3D-printed parts moving closer to production cars

Five years ago, Detroit auto show crowds scratched their heads over a car whose body, frame and interior emerged fully formed at the show from computer printers that laid down layers of carbon-fiber infused plastic to form the three-dimensional components. The 3D printing of auto parts, demonstrated then by a small company called Local Motors, has accelerated from auto show curiosity to manufacturing necessity in just a few short years. This year, printed parts logged 80,000 miles on Chevrolet’s Corvette, IndyCar, NASCAR and Silverado race teams, while providing prototype duty on production ve…

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