within the next 10 years, begin designing and manufacturing their very own vehicles using in-home three-dimensional printing systems, services and consumables.
- The robustness of 3D printed materials is not great. Today we’re just beginning to see a shift from the “it looks great but for God’s sake don’t touch it!” stage to the “It might work in a mechanical toy for a short while” stage. We’d have to see substantial improvements in materials before we’d be cruising safely
- Build chamber sizes are smaller than many car components. Certainly you can print a cup holder, but a 4×5 ft smooth door panel? You can print components and assemble them, but there are quite a few car components that likely need substantially larger build chambers
- Some assembly required. Today one can imagine many car parts being printed, and even robust ones in the very near future. But exactly how would they be put together into a complete, tested, functional and safe auto? Today’s 3D print scenario would require carbon-based units take the parts and put them together manually. Not quite the envisioned “Touch to Buy” activity. You’d need a stage with robots capable of assembling parts into arbitrary car models
- And then there’s the design itself. Even designing a great cup holder requires a fair bit of skill and design talent. A car would be far beyond, well, almost everyone’s skills. You’d have to provide a massive catalog of interoperable pre-designed and tested components, and the buyer would merely be choosing various combinations of them