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What type of printer would one recommend to print and cast car body parts fast on a large scale? Also if I were to print parts for restoration would I need licences from the manufactures?

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  • $\begingroup$ 3D printers are not typically used for this, maybe just for prototypes by large corporations using very expensive laser metal printers. Have a look into CNCs instead. $\endgroup$ – Leo Ervin Jun 6 '16 at 21:01
  • $\begingroup$ Why do you want to 3-D print as the method of production for auto body parts? The main advantage of 3-D printing is the ability to customize each print, rather than requiring large amounts of the same design (as becomes advantageous under mass-production manufacturing methods). In addition, 3-D printing will have structural challenges which are not seen in metallic parts (if that is what you are replicating). $\endgroup$ – J. Roibal - BlockchainEng Jun 12 '16 at 1:52
  • $\begingroup$ @J.Roibal But what if you want to produce a one-off part for a car that is long out of production? $\endgroup$ – Tom van der Zanden Jun 12 '16 at 6:44
  • $\begingroup$ @TomvanderZanden yeah, that's a valid 3D printing use case. It doesn't seem to be what the asker is asking though: "...print and cast car body parts fast on a large scale" $\endgroup$ – Tin Wizard Jun 15 '16 at 22:43
  • $\begingroup$ check out web.ornl.gov/sci/manufacturing/media/news/detroit-show $\endgroup$ – StarWind0 Jun 16 '16 at 13:18
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The Materialise Mammoth printers seem to be the predominant choice for manufacturing car body parts. However, any sufficiently large printer (e.g. bigrep) could work. That said, car body parts are quite a challenge to 3D print given how excruciatingly long such large parts take (exacerbating the probability of failure). You will have to very carefully consider whether 3D printing is right for your application (it probably is not).

The licensing part is extremely complicated. You'll have to deal with patents (perhaps the body part incorporates some clever patented feature), trademarks (you generally can't reproduce manufacturer's logo's) and copyrights (if the part is very "artistic" it might be protected by copyright, but this is unlikely). A simple, functional part such as a body panel would generally not be protected by any of these but these three things are the main reason why you might need a license.

In addition, you have to be careful as to which materials you use, as these will (most probably) not be as strong/durable as those that are produced by car-parts-manufacturers. Furthermore, if you print the parts yourself, install it in a customer's vehicle, and the vehicle malfunctions, as a result, you may find yourself being sued.

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  • $\begingroup$ Tom, @PMARINA added the last section as a suggested edit. If you feel it is disconnected from your answer, then perhaps PMARINA should add it as a separate answer instead. $\endgroup$ – Tormod Haugene Jun 7 '16 at 10:34

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