Car companies are slowly letting 3D-printing technology seep into their production facilities. BMW’s Mini division just announced a new program called Yours Customized that lets current and future owners design their own 3D-printed trim pieces without going down the do-it-yourself rabbit hole.
Right now, the list of 3D-printed parts is limited to the inlays integrated into the front fenders and the trim on the passenger side of the dashboard. Customers can choose from five colors and a long list of different patterns and finishes, add text, or pick from a small selection of cityscapes.
You can order a silver piece of trim inscribed with the words “Mario Kart Master” if that’s what you’ve always looked for in a car. It will look better than duct tape. If you get pulled over on a regular basis you could, conceivably, ask the company to 3D-print your driver’s license number so the cops know who they’re dealing with right away. Mini’s photos show other, less cool applications: You can write your name on the side of your car, for example. The possibilities are nearly endless.
Mini created a platform named Online Customizer to let owners configure the special components. The parts are then 3D printed in Germany using high-quality plastic and sent back to the customer via the nearest dealer. The company points out it takes no more than a few minutes to swap out the trim pieces and the process doesn’t require any special tools. All you need is a plastic clamp you can buy directly from Mini. We suggest you keep it in a safe place so you can re-install the original trim pieces if the next owner doesn’t share your first name or your affinity for Mario Kart.
There’s more: You can literally sign your car. Using laser-lettering technology, Mini creates custom door sills engraved with anything ranging from the car’s name to the owner’s signature. Buyers who want the full treatment can order custom-designed LED door projectors, too.
The 3D-printed parts are available for the Mini Convertible and the two- and four-door variants of the Hardtop, while the door sills and the door projects are also compatible with the bigger Clubman. We’ve reached out to the company to find out how much each part costs and we’ll update this article as soon as we hear back.
Published at Wed, 27 Dec 2017 15:10:10 +0000