The Main AC Unit of the Tesla Model Y Utilizes an FDM 3D Printed Part in order to compensate for a mold limitation and ensure production is not stalled.
Munro and Associates has been breaking down one of the first Model Y's during quarantine. They recently released a video of the initial breakdown of the HVAC system of the Model Y. The main unit is composed of multiple large Injection molded pieces. But as it turns out there is also a 3D Printed component as part of the assembly.
The Reason for the 3D Printed part is unclear. Though it is likely to ensure production continues uninterupted. The HVAC housing is an exceptionally large molded part. The cost and time of of manufacturing are huge, even by injection molding standards. It would not be unsurprising if the mold for this part required 6-8 weeks to produce and cost as much as 250-500,000 dollars. That is a huge production delay, especially for the frenetic pace that Tesla Operates at.
The 3D Printed part was likely added in order to create an efficient manufacturing process until the next iteration of the mold was complete. Tesla is able to drill a hole precisely in the molded part and then fuse in the 3D Printed part. This is a quick and perfectly viable solution to keep production running until the port hole is integrated into the new HVAC mold design.
Since Tesla is only producing about 1000 Model Y's per week is is not difficult for the 3D printing to keep pace. Though it is clear that the part is printed at a very low resolution. And it is also likely that the 3D Printed part is cropped directly from the Version 2 mold design, because its design is not optimized for 3D Printing at all and fits in with the current molded piece like a chunk of a puzzle.
If Tesla were to outsource production of these types of parts to a service like Slant 3D they could be produced much more quickly and with much better properties than the part shown in the video. Slant 3D produces 10,000's of plastic parts every week for all types of markets and with engineering grade materials.
But it is great to see that FDM printed parts are proving thier viability in such great automobiles as the Tesla Model Y. We hope to see more 3D Printed parts in the future, as not as solutions to a design flaw, but as the ultimate end part.
If you have a need for 3D Printed parts as an alternative to injection molding, or to rapidly address supply issues. Please reach out with a 3D model of your part.
Manufacturing a Product for the Cost of a Website.
At Slant 3D we are working to make it as simple and affordable to create a physical product as to create a website.
If you want to make a website or an app all you have to do is spend $25 per month to host it and then spend a weekend writing or coding. You now have a platform that can become worth billions of dollars. (Seriously this is all it took to start facebook)
Actual manufacturing is not like that. Inventors have to spend tens of thousands of dollars just to get started. That is because they literally have to build a factory and supply chain for each new product. And they have to do all of that with Scratch.
The reason websites are cheap and manufacturing is expensive is because websites are built on top of infrastructure that already exists. Manufacturing has to rebuild that infrastructure everytime. Facebook just had to be posted on the the internet, a fidget spinner had to be built, packed, and shipped each time one is ordered. 3D Printing provides that infrastructure
Large scale 3D Printing with 3D Printing farms allow inventors to create a new product and post it online, just like a website. Then when it is purchased it is made. There is no cost of injection molding, and no cost of warehousing. Using Slant 3D fulfillment there is not even the effort of shipping the product. This means that new ideas can be tried for free and if they are successful then the inventor can really make a career or company out of it.
We are demonstrating this with the BagClamp.
The BagClamp is a simple consumer product. Something you would pick up off a shelf at a Walmart for a couple of dollars. But unlike all of those products, which used tens of thousands of dollars to be made, the BagClamp is entirely digitally manufactured. And it cost only the time to create it.
The BagClamp was designed in 2 days at Slant 3D. It was conceived prototyped and prepped for production in 2 days. That is light-years faster than normal product design. But we did something very interesting. We didn't create it and then make 1000's hoping they would sell. We made 10, for a few dollars apiece, and are now testing it on Kickstarter with a small campaign. The kickstarter proves that the product is a good one. With nearly 2000 units presold on Kickstarter it is worth putting it into production. And that production is already paid for with preorders. So the product has been created and put into production almost for free, just like a website.
But what is really interesting is that we will be mass manufacturing the first 100,000 BagClamps within our 3D Printing facility in Boise, Idaho. And we will do it profitably.
