I’ve been watching the development of 3D scanners and printers recently and started to consider if they will become mainstream for manufacturing automotive parts, including parts for classic motorcycles which are no longer available from pattern and OEM suppliers. Automotive manufacturers are becoming less interested in carrying parts for older vehicles due to the manufacturing and storage costs for such small volumes. Lots of owner’s clubs have started to engage in replicating parts which are no longer available, and selling directly to club members who are often willing to pay a premium to restore the vehicle and keep it on the road. The cost of buying a 3D scanner and 3D printer has considerable reduced over the past couple of years, and started entering the mainstream for companies who develop prototypes and one-off items. Dremel has recently entered the 3D printing market to provide the first 3D printer being sold through retailers Amazon and Home Depot. Is this the way of the future?
Below is an interesting feature from Jay Leno’s garage which demonstrates how failed parts can be remade by using a 3D scanner and a 3D printer to develop a prototype part prior to machining or a finished plastic part.