3D printing has always been part of our jam here at Hamilton. We’ve used it across several divisions including sales, marketing, R&D and operations. And while 3D-printed end parts have slowly been gaining momentum in the world of racecar driving, helping NASCAR and Formula One to make complex parts under top-secret conditions, it hasn’t exactly been an efficient mainstream solution for automotive assembly lines.
That may all be about to change, says a recent article.
Volkswagen, for example, has been transparent about its ambitions to make the technology a major part of its production line by 2023. The German automaker, which opened its advanced 3D printing center in Wolfsburg, Germany, in 2018, is currently crash-testing printing of the vertical windscreen pillars for its T-Roc convertible. And Divergent Technologies, makers of the $1.7 million hypercar Czinger21C, which features a lightweight printed aluminum chassis, claims its 3D printing process is 10 to 20 times faster than other printers—a rate that Divergent founder Kevin Czinger expects to double in the next few years. According to Czinger, Divergent has also printed chassis parts that are being crash-tested by two top car manufacturers.
Breakthroughs in additive manufacturing—the technical term that describes the way 3D printers create an object in layers of material—are making this possible, as 3D printers are becoming capable of printing metal parts faster and durable enough for mass production. By gradually adding layers of materials, instead of cutting and soldering, 3D printing can make parts with new geometries and physical properties that are lighter, stronger and more heat-resistant.
We’re tingling at the Hamilton possibilities.