_Desktop Metal®


Novel designs, rapid iteration, and innovative business models


Additive manufacturing allows for rapid functional prototyping of complex automotive components and the creation of on-demand tooling - increasing design flexibility, shortening product development timelines, and streamlining production.

The technology also enables new business models and supply chains based on localized production, digital warehouses and the on-demand production of both custom components and spare parts.

_Case Study [A]

Bringing new innovations to auto manufacturing

With the Studio System, Ford continues to be a pioneer in the use of new manufacturing technology, and is exploring the use of metal 3D printing for everything from functional prototyping to creating manufacturing aids to producing limited runs of production parts.

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Advancing automotive manufacturing


Our customers are leaders in the world of automotive manufacturing, and are using Desktop Metal technology to explore next-generation manufacturing solutions.

  • BMW Logo
  • Renault Logo
  • Continental Automotive Group Logo
    [Continental Automotive Group]
  • Ford Logo
  • Goodyear Logo
  • Nissan Logo
  • Robert Bosch Logo
    [Robert Bosch]
  • Toyota Logo
  • Eaton Vehicle Group
    [Eaton Vehicle Group]
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From prototyping to mass production

_3d printing solutions

Desktop Metal manufactures 3D printing solutions for all scales of production—from complex prototypes and on-demand tooling to rapid manufacture of thousands of parts.

Part Gallery

_Automotive applications

3D printing enables a vast array of automotive parts and applications — saving time and money at all stages of production.

  • Generative Piston Head

    Prototype piston head for a reciprocating engine, optimized with generative design.

    Generative Piston Head

    • Size (mm) 105 x 105 x 54
      Cost to print ($) 271.00
      Cost to machine ($) 568.13
      Savings vs. machining 52.30%
    • Typically CNC machined from aluminum alloy, pistons can be time consuming and difficult to rapidly prototype and test - often taking months or even years to move from design to production.

      With the Studio System, various piston designs can be easily prototyped and tested—speeding up product development timelines, reducing time to market, and introducing new opportunities for optimization, including generative design—all while avoiding CNC backlog and lead times.

  • Seat Belt Pulley

    17-4 PH
    This output pulley is an essential component of the reclining mechanism in a car seat.

    Seat Belt Pulley

    • Size (mm) 48 x 29 x 9
      Cost per part ($) 0.89
      Parts per build 2,740
      Annual throughput 995,900
    • This part features an undercut radial groove that, without printing, would require advanced sliders during the press-and-sinter process. Printed on the Production System eliminates the cost and complexities associated with press and sinter.

  • Connecting Rod

    This connecting rod transmits power from the piston head to the crankshaft in a combustion engine.

    Connecting Rod

    • Size (mm) 73 x 22 x 18
      Cost to print ($) 71.00
      Cost to machine ($) 975.58
      Cost reduction 93.00%
    • This part would traditionally be forged, followed by multiple machining operations. Printing this part and machining critical dimensions allows for reduced machining lead time, frees up machine shop for other work, and delivers significant cost savings.

  • Shock Absorber Pistons

    17-4 PH
    This piston is used in a shock absorber to provide dampening over uneven surfaces.

    Shock Absorber Pistons

    • Size (mm) 63 x 63 x 22
      Cost to print ($) 41.00
      Cost to machine ($) 245.00
      Cost reduction 83.27%
    • This part features complex internal channels that are optimized to direct the flow of oil to provide the right level of damping. These internal channels could not be manufactured in any method other than additive manufacturing.

      The Studio System allowed the pistons to be rapidly prototyped and tested in 17-4 stainless steel at a low cost per part. Once the design is finalized, the parts can be mass-produced using the Shop System.

  • Thermostat Housing

    Thermostat housing on a vintage Mercedes Benz engine.

    Thermostat Housing

    • Size (mm) 59 x 54 x 80
      Cost to print ($) 43.00
      Cost to machine ($) 717.00
      Cost reduction 94.00%
    • This thermostat housing was originally cast, but as demand for replacement parts dwindled, it was discontinued, and the parts became difficult to find. Attempts to recreate the part have been frustrated by the fact that the molds and tools used to produce it no longer exist, and geometry that is too complex for machining.

      Using the Studio System, however, aftermarket parts suppliers can quickly reproduce rare parts like this housing, making them available for car enthusiasts who want them.

  • Gear Shift Knob

    17-4 PH
    An example of mass customization, this textured gear shift knob can be printed to customer specifications.

    Gear Shift Knob

    • Size (mm) 70 x 70 x 32
      Cost per part ($) 86.94
      Parts per build 15
      Weekly throughput 137
    • On demand manufacturing of custom knobs is enabled with the Shop System - expanding design flexibility and avoiding warehousing costs. The short manufacturing lead times allows for many custom knobs to be produced with a variety of different designs.

