When you wonder who will adopt 3D printing and for what, there are two companies that almost always come to mind: Lego and Ferrari. Both companies are very likely candidates for AM adoption for very different reasons. The Danish brickmaker because it is such an intensive user of plastics and because the company has already gone digital in some ways, with videogames and CG movies. The Italian automaker because it is such as high-performance part manufacturer, pushing the limits of technology in many ways. So it is just perfect to see both companies acknowledge 3D printing in one of their collaborations: the Ferrari Lego Speed Champions Development Center (and Wind Gallery) set.
Both companies have, in some ways, acknowledged their use of 3D printing for prototyping and the 3D printer in the Lego Ferrari set is there to show it. The industrial size system looks like it could be a hybrid between a filament extrusion, photopolymerization and powder bed fusion system.
While they did not become common consumer products as some once thought they would, 3D printers are now increasingly becoming part of popular culture, with several cameos in popular movies and TV series. The general understanding is that more and more objects will be printed rather than produced and assembled.
The Ferrari development center does have a number of 3D printers on-site and many Formula 1 teams have been using 3D printing for rapid vehicle evolution as well as some part production for several years. The Ferrari Lego sets are certainly impressive for realism – even in a Lego kind of way – and a 3D printer just had to be part of the experience.
*Thanks to Lego and Ferrari fan Matteo Bonassi (and family) for the tip.