You’re unlikely to find a new Ford GT in your garage this holiday, but the automaker is giving you a chance to build one yourself. All you’ll need is a 3D printer and some plans provided by Ford.
With 3D printers predicted to become household appliances in the near future, Ford is celebrating its own use of the technology (at least, a very refined version thereof) with detailed printable versions of its cars. Tech-savvy makers can simply download and manufacture more than 1,000 models in miniature, and the rest of us can have a 6-inch-long pre-printed version delivered. The GT (rather, the “Ford GT E3 2015 Forza Motorsport 6”) is offered as a $230, limited-edition full-color rendition shipped in a wooden gift box, while the others — $39 printed or $4.99 for the 3D-printer-ready .STL file — are a solid colour.
Ford has used 3D printing to produce half a million parts since 1988, because the technology can get designs — for steering wheels, air intakes, structural components, you name it — from imagination to testable product in just hours. Depending on how detailed and resilient the prototype needs to be, Ford may print with plastic, sand or metal. But there’s no reason for you to be so limited.
In fact, the file that you’ll download doesn’t just allow to you print a tabletop version of your favorite Ford in some gray plastic, it allows you to print in any size — and from any material — that your printer can handle. Want a wax Focus ST, or a Shelby made of sugar? We have the technology. 3D printers can now print in gold, silver, and titanium — for use as jewelry, if you’re thinking small, or as a coffee table, if you’re thinking big. There are also printers that can manufacture in chocolate (yum), living human cells (impractical), and concrete (also impractical, but imagine a practical joke involving printing an F-150 in your brother-in-law’s driveway).
Ford’s provided a fun little gift for a hobbyist’s holiday, though one wonders how long it will be before you can download plans for some upgraded fenders. My neighbor’s got an Escort that could use a little sprucing up.
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