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2014 Chevrolet Malibu Development Helped by 3D Printing

General Motors received some criticism over the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu last year and as a result decided to update the model when they switched to the 2014 model year. With time of the essence, engineer turned to rapid prototyping, known also as 3D printing to turn computer designs into parts much quicker.
2014 Malibu center console 1 photo
The processes literally grow prototype parts out of powder or liquid resin at a much lower cost than using casting methods.

The most important part made using 3D printing was o the new Malibu’s floor console, which now features a pair of integrated smartphone holders for driver and passenger.

In addition, the Malibu development team used rapid prototyping to:
  • Update the center stack trim and evaluate various surface treatments for the console and center stack
  • Create a prototype of Malibu’s redesigned front fascia, enabling aerodynamic and climatic wind tunnel testing without expensive production parts.
  • Re-sculpt the front seat back panels – located between seat frame and upholstery – for improved rear seat access and passenger comfort. The 2014 model has 1.25 inches more knee room compared to its predecessor.

“When you need to get intricate, fully functional prototype parts quickly, nothing beats rapid prototyping,” said Todd Pawlik, chief engineer, Chevrolet mid- and full-size cars. “Our ability to rapidly fabricate inexpensive prototype parts throughout a vehicle enables key components to get confirmed earlier so that we can go from computer models to production-caliber parts.”  

 
 
 
 
 

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