Skip to main content

Toyota to 3D Print Lightweight Car Seat

When the automobile moguls at Toyota Motor Corporation decided that they wanted to produce a prototype for a car seat that was as lightweight as possible, they found themselves face to face with a complex project that was meant to be handled by 3D printing technology. How would the Toyota team possibly design, build, and manufacture such a complex and sizable 3D printed car seat? That’s where Belgium-based 3D printing service bureau and software developer Materialise and their enthusiastic engineering team came in.

Using a specialized method of topology optimization, Toyota and Materialise were able to assign various levels of density to the car seat design before transforming it into a 3D model. The lower density areas were then populated in Materialise’s 3-maticSTL software, which allowed for design modification, repair, and simplification of the car seat’s 3D files. The 3-maticSTL method was also utilized to remove unnecessary print material and add comfort to the seat through the placement of a pattern of elastic beams to the surface of the prototype.

The design itself is filled with so many complex patterns and unit cells that Materialise had to use their slice-based operations technology, which allows designers to apply texture and structure to gigantic, unmanageable STL files. Materialise’s procedure works by skipping over the general STL file stage of design and directly builds the geometric patterns onto the 3D slices, creating a large-scale model that would have been impossible to design without their innovative slice-based operations process.

Elastic beam pattern created with the 3-maticSTL process

The efforts of Toyota would have also been fruitless without the use of Materialise’s Build Processor, which works to simplify the 3D printing process by reestablishing large files into a much more manageable size. In the instance of the lightweight car seat prototype, the Build Processor cut the file size down from 250GB to just 36MB of metadata. Finally, the stage of rapid prototyping was performed by Materialise’s laser sintering technique, a manufacturing process geared towards producing a large amount of components in one shot, which is exactly what Toyota needed to create the large-scale prototype of their lightweight car seat.

Despite it’s size, the 3D printed prototype weighed just a staggering 7kg, and also reduced the heat capacity of the car seat from the standard 35.4 J/K (joule per kelvin) to just 14.5 J/K. With a big helping hand from Materialise’s engineers, Toyota was able to manufacture a car seat with a low volume that would have been unfathomable without the 3D printing process advancements implemented by Materialise. Their software and technology, combined with Toyota’s ambition to create the lightweight car seat prototype, is pointing the automobile industry in the direction of additive manufacturing, which as we can now see, can allow companies like Toyota to create complex prototypes that would have been impossible to design or manufacture without 3D printing innovators such as the Materialise team.

3D Printing Bureau services is available in Australia and New Zealand from Objective3D Service Bureau. Objective3D Service Bureau provides 3D printing and custom manufacturing through the the largest additive manufacturing centre in the southern hemisphere - Objective3D Advanced Manufacturing Centre, powered by Stratasys Direct Manufacturing with 16 commercial grade machines provides the widest range of 3D printing technologies and materials to enable a broad range of specialist solutions.

Try out our INSTANT ONLINE QUOTE or for more details, visit or call 03-9785 2333 (AUS)  09-801 0380 (NZ)

Popular posts from this blog

Delivering High Quantities of Prototypes Fast

Objective3D Direct Manufacturing produces parts using a range of additive and conventional manufacturing technologies. We offer tailored solutions for your project’s needs. If your project requires larger quantities of small parts – fast, Laser Sintering is the best technological solution for you. Per-part pricing is reduced as quantities increase, but there are more advantages to using Laser Sintering for small prototypes than price alone.

Laser Sintering (LS) provides strong, versatile and geometrically intricate components made from filled and un-filled nylon materials that are ideal for fit and form verification and functional testing. Prototypes made with LS are created quickly and offer robust solutions for your project.
FAST Delivery Laser Sintering can provide sturdy, functional prototypes as little as 24 hours. Multi-component designs can be incorporated into single structures, allowing engineers to produce complex features and geometries in one print, and eliminating the need…

3D scanning and reverse engineering streamline original furniture design and production

MU Form Furniture Design is an Oakland-based company that designs, manufactures and distributes furniture products for the modern home and business. The company is never short of orders since good and original design is sought after by architects and interior designers.

The main material MU Form works with is high-quality bent ply, which is one of the most widely used materials in this industry due to its ability to create a variety of shapes for chairs, stools, and tables.

The company’s specialists seek to create great designs that pose a challenge for other manufacturers to copy or replicate.

“Our designers are tasked to develop furniture designs that require a significant amount of trial and error by developing physical prototypes of chairs and stools,” says Mark Leong, CEO of MU Form.

To produce a new original piece of furniture, MU Form would normally ship a physical prototype model to a factory overseas so they reverse engineer the model by using a router duplicator to create a …

Commodore Ute to US: 100,000 votes needed!

According to The Age Drive and an article by Barry Park, we are again set to export our Commodore Ute to the US.

The article is as follows:

US website rallies to GM's Twitter call of 'If you ask for an El Camino ute, we'll do it'.

An off-the-cuff quip from General Motors' newly appointed chief marketing officer could be just the thing to help Holden's cause to sell the Commodore ute in the US.

Joel Ewanick, who made the jump from Hyundai to the US car maker late last year, recently joined the social networking service Twitter. He soon started interacting with Chevrolet fans, with many of them asking for the car maker to re-introduce a vehicle based on a cross between a truck (ute) and a car.

In response to one passionate request for a new-age El Camino, Ewanick wrote: ''Well, we need you and 100,000 more of your best friends.''

Advertisement: Story continues below That was enough for US motoring website Jalopnik, which is now on a campaign to collect…