Have you dreamed of a car being 3D printed in front of your eyes, Tron-style? Then head over to Honda’s 3D website, where they’re showing off a range of their concept cars from across the years. Five cars are currently available, from the 1994 FSR Concept through the 1999 car-as-DJ-booth Fuya-Jo and on to last year’s NSX prototype. The site is presented a bit like a Pixar movie, quirky and fun, but the underlying concept is far more serious – and exciting. You can view each car through 360 degrees in your browser, but the most unexpected thing is that you can also download CAD files for each car.
This is pretty huge, as Honda are distributing them under the Creative Commons licensing model. That means you can not only download but also edit and redistribute them. Honda are actually encouraging you to see what you can come up with! Sure, the internal details and mechanicals are sparse, but as a starting point it’s pretty cool. Each car comes as high and low-res .STL files; even just opening and rotating one of the cars in a viewer is pretty thrilling.
At the moment 3D printing is really only viable for scale models of course, but this is a window into the future. Honda aren’t the first car company to use CC licensing and its crowd-sourced results, but it’s something that could become more widespread. Imagine that we, the drivers, could have a say in how future cars look and work?
Although I can barely afford to run my desktop printer, what with the cost of inkjet consumables, access to commercial 3D printers is increasing. I can’t think of anything better than sketching out your own car and then being able to print it out. But even if you don’t have your own MakerBot, get over to Honda-3D.com and go virtual!