Watch As A Tesla Model 3 Body Panel Gets Stamped In Real Time – Video

1 week ago by Eric Loveday 73

Model 3 Body Panel Being Stamped

Blink and you just might miss the action. Further proof that the Tesla Model 3 isn’t made by hand.

In the overnight hours, Tesla CEO Elon Musk posted this real-time video of a Model 3 body panel being stamped on Instagram:

Stamping Model 3 Body Panels (real-time)

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on

It’s not lightning speed, but the amount of automation seen here, as well as the synchronicity of the robots, is encouraging given that just a week or so ago reports had the Model 3 being built almost entirely by hand, which isn’t true.

Just the other day, Musk released video of some slowed-down Model 3 production action. that’s where we saw body welds being done as the 3 moved down the line.

This new video shows the making of a single panel, a process that’s been much the same for decades now.

The latest release from Musk doesn’t provide us with any indication of whether or not production pace is picking up though. For an answer to that, we’ll probably have to wait until October sales results are posted on our Scorecard early next month.

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74 responses to "Watch As A Tesla Model 3 Body Panel Gets Stamped In Real Time – Video"

  1. Alaa says:

    By hand?

    1. Yup! By Hand!
      (Robot Hands, that is!)

    2. Me says:

      Yes, made by elves with little golden hammers.

    3. mx says:

      Kills another short story.

      Did you hear the one where a Short admitted Never Driving A Tesla? Talk about Not Knowing What You’re Doing 101.

      1. theflew says:

        This doesn’t kill another short story seeing a single body panel being stamped. For all you know these panels go to an area to have someone manually finish them (cut off excess, sand, etc…)

        Also if you look at the Bolt build videos they had hundred of stamp pieces waiting to go to general assembly. So stamping and assembling are two separate processes that are sequential, but not necessarily in parallel (i.e. the speed of one doesn’t necessarily imply the speed of the other).

        As the story said the proof will be in October’s numbers that Tesla will not share. So they’ll have to be approximated and we will not know the real numbers until January.

        1. Nix says:

          “So stamping and assembling are two separate processes that are sequential, but not necessarily in parallel”

          It is pretty funny, because back when there were stories of Tesla still installing more stamping equipment, all the usual suspects claimed that the stamping machines was proof that Tesla didn’t have their assembly line for the Model 3 done.

          I wish you guys would get your story straight. Because of course there was never any conflict between using existing Model S/X stamping machines to stamp Model 3 body panels by swapping the dies. And then using those parts to build cars on the Model 3 Assembly line using production assembly line equipment.

          But there was simply no way some of the usual suspects would ever accept that stamping wasn’t part of the formal assembly line, and continued to conflate the two in story after story. Yet now in this story all the sudden everybody agrees that stamping and assembling are two separate processes….

    4. Anti-Lord Kelvin says:

      Yes, Tesla haters, critics, short sellers, etc were right, they have been made by hand,and this video proves that…mechanical hands that’s it!

  2. Texas FFE says:

    Why do we need proof that Model 3 panels are not being pounded out by hand? Is it because Tesla facing another law suit stating that investors and reservation holders were dupt, that automation production did not start in July? Not to worry Tesla, investors and reservation holders are immune to market analysis and missed promises.

    1. pjwood1 says:

      WSJ ran another “Who, us?” hit piece, over the weekend implying hand assembly. They also said pulling off Model 3 will be a bigger challenge than Model X.

      1. Counterpoint says:

        Undoubtedly, pulling off Model 3 production ramp-up is going to be difficult. Mr. Musk said that at the launch event and several times since.

        The question is no longer “can they make a mass-market car?”, or even “can they make enough cars?” The current question is “when will the most significant part of the production ramp happen?” Will it still be in December as originally promised, or will the line delays push it back to January or February?

      2. Scott Franco says:

        The WSJ, which is otherwise my favorite piece, has habitually run anti-ev and especially anti-Tesla articles. I have called them on a few of them, and my responses were published in one instance.

