Ford announced that it is the first automaker to open a one-stop 3D digital shop – the Ford 3D Store. With the help of Turbosquid, Ford fans can use 3D printing technology to make their own models of Ford vehicles or opt to purchase a 3D digital file from a growing library of more than 1,000 Ford vehicle images.
Available 3D-printed Ford models are 1/32nd (one thirty second) scale in plastic and models included in the launch: the new Ford GT, F-150 Raptor, Shelby GT350R, Focus ST and Fiesta ST. Printed models and digital files for additional Ford vehicles will be available at a later date. The Ford 3D Store is powered by TurboSquid.com, which provides automotive digital imaging and 3D-printable files. I have to say that the F-150 Raptor pickup truck looks pretty tough as a plastic model. When you click on the model within the Ford site, you are immediately taken to the Turbosquid site which offers more views of the model and pricing. The F-150 Raptor 2017 model starts at $149.
According to a news release the company sent me: “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. “At Ford, we’re using 3D printing every day to rapidly prototype parts, and now we want to share that fun with our fans.” Since I visited the Ford 3D printing lab, in person, last year while on the 3DRV roadtrip, I can attest to the many ways that the company is using 3D printing and 3D materials science to advance car making. I wrote about their unique metal bending machine and some of their virtual reality work to help engineers move rapidly through product changes. You can read those posts here and here.
According to Juniper research, sales of desktop 3D printers will exceed 1 million units by 2018, from an estimated 44,000 sold annually in 2014. That’s a pretty big increase in new 3D printers soon to be on consumer desks, but one that pales in comparison to the number of people who might try out 3D printing via a service bureau, particularly if you make it easy to customize and click-to-print a model.