AMS Spring 2023

The Daihatsu Copen Roadster is a Modular Car Featuring 3D Printed Custom Parts

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road23D printing has lead to the customization of products within all sorts of markets. We’ve seen custom clothing, custom prosthetic hands and arms, and even custom jewelry come about due to this ever popular technology. Now, one company has used 3D printing to create custom modules for their vehicles.

Those living in Japan are very familiar with Daihatsu, and their lineup of cars. One vehicle that many car enthusiasts may be familiar with is the Daihatsu Copen Roadster, a vehicle which went out of production back in 2012, only to recently be reintroduced to consumers.

In bringing this roadster back to market, Daihatsu decided to add in some elements for customization, and in doing so, designers Kota Nezu and Junjie Sun turned to Stratasys for answers. Called the “Effect Skins” project, the company utilized a Stratasys Fortus 450mc 3D printer to 3D print 12 different types of “Effect Skin” parts in 10 different color variations. Printed in high UV stability ASA thermoplastic, the modules allow costumers to change out these skins when desired and even customize them themselves.

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The “Effect Skin” idea is part of a larger project called “DRESS-FORMATION” which aims to allow customers of Daihatsu to customize many different aspects of their vehicles.

“The creativity of DRESS-FORMATION, which aims at enabling you to express yourself in the car’s design, is limitless,” said Osamu Fujishita, Chief Engineer, Daihatsu. “Effect Skin is the right tool for expressing it with 3D printing technology together with the creative designs and concepts we have been receiving. With this single project, we are combining automotive car, manufacturing and 3D printing to bring a new personalized automotive experience to our customers.”

“Effect Skin” allows customers to customize areas on the car’s front and rear bumpers as well as around the emblem, helping make each and every car appear a bit more differentiated from one another. No longer is it just colors that can be changed, but now textures and designs can be 3D printed onto areas of the vehicle as well. Parameters within a special algorithm can be modified to create various design elements within these skins.

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“Our professional line of 3D printing systems enables manufacturers to perform large-scale production jobs more efficiently while maintaining high production standards,” said Hiroaki Katayama, President and CEO of Stratasys Japan. “Meanwhile, the desktop series, inclusive of MakerBot, will continue to inspire creative thinking and empower individuals to unleash creativity.”

This is just the start for Diahatsu. Their DRESS-FORMATION project allows customers to change many more aspects of their roadsters as well, meaning no two cars will be exactly alike.  What do you think about this unique idea? Would you be inclined to customize your car with 3D printed parts, given the opportunity? Discuss in the Daihatsu Copen Roadster forum thread on 3DPB.com, and check out some additional images of the vehicle below:

 

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