3D Printer Materials for the Automotive Industry

   By Sarah Smith on May 12, 2023

3D printing materials development propels additive manufacturing into production spaces such as automotive. We see more and more uses of 3D printing in demanding applications and industries, thanks to material advancements. Stratasys has an extensive portfolio of 3D printers and material options available.

Highlighted below are just a few of the materials used in the automotive industry. These premium options offer exceptional properties, from strength that rivals metal components to high temperature resistance, and light weighting. To see a full overview of 3D printing materials for automotive download the guide.

Wind Tunnel Testing 3D Printer Materials

Somos PerFORM Reflect is a brightly pigmented ceramic filled resin for use in Stereolithography printers like the Stratasys Neo 800. It produces strong stiff parts that are heat resistant up to degrees 529 Fahrenheit. This resin was designed to be an ideal fit for wind tunnel testing with PIV. See how McLaren Racing uses this technology to get an edge on the competition.

PerFORM Reflect 3D printing material

Part made using PerFORM Reflect

Ideal Applications:

  • Wind tunnel testing for aerodynamic design optimization
  • High temperature testing
  • Electrical castings
  • Automotive Housings
  • Tooling

Manufacturing Support 3D Printer Materials

Automotive industry sees major benefits in 3D printing for jigs, fixtures, work holding devices and end-of arm tooling. These manufacturing tools cut down on costs as well as creating a more efficient workflow for employees, saving time. Additionally, switching from heavy metal tooling to thermoplastics are easier for employees to handle throughout the day. Tough materials include ABS, ULTEM, Nylon CF10, and Nylon 12CF. Learn more about the uses of Nylon 12CF in the video below.

Ideal Applications:

  • Drill Jigs
  • Inspection Fixtures
  • Work holding
  • End of Arm Tooling
  • Alignment Guides
  • Soft Jaws

Luxury Concept Interiors

In luxury cars, high end interiors are a must. The Stratasys J850 Fabrix PolyJet printer brings a new world of options to car interiors with full color 3D printing on fabrics. High-end automotive manufacturers have created unique concepts and custom run production elements. Check out how FabriX is bringing innovation in the video below.

Ideal Applications:

  • Printed Fabric Details
  • Specialty Customization
  • Full Color Prototypes

Automotive Production Parts

Production part 3D printers allow manufacturers to produce designs in low production volumes and make design adjustments as they arise, saving them from expensive tooling and mold investments, and getting them to market faster.

One technology that’s at the forefront of enabling end use production parts is the Stratasys H350. Supporting powdered Nylon PA11 and PA12, as well as Polypropylene materials. This technology prints without layer lines, so it has a continually smooth surface that can be dyed, and vapor smoothed for additional chemical resistance with equipment from DyeMansion. Check out how automotive company ROUSH solved production complications with the Stratasys H350.

Ideal Applications:

  • Production parts
  • Fit and function testing
  • Brackets, jigs, fixtures
  • Hinges, clips, and snap fits

With such a wide range of 3D printing materials on the market it can be difficult to pick the correct material for your project. Reach out to our Application Engineers for a free consultation or download the materials guide.

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Sarah Smith

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