Lucas123 (935744) writes 'Ford has been using 3D printing for rapid prototyping since the mid-1980s, but in recent years it has ramped up its efforts adding new machines and materials. A tour of the facility revealed four different methods of 3D printing being used to prototype parts. For example, Ford uses Nylon 11 and laser sintering to make parts that can be retrofitted to working vehicles and tested over thousands of miles. The center also uses binder jet printing to form molds for metal prototypes by laying down layers of sand that are then epoxied together. Just one of its five 3D prototyping centers churns out more than 20,000 parts a year. Today, Ford could not meet new vehicle deadlines without 3D printing.'