By on August 1, 2013

aston body

A few weeks ago, we ran a post about a new computer driven tool developed by Ford that allows them to rapidly prototype sheet metal parts. At the time, I raised the potential that Ford’s Freeform Fabrication Technology might have for enthusiasts working on customizing or restoring cars. Load a sheet of metal in the frame, load a file on the computer, and watch it hammer out a fender for your classic or custom car. Apparently that wasn’t much of a stretch. Engadget reports on a New Zealand man named Ivan Sentch who is using an $800 desktop 3D printer to fabricate the body for a 1961 Series I Aston Martin DB4 replica he is making. (Read More…)

By on July 4, 2013

Did you see the video about Ford’s new panel forming tech? Ford’s Freeform Fabrication Technology, F3T. Gizmodo called it a 3D printer for sheet metal but I think it’s more of a new take on traditional metal shaping tools since it’s essentially taking a large power hammer, reducing the scale of the work tools down to stylus size so very small sections of the panel are shaped at a time and digitizing the process.

I think it has potential for the car hobby well beyond letting Ford make prototype parts or short run niche vehicle body panels fast. I think it could bring coachbuilding to the masses. Right now it takes a lot of specialty machines and tools and years and years of apprenticing and metal shaping to be able to make a one-off fender, let alone an entire car. Imagine being able to take a CAD drawing of the car of your dreams, downloading it into a machine, and watch it start shaping fenders, hoods and doors.

What a cool idea!

What a freaking scary idea! (Read More…)

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