The wonders of 3D printing will not cease anytime soon, and with it, it would also help boost the rapid prototype technology scene. Imagine the ability to create a custom part on the computer screen, hit the print button and voila! That exact part is produced to the exact design specifications as listed. In fact, GM Design has been making use of 3D rapid prototype technology for over a couple of decades, where an elite team of 15 technicians works at the Rapid Prototype Laboratory at GM Design, churning out more than 20,000 parts which will support GM’s global footprint annually. It is said that the 2014 Chevy Malibu’s manufacturing process also includes 3D printing, and we are not surprised at all by this revelation.
The digital designs for parts on a car or truck will be transferred directly to the technicians in the Rapid Prototype Lab, where they then get to work on generating 3D printed parts in a matter of hours, doing away with the need for dedicated tooling. The only limitation? Practically speaking, it would be the physical size of the machines. For the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu, rapid prototyping came in handy in churning out the new floor console that sports integrated smartphone holders to cater for driver and passengers.