3D printing is making its way into our lives; maybe slowly but surely. Although it still isn’t as common as an inkjet printer when it comes to household items but it is becoming cheaper and larger in scale with every passing minute. The printable items range from small trinkets to, well, a car.
Yes, that’s right. Honda partnered with 3D printing specialist Kabuku to create a custom delivery vehicle for a confectionery business by making use of 3D printing technology. Why was this feat performed? Because of a real need of a real customer; a delivery vehicle that was narrow enough to navigate roads in Japan where Japanese kei cars were unable to fit while being distinctive enough to be used for marketing of company’s business.
The two companies collaborated and took a small electric chassis and had a custom panel van body designed around it. The end result? A car that is perfect for the delivery of not so large parcels around the town. The EV chassis and the drivetrain are the only items that have not been 3D printed. A large number of body panels were designed from scratch so that they would fit the existing hardware, such as headlights.
The design and manufacturing was quicker and cheaper when compared with traditional molding and required lesser equipment and raw materials for its creation.
Company said, “Also, the total development process was shortened to about two months while still offering an original vehicle with reduced time and costs. By using ‘Rinkak Mass Customization Solutions,’ the project could take advantage of rapid 3D design, a mold-less development process for 3D printers and a digital manufacturing factory network.”
Although completing a 3D printed car in two months isn’t a record for Local Motors 3D printed a sports car faster than this back in 2014, Honda and Kabuku’s goal wasn’t the speed of manufacturing but coming up with something that was durable for everyday use and solved the problem of the customer was.