New Products and Technology

10 Facts About 3D Printing

By Monika Earle

 3D Printer SEMA Garage
Using the SEMA Garage’s new Fortus 450mc 3D printer, members are able to print functional prototypes in up to nine different materials as large as 16x14x16 in.

With the 2015 SEMA Show just two months out, manufacturers are hustling to prepare new products and exciting prototypes for display—and the SEMA Garage is here to help! In partnership with Stratasys—a global leader in 3D printing and rapid prototype manufacturing—the SEMA Garage features a Fortus 450mc 3D printer. This state-of-the-art machine offers SEMA members access to powerful manufacturing technologies that deliver high-quality, functional prototypes quickly and affordably.

“For manufacturers who have never used a 3D printer or are not familiar with them, it can be intimidating and confusing,” said Mike Spagnola, SEMA vice president of OEM and product development. “3D printing is actually fairly simple and the results are superior to other methods for creating functional prototypes.”    

To help members better understand what 3D printing is all about, Spagnola highlighted 10 important facts about 3D printing:

  • Products can be printed from a number of materials: metal, nylon, rubber and ABS plastics, and often in combinations. The SEMA Garage Fortus 3D printer can accommodate nine different materials to help you develop just about any application.
  • The size limitation is larger than most people expect. (The Fortus 450mc 3D printer at the SEMA Garage can accommodate parts as large as 16x14x16 in.
  • Printing a product/prototype takes a fraction of the time it takes to fabricate the same product through more traditional methods. For instance, an entire intake manifold can be printed in as little as six hours.
  • Members are able to send design files as easily as sending an email. Simply send the SEMA Garage staff your files and we’ll do the rest. We’ll even ship the completed prototype back to you.
  • The resolution is highly accurate. (The Fortus 450mc 3D printer at the SEMA Garage is capable of print accuracy down to ten thousands of an inch.)
  • Manufacturers who utilize the Fortus 450mc 3D printer at the SEMA Garage pay only for materials—a significant savings from either owning a machine or sourcing the service though commercial vendors.
  • Parts can be customized/modified efficiently and affordably. With single-unit production, a quick tweak to a CAD file can easily be made without requiring changes in tooling.
  • 3D printing allows manufacturers to process parts and prototypes without waste, keeping costs down.   
  • Parts can be created that can easily be run in a vehicle, such as water tanks for intercooled superchargers, AC vents, turbocharger housings and even intake manifolds.   
  • The Fortus 450mc 3D printer at the SEMA Garage utilizes Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology, which can build products with complex properties and are able to endure heat, humidity and chemicals.  

To book time with the new 3D printer in the SEMA Garage or to learn more about its capabilities, contact Rachael Salazar at or 909-978-6728.