Do you know how 3-D printers work? You design a virtual 3-D image, or scan an existing object, and send it to a 3-D printer. It then prints out your image, one layer at a time.
Typically, it's a photo-reactive resin that prints out as a liquid that hardens. It's really amazing technology. Now, this innovative tech is being used to save a one-of-a-kind car that's over a century old.
How modern technology is saving pieces of history
What we're talking about is a Grand Prix car that is 103 years old. The engine block of the classic vehicle cracked a couple years ago and caused water to pump out of its exhaust system.
It's the only Delage Type-S Grand Prix car known to still be on the planet. Which makes it impossible to find replacement parts when something goes bad.
That's where modern technology was able to come to the rescue.
The car was consigned to a mechanic's workshop in Australia to see what they could do to fix it. They turned to a pre-war motorcar engineer to find a way to rebuild the 16-valve engine.
He came up with the idea of cloning the original engine block with digital technology. They scanned inside and out of the engine block with lasers. The scans were used to digitally repair the engine on a computer before creating a sand mold with a 3-D printer.
The process actually worked and the Delage is operational again. Watch this video to see how the 3-D process took shape:
This repair is truly amazing, especially since the original engine blueprint is no longer around. It's great knowing that today's high-tech innovations can help us hold on to pieces of our past.