While we were present at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Ford Motor Company booth was partaking in a rather bold, viral marketing maneuver; if you sent a text message to a certain “special” number, an R/C drone would pick up an unassembled model of a 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor, and fly it to you.
Well, what started off innocuously viral ended in controversy; many visitors voiced safety concerns, the fire department was phoned, and the drones were grounded for about an hour as a more restricted flight area was roped-off.
(Fun fact: The blades of a remote-controlled quadricopter do not, in fact, spin with enough force to sever a human head. -ed.)
Well, for those who missed their chance to have a drone-delivered Ford F-150 Raptor delivered to them at the NAIAS, you can now get one delivered by an equally cutting-edge, trendy bit of tech: a 3D printer.
Ford has become the first automaker to set up an online store of 3D printer files for licensed models of some of its automotive wares. So far, the list of available models includes the Ford F-150 Raptor, Mustang Shelby GT350R, Focus RS, Focus ST, and Fiesta ST. More models are soon to follow.
You do have your own 3D printer, don’t you?
We didn’t think so. The Ford model shop caters to a bit of a niche market at the moment, but the technology is certainly gaining traction among households. Citing a study by Juniper Research, Ford states that private sales of 3D printers are expected to exceed 1 million units 2018, up from 44,000 per year in 2014.
Ford’s shop of 3D printer files was created by TurboSquid, which had already established itself as a leading source of 3-dimensional automobile images, most commonly for use in video games. Beside downloading 3D printer files for use at home, one can alternatively order a printed 1/32nd scale model directly from the site.
Check-in with 3d.ford.com to download or order.