Drivers will soon be able to customize cars with 3D-printed skins
Last year, Daihastu and Stratasys revealed that drivers of the Japanese carmaker's Copen model would be able to design and install their own custom 3D-printed panels. The companies have now announced that the mass customization system is now ready for testing and roll-out.
The "Effect Skins" panels come in different patterns and in different colors that can be swapped in and out as the driver desires. There are currently 15 geometric and organic patterns available, created by designers partnering on the project, and 10 different colors to choose from.
The process takes around two weeks, where it would previously have taken two to three months using traditional methods of manufacture. But the designs can also be altered by the customers themselves, meaning that it's possible to produce complete one-of-a-kind creations for individual Copen drivers.
At present, the panels are available for the Copen's front and rear bumpers and its fenders. They are printed in ASA thermoplastic, which is said to be durable and UV resistant, using Stratasys' Fortus Production 3D printers.
The Effect Skins are being tested this year and are expected to be rolled out commercially in early 2017.
The video below provides a look at the 3D printing and customization process.