For many of us, an automobile is the second biggest major purchase we will make in our lifetimes.
A lot goes into getting a new auto; financing, interest rates, trade-in value and haggling with the salesperson. Many of us actually enjoy that last one, but what if I told you could get yourself a brand new Ford Raptor with the click of a button?
Ford enthusiasts can download digital images of select Ford vehicles at the first-ever, automaker-authorized online store for 3D-printable vehicle files. The Ford 3D Store allows customers to use advanced technology to make their own models of Ford vehicles of the size and material they desire, or simply opt to purchase a 3D digital file from a growing library of more than 1,000 Ford images.
Mark Bentley, licensing manager, Ford Global Brand Licensing, says the company sees 3D printing at home as a growing trend, adding Ford uses 3D printing every day to prototype parts.
“We want to share that fun with our fans,” he says.
Juniper Research says sales of desktop 3D printers will exceed 1 million units by 2018, from an estimated 44,000 sold annually in 2014.
Available 3D-printed Ford models include the F-150 Raptor, new Ford GT, Shelby GT350R, Focus ST and Fiesta ST. Printed models and digital files for additional Ford vehicles will be available at a later date.
3D-printed models available to order are 1/32nd scale in plastic, but purchasing a digital image allows users to have a Ford model 3D-printed to the scale and of the material they choose, either from their own printer or from an outside source. Professional 3D printers can create a model in materials ranging from soft plastics to sandstone and various metals.
There is one hang up. Unlike when you buy a lifesize Ford vehicle, when a buyer purchases a model or digital image, you have to agree that the item will not be used commercially.