Cadillac used a 3D scanner to create the Elmiraj concept in less than a week

look 3d scanning technology gave birth cadillac elmiraj cadillacelmiraj3 dscanning

I can’t get enough of the gorgeous Cadillac Elmiraj concept. I love its brawny bodylines and its elegant, yet sturdy visual presence.

Turns out, GM designers didn’t accomplish this visual masterpiece by accident, as the Elmiraj was formed by utilizing 3D scanning technology.

It’s odd to think that in a world of computers and CAD that nearly all cars are still designed in clay by hand. Car designers start with concept sketches and then hand-sculpt a scale model from a giant block of clay. This scale model is eventually remade as a full-scale clay replica of the car.

GM is doing things a bit differently. Cadillac designers still start in clay, but, from there, the process is far more high-tech. The scale model is bathed in light and scanned with a special camera. The camera detects the curves and refractions of the light and translates that into a literally picture-perfect digital model of the car.

This sounds pretty basic. After all, movie studios have been using similar systems to thrill us with lifelike orcs and aliens for the last decade. But while the idea might seem pedestrian, the results are anything but.

The 3D model can minutely track and evaluate every change the designers make, allowing them to go back to previous iterations at any time. It also means that it is much easier to go full scale. The 3D model can be implanted into the unstoppable robot brain of a computer-controlled lathe, and a full-scale model can be machine from clay in hours.

All these computers and robots take a design process that used to last months and shorten it to mere days or weeks.

Because designers have the chance to go through more iterations in less time, the final design is likely to be more refined.

The Elmiraj is a great example of how this process works. For starters, it is one of the best-looking cars that we have seen from any automaker in a long time. It also has gone from design sketch to likely production car in record time.

So if we get more cars that look like the Elmiraj, I say bring on the 3D scanning!

Giveaways

Print your heart’s desire: Enter our giveaway to win a free Monoprice 3D printer

We’re giving away a $400 Monoprice MP Voxel 3D Printer. It's easy to use, especially for beginners, with its simple menu system and touchscreen display. It comes fully assembled so you can spend more time printing instead of setting up.
Cars

Tesla could show the electric pickup Elon Musk is dying to build in 2019

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself.
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.
Gaming

The most common Nintendo 3DS problems, and how to fix them

The Nintendo 3DS has seen its fair share of issues since it launched in 2011, including poor battery life and fragile Circle Pads. Here are some of the most common, as well as the steps you can take to solve them.
Cars

Ford’s new Shelby GT500 Mustang will have 3D-printed brake parts

Ford's new $45 million Advanced Manufacturing Center will focus on emerging technologies, including 3D printing. One of the staff's first jobs is to print parts for the 700-horsepower Shelby GT500 Mustang.
Product Review

Audi built an electric SUV for buyers who want gasoline-free to mean stress-free

We finally got to spend time behind the wheel of the electric 2019 Audi E-Tron bustling cities and arid desert of the United Arab Emirates to see how it compares with Jaguar and Tesla's competitors.
Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
News

World’s fastest electric race car to display at Petersen Museum

The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak race car smashed the all-time record at the hill climb for which it was named. The all-electric VW record-holder will be on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles until February 1, 2019.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

This freewheeling Army truck-turned-tiny home is a labor of love

Most tiny homes are models of efficiency but one British metal worker has redefined the idea, converting an old Army truck into a mobile tiny home that comes with a bed, a sofa, a shower, and a beer garden.
Cars

Take a friend stargazing at 202 mph in the 2019 McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren has introduced the 2019 720S Spider. As its name implies, it's a convertible variant of the 720S coupe. The company promises the Spider retains the coupe's dynamism and agility thanks in part to the widespread use of carbon fiber.
Cars

Gateway’s born-again Ford Bronco boasts classic style, 2018 muscle car power

Illinois-based Gateway Bronco has received a license from Ford to make brand-new examples of the first-generation Bronco. Every build starts with a Ford VIN and a donor vehicle, but Gateway upgrades every part of the car.
Cars

Bloodhound’s plan to build a 1,000-mph car has run out of gas

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has officially shut down. The upside is you can now buy a 135,000-horsepower car powered by a jet engine and a cluster of rockets for $319,000.
Cars

2019 Ford Ranger saves fuel without sacrificing towing capacity

The 2019 Ford Ranger marks Ford's long-awaited return to the midsize truck segment, which has seen a resurgence lately. But will being late to the party make Ford's job more difficult?