Ford Motor Company, for over a century has been at the forefront of new manufacturing processes. After all, it was Ford, who was the first to introduce large-scale manufacturing of cars, via assemble-lines over a century ago. Ford continues to remain a leader when it comes to new manufacturing techniques capable of making products better, cheaper, and faster.
We have known for some time now that Ford has been utilizing 3D printing in the prototyping of parts for various vehicles. This has allowed the company to come up with prototypes in a fraction of the time it would take had they been using traditional manufacturing methods. This allows them to get products production-ready much sooner. Although the company would one day like to 3D print entire components for their vehicles, or even 3D print entire vehicles themselves, such technology is still a ways off.
This doesn’t mean that Ford doesn’t continue to explore the possibilities that 3D printing has to offer, even if in a creative and fun way which they use for promotional purposes. Back in February they 3D printed a scaled down version of their 2015 Mustang, out of sugar and just recently have taken this approach up a notch.
For an international slot car race, in Detroit Michigan at RAPID 2014, which we discussed earlier, representatives from Ford were on hand to participate. With them they brought a 1:125 scale model of the 2015 Ford Mustang, which was 3D printed and made into a slot car. The race, which was sponsored by Materialise, was different than most slot car races in that it featured only 3D printed cars.
“The data came to us from the design studios which is basically just a sheet metal design so that we could put it onto our slot car chassis,” stated a Ford representative.
Once the design files were ready, they printed out the vehicle and painted it a nice blue color. The car performed well, and looked amazing.
“This event, along with all the other events we get involved with, highlights how Ford utilized 3D printing technology throughout the company. You can do far more iterations, tweaking the model, if you will, to get a better component for the consumers,” stated a Ford representative.
Certainly it is interesting to see major corporations using 3D printing as a promotional means, while also using it behind closed doors to help build the products many of us use on a daily basis. What do you think about Ford’s latest 3D printing promotion? Discuss in the 3D printed Mustang forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below.