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Stratasys Infinite Build 3D printer has Ford thinking laterally

Prototype additive manufacturing tool works sideways to build big objects.

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Chris Paukert

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Ford's Stratasys Infinite Build 3D Printer prototype
1 of 15 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

This robotic arm automatically refills the printing material when needed.

Ford's Stratasys Infinite Build 3D Printer prototype
2 of 15 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Tree-like support structures are 3D printed first, in a different material, before the panel above it is rendered.

Ford's Stratasys Infinite Build 3D Printer prototype
3 of 15 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

3D-printed center consoles like this could be used in future verification prototypes or concept cars. Eventually, maybe even during mass production.

Ford's Stratasys Infinite Build 3D Printer prototype
4 of 15 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

A Ford engineer keeps tabs on the Stratasys Infinite Build's operations.

Ford's Stratasys Infinite Build 3D Printer prototype
5 of 15 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

This commercial prototype printer is the size of a small room.

Ford's Stratasys Infinite Build 3D Printer prototype
6 of 15 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Closeup of a 3D-printed center stack.

Ford's Stratasys Infinite Build 3D Printer prototype
7 of 15 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

It's very important to keep an eye on temperatures inside the printer by using thermal imaging.

Ford's Stratasys Infinite Build 3D Printer prototype
8 of 15 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

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's Stratasys Infinite Build 3D Printer prototype
9 of 15 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Ford sees the potential not just for 3D-printed car parts, but also for manufacturing aids like jigs and molds.

Ford's Stratasys Infinite Build 3D Printer prototype
10 of 15 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Ford plans to install a network of cameras to keep tabs on the printer remotely after hours.

Ford's Stratasys Infinite Build 3D Printer prototype
11 of 15 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Ford has had the Stratasys printer since November, but its partnership with the company goes back many years.

Ford's Stratasys Infinite Build 3D Printer prototype
12 of 15 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Sand-like micropellets are melted down to create the printing material.

Ford's Stratasys Infinite Build 3D Printer prototype
13 of 15 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

The thermoplastic material is a proprietary Stratasys creation.

Ford's Stratasys Infinite Build 3D Printer prototype
14 of 15 Nick Miotke/Roadshow
Ford's Stratasys Infinite Build 3D Printer prototype
15 of 15 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

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