This robotic arm automatically refills the printing material when needed.
Tree-like support structures are 3D printed first, in a different material, before the panel above it is rendered.
3D-printed center consoles like this could be used in future verification prototypes or concept cars. Eventually, maybe even during mass production.
A Ford engineer keeps tabs on the Stratasys Infinite Build's operations.
This commercial prototype printer is the size of a small room.
Closeup of a 3D-printed center stack.
It's very important to keep an eye on temperatures inside the printer by using thermal imaging.
Thanks in part to the robotic material refill arm, this printer can continue to work overnight, long after Ford's engineers have gone home.
Ford sees the potential not just for 3D-printed car parts, but also for manufacturing aids like jigs and molds.
Ford plans to install a network of cameras to keep tabs on the printer remotely after hours.
Ford has had the Stratasys printer since November, but its partnership with the company goes back many years.
Sand-like micropellets are melted down to create the printing material.
The thermoplastic material is a proprietary Stratasys creation.