3D printing technology is helping automakers refresh their vehicles quicker and cheaper, such as the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu.
Rapid prototyping through 3D printers helped Chevrolet give its 2014 Malibu a refresh on the inside and out in a cost-effective and time-saving method. By producing prototype pieces out of powder or liquid resin at a fraction of the cost, the American automaker was able to develop and evaluate new pieces for its Malibu without having to build tools to make test parts.
Updates to the Malibu’s floor console, center stack trim, front bumper, and front seat panels were all attributed to rapid prototyping. One-third scale and full-size models were made without changes to production tooling, which could costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“When you need to get intricate, fully functional prototype parts quickly, nothing beats rapid prototyping,” said Todd Pawlik, chief engineer, Chevrolet mid- and full-size cars. “Our ability to rapidly fabricate inexpensive prototype parts throughout a vehicle enables key components to get confirmed earlier so that we can go from computer models to production-caliber parts.”
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