Automotive

Twikit enables BMW MINI customization with 3D printing

MINI, a British automaker owned by BMW, has integrated the customization software of Twikit, a Belgian personalization software provider. MINI is now the first car manufacturer to provide mass customization service using 3D printing. Earlier this year readers shortlisted the MINI Yours project for a 3D Printing Industry Award.

Twikit’s goal is the provision of bespoke end-use products for the masses through advanced manufacturing methods, such as 3D printing, laser cutting, and CNC. The company’s clients include jewelry brands such as Austria’s Swarovski and Belgium’s BAUNAT, and the multinational electronics and healthcare conglomerate, Philips.

Gijs Hoppenbrouwers, a co-founder of Twikit, said, “Customization for a mass audience is also perfectly possible for jewelry, furniture, windows and doors, electronics.”

Companies discover that they can personalize products with modern, high-tech production techniques such as 3D printing and laser cutting, tailored to each individual customer.”

Personalize your MINI

MINI is known for bringing the iconic line of cars known as “MINI Cooper” to the market. Now, the automaker has taken a step into the future of mass production. MINI’s customers can personalize the interior and exterior parts of their cars. They can choose from a range of fonts, patterns, and images to add to their bespoke car parts.

To give the buyers full control over design, MINI has integrated Twikit’s Twikbot platform, a browser-based design, and production workflow.

For customer-friendly experience, the Twickbot platform also provides helpful 3D visualization of the model, and live design feedback.

Once the design is submitted, Twikbot sends the production file to the BMW’s Additive Manufacturing Center, where the parts are manufactured.

At the moment, the following parts can be personalized: side scuttles, dashboard assembly, LED door sills, and the LED door projector, which illuminates the floor with the text of one’s choice.

All these parts can be tailored-made and bought at prices ranging between $135-$330.

Customized 3D printed scuttle for BMW MINI. Photo via MINI.
Personalized 3D printed scuttle for BMW MINI. Photo via MINI.

3D printing and mass customization

Bespoke designs and customization are among the benefits that 3D printing bring to the manufacturing industry.

As previously reported, a Dutch watchmaker Michiel Holthinrichs is an expert of made-to-order 3D printed watches. These watched can be individualized according to customers requirements for $426,655.

Adidas and Carbon 3D designed the 3D printed shoe Futurecraft 4D for the mass market. The footwear company also introduced the limited edition Y3 3D printed shoe priced at $20,000.

Despite the availability of bespoke design solutions, the prices of these products bar a whole class of people from buying them. Therefore, the application of 3D printing in this instance falls short of the mass market.

But MINI’s customized car parts, despite being pricey, are on the affordable side and available in abundance.

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Feature image shows customized 3D printed scuttles for BMW MINI. Image via MINI

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