The automotive industry has been using additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, for over three decades. For years, auto manufacturers have been creating prototypes for their vehicles by putting 3D printing to good use. However, General Motors (GM) is committed to finding new ways to use 3D printing to their benefit.
In fact, General Motors recently announced that they’re planning to use 3D printing to create lighter and more affordable vehicles.
GM utilized 3D printing to create a stainless-steel seat bracket that might be implemented into vehicles soon if they’re able to eventually bring the cost of 3D printing down. This particular part would typically be made up of about eight smaller parts put together. However, through the use of 3D printing, GM has been able to turn the oddly-shaped seat bracket into a single component that is about 40 percent lighter and about 20 percent stronger than a regular seat bracket.
The new seat bracket wouldn’t affect the performance of the average GM vehicle that much, but it does prove that GM might be able to make their vehicles lighter by using 3D printing. The concept would, in turn, allow for GM vehicles to be faster and more fuel efficient without sacrificing performance.
GM has teamed up with a software firm called Autodesk that specializes in design and engineering to figure out more ways to 3D print some of the other 30,000 parts and pieces that are included in most GM vehicles.