Let's say you want to pimp your ride out a bit. You buy a few mods online, thinking you'll have a unique look. But at the next car show you attend...the horror! Someone else is also rocking the same parts! What ever is a person to do? Daihatsu and 3D-printing company Stratasys think they have the solution, and the fruit of their labor is...somethin'.
Daihatsu has created what it calls "effect skins," which are 3D-printed plastic overlays meant to be affixed to a car's body panels. Owners can get the panels printed in a number of ways, with various methods of tweaking the designs to create a properly one-off piece. It's just a shame that, you know, they're pretty ugly.
What's really cool about this idea is the idea of 3D printing becoming mainstream in automobile modification. That "overnight parts from Japan" joke can actually come true, as you can download schematics to a 3D printer and have a part in your hands in the time it would take to box up a part and schlep it over to the local DHL office.
Sure, not every part can be made from plastic, but metal and other materials are slowly becoming more affordable, as well. You probably won't be able to fabricate a full exhaust system in a printer, but smaller parts could definitely get printed.
You won't be seeing these parts on roads for a while, though. Daihatsu and Stratasys hope to get these parts onto the market in 2017. In the meantime, you, too, can drop a pile of acid and come up with something ridiculous to affix to your car.