      Printing on the Shop System also allows for a dramatic reduction in cost compared to traditional manufacturing methods.

  • Brake Duct

    PEEK + CF
    Found on a BMW hill climb car, this duct reroutes air from the front of the car to cool its brakes.

    Brake Duct

    • Size (mm) 130 x 63 x 97
      Cost ($) 54.92
      Weight (g) 65
      Print time (hr) 11
    • Printing on Fiber enables optimization for the most efficient air flow, leading to better cooling. Brakes get extremely hot during competition, PEKK + CF provides heat resistance and is lighter than an aluminum alternative.

  • Parking Shift Bracket

    17-4 PH
    This bracket is used in the parking brake assembly of a continuously variable transmission.

    Parking Shift Bracket

    • Size (mm) 93 x 44 x 12
      Cost per part ($) 2.84
      Parts per build 680
      Annual throughput 248,980
    • This part would require a complex die and multiple secondary operations to be produced via traditional powder metallurgy techniques.

      The Production system eliminates the need for tooling, dramatically reducing lead times, reducing part costs and enables the redesign of this part to consolidate an assembly into a single part.

  • Killacycle Coupling

    17-4 PH
    This part is a taper lock coupling designed for a high-end, custom motorcycle.

    Killacycle Coupling

    • Size (mm) 70 x 70 x 32
      Cost per part ($) 86.94
      Parts per build 15
      Weekly throughput 137
    • The Killacycle is an electrically-powered motorcycle built for drag racing. Using the Shop System, engineers were able to design for function rather than for the manufacturing method, allowing them to use a tapered design that would be difficult to manufacture via traditional methods.

      The Shop system allowed for a greatly accelerated manufacturing lead time, allowing the team to rapidly iterate on the part.

  • Heat Shield

    PEEK + CF
    This heat shield protects the surrounding area of the car from hot exhaust.

    Heat Shield

    • Size (mm) 187 x 142 x 83
      Cost ($) 18.72
      Weight (g) 22
      Print time (hr) 5.25
    • This heat shield can be produced in just a few hours, drastically reducing manufacturing lead time.

      The original aluminum heat shield became hot enough to char CF components under the car. PEEK + CF is far less conductive than aluminum, solving this problem and saving weight at the same time.

  • Mirror Mount

    PA6 + CF
    This part attaches a rear-view mirror to the roll cage on a BMW race car.

    Mirror Mount

    • Size (mm) 75 x 97 x 37
      Cost ($) 6.47
      Weight (g) 65
      Print time (hr) 10
    • Printing this mount on Fiber delivers a part 4X lighter than the original aluminum design, while maintaining strength and durability. In racing, weight is everything, and reducing weight leads to faster times.

  • Clutch Plate

    17-4 PH
    This clutch plate connects an electric motor to the crankshaft to start a motorcycle.

    Clutch Plate

    • Size (mm) 80 x 80 x 15
      Cost per part ($) 49.57
      Parts per build 29
      Weekly throughput 200
    • Machining this clutch plate would require multiple setups and multiple machining operations. By printing the part, only critical dimensions need to be machined, saving machinist labor, CNC machine time and reducing part cost.

  • BMW Water Wheel

    17-4 PH
    The waterwheel is an integral part of the BMW’s engine cooling system.

    BMW Water Wheel

    • Size (mm) 63 x 63 x 34
      Cost per part ($) 9.74
      Parts per build 170
      Annual throughput 63,230
    • Initially made of several plastic parts, BMW redesigned this waterwheel for printing on a laser-based system, but found the process to slow and expensive for mass production.

      The Production system unlocks higher throughput, allowing the part to be manufactured at a competitive price, bringing the race track to the road.

  • Audi Fixture

    17-4 PH
    This custom manufacturing fixture was created for use on an Audi production line.

    Audi Fixture

    • Size (mm) 127 x 51 x 38
      Cost per part ($) 19.18
      Parts per build 110
      Annual throughput 41,500
    • With complex internal conformal cooling channels that span the base and the wall, this fixture would normally be manufactured in multiple pieces and welded together. As production increases, this part would be too expensive and time-consuming to scale.

      Using the Production System, the fixture is printed as a single part with cooling channels intact—reducing part cost, lead time, and manufacturing complexity.

  • Power Steering Joint

    17-4 PH
    This joint is designed to power transfer in an electric power steering system.

    Power Steering Joint

    • Size (mm) 36 x 36 x 22
      Cost per part ($) 1.89
      Parts per build 1,140
      Annual throughput 470,424
    • This joint is used for power transfer between an electric power steering motor and the steering shaft in an automobile. The production system allowed for this part to be produced with no tooling, allowing for accelerated lead time and flexible design.

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