3D Printing Development Prints Clay Automotive Design Models

3D printer manufacturer WASP has issued an update on its partnership with the European R&D arm of HONDA which was originally announced in April 2021. The two companies have been developing WASP’s Liquid Deposition Modeling (LDM) 3D printing technology to be adapted to clay motorcycle modeling using a WASP’s DELTA WASP 40100 Clay 3D printer.

The new concept will offer Honda motorcycle designers an innovative tool to create an industrial model using 3D printed clay that can ultimately be hand-finished. Moreover, since WASP is one of the most sustainable companies in the 3D printing industry, it guarantees that the clay can be reusable.

“The technological innovation consists in keeping, at a constant temperature, the whole system made by tank, connection pipe and extruder,” said Nicola Schiavarelli, Product Manager and Co-founder of WASP. “WASP research has led to the creation of a revolutionary machine for printing industrial clay, the DELTA WASP 40100 clay, able to extrude and make the material never-ending and reusable.”

Bringing the collaborative 3D printing technology into the creative process of industrial clay modeling is at the forefront of the partnership. Both companies have worked to innovate and speed up the industrial development process hoping to offer designers an ‘unprecedented freedom in manufacturing’. Once the Delta WASP 40100 Clay prints the prototype parts, they can be easily hand-finished and re-worked if they do not meet the required specifications.

Automotive clay sculpting is critical to translate a designer’s vision into a tangible reality, and clay modeling is still commonly used by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the automotive and product design industries. Clay models allow companies to visualize the virtual 3D concept design cars and motorcycles.

Honda R&D Europe’s Design Modeling Coordinator Antonio Arcadu describes how industrial clay was first introduced in the design studios thanks to the vision of American designer Harley Earl, who revolutionized the way automobile prototypes were being made in the late 1920s. He is credited with comparing the sculptor’s skills to that of the modeler, highlighted Arcadu, who emphasized Earl’s creative abilities and his role as mediator between designers and engineers.

With broad knowledge ranging from industrial clay modeling and 3D engineering to virtual reality and 3D printing, the modeler figure has become increasingly central to a development project, says Arcadu. In fact, the modeler is responsible for the complete materialization process, starting from the 3D design made entirely in a virtual environment to the final hand-made manufacturing phase, occasionally replaced by the clay milling process or subtractive manufacturing.

“In order to preserve the creative process, we cannot rely on technology alone, but we need modelers not to interrupt their connection with the matter in its most direct form: the hands. Although this is a newly introduced process, it can be considered disruptive in the automotive sector because it introduces a new flow, mostly additive, able to optimize processing times and reduce the amount of material used in the traditional and subtractive processes,” remarks Arcadu.

For more information: www.3dwasp.com

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