There are few single products that have been mass manufactured with 3D Printing. Carbon 3D and Adidas have manufactured almost 100,000 sets of $400 dollar 3D Printed shoes. Etsy stores make custom cookie cutters for $25 dollars apiece. "3D Printed Products just don't cost $2 and are mass manufactured." But actually they are.
3D Printing has only the cost of material and electricity. Based on that is should be the same cost as injection molding. It hasn't been because 3D Printing has always required a huge amount of human labor.
At Slant 3D we have created entirely automated 3D Printing factories. Hundred of 3D Printers working for weeks on end without human touch just producing parts. This lets plastic products, like the BagClamp be produced very cheaply and at scale.
Help us show the world that 3D Printing is ready for mass manufacturing. Get a BagClamp for yourself. Or if you or your company needs help manufacturing plastic parts without the cost of molds, reach out to us for a free quote and design review. Today it is as easy to get a product manufactured as it is to start a website.
The Pandemic Stopped Distribution
2020 started fairly normally in manufacturing. If you were sourcing items from china you put in your orders before the Chinese New Year shut down the country for several weeks.
But then news of coronavirus started. The country went into lockdown during the New Year break. And then that lockdown was extended. And extended again. American manufacturers found themselves 3-4 weeks behind because China was only starting to come back into operation.
And then Covid-19 spread in the US. And we went into lockdown. Any goods that were ordered could not be delivered because they could not be received at the Docks. And this included very simple items just as face shields and facemasks.
Traditional manufacturers could not ramp up initially because the demand was expected to subside in a few weeks. And that same belief prevented large orders of product that would not arrive for several weeks. But they were needed, and the lack of basic gear likely contributed to the spread.
Add to this the fact that a huge amount of consumption occurred during lockdown. Americans stuck at home took to online shopping to pass the time and spend a stimulus check. But there was nothing for them to buy. Inventories ran out and then all companies could do was wait. Demand was flowing by, but the supply just wasn't there. And this still continues, walk down the hard goods aisle of a Wal-Mart.
The modern global economy is built on shipping. The ability to float or fly product from one part of the globe to the next. With the pandemic and the closing of borders that was no longer possible.
3D Printing Continued
During all of this Slant 3D never paused production or left our clients without supply. And we have since been able to support manufacturers in need of plastic parts until normal production can return to its previous levels. We also manufactured thousands of medical PPE until the rest of the world caught up.
3D Printing allows for the flexible and local production of plastic parts. Slant 3D has our primary factory in Boise, Idaho. We are working on building another in Louisville, Kentucky and many of our clients have our Mason 3D Printers in their facilities.
All this distributes production around the United States. And allows us to perfectly meet demand of products as needed.
3D Printing changes manufacturing so that it can be easily adjusted, easily scaled, and practically zero cost to start. There are no molds, there are no minimums and millions of parts can be produced. 3D Printing is pandemic-proof.
As the need for medical PPE has increased there has come to be a shortage of the materials used to make it. This is true even for 3D Printed medical items. The supply chains are not currently able to react quickly enough to deliver filament where necessary.
So at Slant 3D we have turned our 3D filament extrusion lines toward the problem and will begin producing affordable PLA for the use by 3D Printers, in our local Idaho and beyond, to make medical protective gear.
We have first released Transparent PLA to be used to print headbands and other devices.
For Pickup in Treasure Valley
PLA Filament Shipped Nationally
Slant 3D is manufacturing 1000 3D Printed face shields per day to help stem the shortage of medical supplies during the Covid-19
14 Days ago Slant 3D started to dedicate a significant portion of our capacity to producing 3D printed PPE (Personal Protective Equiptment) to medical professionals across the USA who did not have access to it.
Since then we have been manufacturing at least 1000 face shields per day and delivering them all over the United States. If you have a need for such PPE please contact us.
This huge production capacity has been able to supply hospitals as traditional manufacturing ramps up over weeks. It required less than 1 day to reach the production level we hit. And it was possible to go even higher. With Print Farm Beta, our new printer facility, we will be able to produce 10,000's of face shields per week if the need arises again.
Under normal circumstances these large printer farms are used to manufacture parts without the cost of molds. Companies use that capability to start and scale new products with very little risk.
As the production requirements for Covid-19 decrease, our factory will quickly move back to the normal production of these plastic parts. Producing Thousands of pieces every day with 3D Printing.