3D-printed body kits: Could it become a thing?

Aftermarket company 1016 Industries is looking to pioneer 3D printing of body kits.

The company, based in Miami, Florida, specializes in carbon fiber body parts for exotic cars and offers everything from individual parts to full body kits. It’s now looking to incorporate 3D printing into the manufacturing of its kits and is testing a prototype kit developed for the McLaren 720S.

1016 Industries describes the kit as a full body replacement made from carbon. The company said the kit also adds 110 millimeters to the width of the 720S.

It’s still early days as 1016 Industries is yet to determine whether 3D-printed body kits are durable enough to match the performance of traditionally formed kits, i.e. cured in molds. More advanced prototype kits should have better fit and finish than the one shown here.

1016 Industries developing 3D-printed body kit for the McLaren 720S

1016 Industries developing 3D-printed body kit for the McLaren 720S

“Incorporating 3D printing into our production processes has been a steep learning curve,” Peter Northrop, CEO of 1016 Industries, told Motor1 in an interview published Wednesday. “While the material hasn’t proven yet that it would be the right fit for a long-term prototype, our testing has proven that a car can use 3D-printed technologies and be drivable.”

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According to Motor1, 1016 Industries will have a 3D-printed body kit for sale in 2021. It will be limited to 30 units and pricing information is yet to be announced. As a guide, 1016 Industries’ current kits for the McLaren 720S start at $22,000.

Performance wheel manufacturer HRE has also shown off a 3D-printed wheel and the startup Czinger has shown a whole car where most of the parts are made using 3D printing.

3D printing technology has also proven a boon for the major automakers whenever they need to produce complex parts in low volumes, for instance when building a prototype vehicle or adding a specialized part to a vehicle line. The technology has also proven useful for making parts for restoration of classic cars.

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