January 26, 2018
BMW is leveraging 3D printing to allow vehicle owners to customize a BMW MINI using printed inlays to augment their side scuttles, interior trim, LED door sills and LED door projectors.
The new MINI Yours Customised service allows customers to upgrade parts using an online customizer. The software provides a variety of different options (surface finish, color, patterns, logos, etc.), and the size and features of the design can be freely configured. They can also add text (although there are some limitations on exactly what you can print on those parts).
The designs are transferred from the MINI dealership to a production facility in Germany where the parts are created using 3D printing, laser lettering, and other processes. The parts are delivered within a few weeks, and can be installed by the owner or by participating MINI dealers or service partners.
BMW has partnered with Hewlett-Packard, Carbon Inc., and EOS to create its 3D printing facilities.
MINI already offered a number of custom accessories. According to BMW, the new MINI Yours Customised service “offers the customer an opportunity to select between different options and integrates them actively in the design process while retaining the typical MINI language of design. MINI fans are able to make a selection between different colors, patterns, surface finishes and icons when designing MINI Yours Customised products. They can also integrate their own texts and their signature into the design.”
The designs can also be updated and reprinted multiple times.
BMW has used additive manufacturing for a number of applications, including parts for the Rolls Royce Phantom. The company also printed parts for the MINI Electric Concept vehicle, and is an investor in printer manufacturer Desktop Metal.
About the AuthorBrian Albright
Brian Albright is a contributing editor to Digital Engineering. Send e-mail about this article to [email protected].Follow DE