Stratasys Enables 3D Printing to Go Long

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Three-dimensional printing, which literally builds objects out of thin air, debuted more than 25 years ago. Carmakers quickly adopted the technology to quickly make one-off prototypes. But now they’re using it to create tooling and production parts, says Jim Vurpillat, director of automotive marketing at Stratasys Ltd., a Minnesota-based maker of 3D production systems.

3D systems usually build parts out of layers stacked vertically within a chamber. But Stratasys’ latest breakthrough, called the Infinite Build System, constructions objects horizontally, which eliminates limits on the length of printed parts.

Vurpillat says the new Stratasys system allows carmakers to quickly create protoypes of such components as front-end fascias, center consoles, rocker panels and more from nothing more than a computer file.