The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu is going to have some new features, courtesy of rapid prototyping. The design team used selective laser sintering and stereolithography to produce the upgraded parts.
Selective laser sintering (SLS) is a process that starts with glass, metal, plastic or ceramic powders. A laser traces programmed patterns into the powder, fusing it layer by layer. Each layer produced is about four-thousandths of an inch thick.
Stereolithography builds parts from liquid photopolymer resins. Essentially, it is Laserium projected onto a pool of liquid goo, hardening the surface one layer at a time via the goo's chemical reaction to light in a specific portion of the UV spectrum. A laser or DLP projector is typically used to generate the necessary UV light.
Some of the improvements they made in the new 2014 Malibu include an upgraded floor console, a more aerodynamic front, and revamped back seat panels.
Choosing to use 3D printing to generate their prototypes seems to be working well for Chevy. Todd Pawlik, chief engineer, Chevrolet mid and full-size cars said, "When you need to get intricate, fully functional prototype parts quickly, nothing beats rapid prototyping. Our ability to rapidly fabricate inexpensive prototype parts throughout a vehicle enables key components to get confirmed earlier so that we can go from computer models to production-caliber parts."
We've got a video here, talking about the different parts that Chevy prototyped. It was apparently narrated by someone who sounds like Ben Stein. Try not to fall asleep.