Ford, the second largest US automaker, has said it’s the first automaker ever to offer a 3D digital shop – the Ford 3D Store – which is designed to cater for the growing sector of 3D printing technology fans.
The automaker has enlisted the help of Turbosquid, with Ford 3D printing fans able to use the 3D printing technology to build their own models of Ford vehicles or acquire just the 3D digital file out of an increasing large library that has already gathered more than 1,000 Ford vehicle images. The available Ford models can be had at a 1/32 scale in plastic and the models first launched are the new Ford GT, F-150 Raptor, Shelby GT350R, Focus ST and Fiesta ST. The printed models and the comprehensive library of digital files for the rest of Ford vehicles would be added later on and the Ford 3D Store is powered by TurboSquid.com, which facilitates access to automotive digital imaging and 3D-printable files. For example, the F-150 Raptor 2017 model starts at $149. “3D printing at home is a growing trend, and it makes sense for us to offer our customers a chance to make their own 3D Ford models,” said Mark Bentley, licensing manager, Ford Global Brand Licensing.
The company already uses 3D printing to rapidly advance the production of prototype parts – they use a unique metal bending machine among others and virtual reality to quickly advance the science behind developing new cars. And sales of desktop 3D printers are expected to surge past one million units by 2018, up from just 44,000 last year.