Is it just me, or are most cars starting to look alike? Sometimes I have to look at the nameplate of a car to see if it’s a Ford, a Hyundai or a Mercedes. You can make a car a bit more unique with the choice of paint colors, and choosing one of usually three features packages, but there are still going to be thousands of cars on the road just like yours.
But what if you really wanted to pimp your ride? What if you wanted to have some truly one-of-a-kind components that NO ONE else has on their same models? Maybe you’d like a gearshift knob precisely matched to your hand size in a material and color of your choosing? Or how about a custom shaped area of your dashboard in the material of your choice? Custom steering wheel?
There’s only one way that anything like this is going to become a reality, and that’s with 3D printing. Without a 3D printer, it’s simply unaffordable to do such one-offs. If automakers would at least begin by designating certain components of cars as custom-designable, we’d be on our way.
The good news is that there is already movement in this direction. In this video, Joris Debo, Creative Director of Materialise.com, offers his views on where this is heading: