Cadillac Celestiq’s new “ultra-luxury” $300,000+ vehicle has more
than 100 3-D printed parts
Now that much of the hype around 3-D printing has died down—no more of that 2010s-era talk about a Star Trek-style replicator in every home—a funny thing is happening to this technology. It’s becoming a widely used, and in some respects quietly revolutionary, update to the way that people manufacture and process things we rely on every day—from cars to industrial machinery to food. “What’s more, the way this technology is being used could have implications for the shape of global supply chains to come,” writes The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 14-15, 2023).
3-D printing, also known as “additive manufacturing,” generally works by adding tiny layers of material—usually powdered metal or plastic—one at a time to form an item, and fusing them with binding agents, lasers or other methods. Thus, parts are “grown” instead of forged, cast, molded, or machined as in traditional manufacturing. Just a decade ago, this kind of manufacturing was, with rare exceptions, suitable only for creating prototypes. What’s different now is that newer technology lets these systems print objects strong enough to be used in finished products—and relatively quickly.