The pringing technology is quite simple really. At this time, two separate techniques exist for creating a 3D printed product. One technique requires a spool of treatable material that is fed through a heated nozzle and creates an object by placing layer upon layer of material until the final object is complete.
The second technique requires a type of flowing resin, which is exposed to a UV laser that turns that resin into a solid layer. The mold is then lowered to allow another layer to be created, subsequently fusing to the previously printed layer.
Different size printers exist on the market, and with enough financial backing you could probably talk to a 3D printer manufacturer like Prusa to make you one that allows to print vehicle sized components. That seems to be the case here.
To be able to print door panels, roof panels, hoods, engine components and eventually engines, GM requires large printers, but also ones that allow for materials such as diverse metals or carbon fiber to be used. Afterall, we are building cars here and safety is an issue.
But why 3D printing?
“3D printing allows us to make constant, rapid changes to fixtures based on feedback from the assembly teams. We can receive feedback from Hamilton, improve a part and have it flown back to Reno in less than 24 hours.” - Dominick Lentine, GM.
So, it makes sense to use this type of technology on a vehicle like the C8. With its sporty look, sleek shape and odd lines, it seems only normal to turn to 3D tech to be able to put something like this together before actually modifying production lines. In time, it seems that this might even be a goal that GM and other vehicle manufactures are looking to hit.
All this aside, 3D printing units and facilities also allow companies like GM to shift production, as was the case with the global health crisis, to much needed components that have nothing to do with cars.