AMS Spring 2023

2022 Ford Maverick CAD Files Enable 3D Printed Accessories

6K SmarTech

Share this Article

Ford has released CAD files that will allow owners of the 2022 Maverick able to 3D print customized components for their pickup trucks. If all goes well, this experiment in DIY could be a good entry point for a major brand to explore consumer 3D printing. Otherwise, it will have been a brief marketing exercise/field test for whether or not there exists a consumer base for 3D printed accessories.

When it was released, the 2022 Ford Maverick tried to entice DIY customers by making the compact truck somewhat customizable. This meant that a couple of 2x4s could be configured in the bed to either maximize capacity or organize storage. What’s more, it came with a hybrid powertrain to achieve the best fuel economy of any truck on the market, while also maintaining the ability to tow up to 4,000 pounds.

The FITS slot used to hold a 3D printed cupholder. Image courtesy of Ford.

Among the DIY-friendly features is the Ford Integrated Tether System (FITS), a slot that allows drivers to develop custom items that can be slipped into the cabin of their trucks. This could be cupholders, storage devices, trash cans, or essentially anything a maker might imagine. To help open the floodgates for homemade accessories, Ford has released CAD files for the FIT system, including for the center console and under the seat.

Because Ford promised the eventual release of these models before the vehicle was even released, online model repositories already been filled with 3D printable files for the Maverick. This includes cup holdersphone mounts, a Nintendo switch holder, and more. Drivers are even making their own FITS slots for elsewhere in the truck, such as in the dashboard cubby. For Maverick owners without a 3D printer, there are FITS accessories available on eBay and Etsy. You can also 3D print the devices at a local library, makerspace, or through a 3D printing service.

A 3D printed divider accessory. Image courtesy of Ford.

The experiment feels a bit like it should belong in 2014, when brands like Hoover began putting CAD files for their products on Thingiverse. The consumer 3D printing hype bubble burst shortly after, almost as though the rise of MakerBot and its ilk was a trial balloon or an advertising operation on behalf of the industrial giants like HP and GE so they could create the 3D printing market for themselves.

Now that industrial 3D printing is here to stay, is Ford serious about this initiative? After all, the company does say that it will be using additive manufacturing to mass produce metal parts for an upcoming car. If so, we could see the establishment of a true sector for 3D printed aftermarket components, as 3DPrint.com Executive Editor Joris Peels has been demanding for some time.

This would coincide with the emergence of Replique, a 3D printing service provider that wants to produce spare parts on demand. With the backing of the world’s largest chemical company, BASF, it’s hard to believe that Replique won’t succeed. BASF is extremely serious about additive, so it could very well will into existence a market for 3D printed spares.

At the moment, the leading Replique customer to offer 3D printed replacement parts is German appliance maker Miele. However, if a car component manufacturer like MAHLE were to take on Replique’s services, we could see the worlds of custom accessories and 3D printable spares converge. This could lead to virtual inventories of on-demand replacement parts, which could lead to distributed manufacturing of traditional end components, which could ultimately lead to a circular economy. Will all of that happen in time to save the planet and post-industrial society?

Share this Article


Recent News

3D Printing News Unpeeled: NASA, ICON, MIT and Purdue

3D Printing Financials: Desktop Metal Analysis



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Sponsored

Desktop Metal: AM 2.0 Highlights from the Formnext Show Floor

Formnext, the leading international platform for Additive Manufacturing and industrial 3D Printing, returned in full swing to the halls of the Frankfurt convention center in Germany this November. With challenging...

Featured

Desktop Metal Receives $9M 3D Printer Order from German Car Maker

Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Desktop Metal (NYSE: DM) announced that the company has received a $9 million order from a “large German car manufacturer.” Although it is not clear which...

3D Printing Financials: Markforged’s Supply Chain Issues Hinder FX20 Production

Supply chain disruptions continue to torment the manufacturing industry. In additive manufacturing, the challenging operating environment is harming production continuity. For Markforged (NYSE: MKFG), in particular, these production hurdles slowed...

Featured

The 19 Most Famous Angel Investors in 3D Printing

You may have the greatest idea in the world and just need that small investment of faith to launch it into a fully-fledged business. If a single individual, perhaps with...