with additive manufacturing, with high-profile companies such as Audi using 3D printers. It’s not just the Audis of the world that are using 3D printers — everything from race car teams to sub manufacturers (OEMs) for each car manufacturer are utilizing 3D printers. Initially, the value of the 3D printing industry reaching automotive manufacturers focused on building the tooling and fixtures that aide the manufacturing process. The most common parts printed by automotive manufacturers are fixtures, cradles, and prototypes, which need to be stiff and strong, as well as durable.
However, professional 3D printers are now used to print high-strength, fiber-reinforced end use parts as well. Garry Rogers Motorsport, for example, uses a professional 3D printer to print numerous end-use parts such as steering wheels.
It’s also not unheard of for some to use professional 3D printers to fabricate replacement parts for centuries-old cars. This ensures there are enough pieces to service legacy cars as well as standard maintenance, repairment, and operations.