        Some of their “greatest hits” of misinformation have been:

        1. EVs pollute more than ICE cars.
        2. Cherry picking the lowest range cars and longest charge times (110v plugin!) as the “normal” state of EVs.
        3. EVs/Tesla would not exist without government support.

        I don’t think this is really an agenda so much as bias. I recall our local paper in Silicon Valley, the SJ Mercury, had a tech author who decided that HDTV was a fad that would soon go away, and produced a continuing stream of articles to that effect. I wrote a couple of user column responses to that (I had HDTV back in 2000). Eventually I got tired of reading it and in fact dropped the paper entirely for their biases (for the WSJ in fact).

        1. Get Real says:

          I agree Scott on the WSJ’s well displayed bias.
          I posted this 3 days ago but it is relevant here so here it is again:

          The real reason the WSJ story is a BS hit-piece (besides the fact that Murdoch-owned WSJ is not just anti-Tesla, but anti-EV and RE) is that it is really just copied and pasted from serial anti-Tesla troll and liar Ed Niedermeyer of Daily Kanban:

          https://twitter.com/Tweetermeyer?ref_src=twsrc^google|twcamp^serp|twgr^author

          Niedermeyer is the same fool that gladly took the completely fabricated story by the infamous troll Keef Wivanef of Tesla suspensions failing and “honest” Ed widely publicized it along with his equally untruthful partner and serial Tesla-hater Bertel Schitt:

          https://dailykanban.com/2016/06/tesla-suspension-breakage-not-crime-coverup/

          Meanwhile the WSJ so-called “reporter” on this story is the equally lying Charley Grant.

          Here is Charley’s twitter echo chamber replete with a lovefest of serial anti-Tesla trolls and clowns like Bertel Schitt:

          https://twitter.com/CGrantWSJ?ref_src=twsrc^google|twcamp^serp|twgr^author

          these are the same FUDSTERs who are probably trolling here regularly under assumed usernames and they probably also spend a lot of time over at Seeking Liars too.

          In any case, Tesla is working through their ramp-up issues and seems determined to not go full bore until it is right which is the proper way to do this despite all the usual useful idiots here dancing prematurely about this.

          1. Nix says:

            Nice reporting!!

      3. needa says:

        I didn’t see it as hand assembly. Seems like they said they were running into supply issues here and there and those pieces were being built by hand.
        It could be something as simple as the company doing wiring harnesses is falling behind. So Tesla had a few employees cutting wire and adding terminal ends on them. <— Been there done that. And definitely not out of the realm of possibilities.

        1. Nix says:

          Yes, Tesla has always said that by the definition of the word “last”, there will always be a last set of final parts from suppliers that will arrive after all the rest. And some unlucky companies will inevitably be those last suppliers. Not because they are bad suppliers, but because they happen to have the bad luck of being last, since somebody always has to be last.

          Tesla’s plan has always been to hand fabricate these parts, or to hand re-manufacture parts that don’t fit in the early stages of ramp up. This may be as simple as re-drilling a hole that doesn’t align. That’s part of the purpose of having an early stage for ramp up.

          Electrek reports that around half a dozen issues are holding up ramp up. Some of those issues may involve hand fabricating or re-manufacturing up to around half a dozen (or less) items. That obviously would slow them down, but wouldn’t mean that the entire car is “hand built” by any rational application of the term hand built.

    2. Mister G says:

      90% of market analysis is fake news, don’t forget the Great Recession, don’t forget how 90% of Americans were dupt into thinking that property values will continue to climb, and don’t forget how wall street got bailed out and the working class got sold out. GO TESLA GO DESTROY DIRTY GAS GUZZLERS

      1. Four Electrics says:

        Isn’t it amazing how easily the public can be manipulated? I’ve heard it can be done with only a single Instagram post.

    3. theflew says:

      I don’t think anyone thinks the panels are made by hand. But that doesn’t preclude hands being involved with sanding, finishing, buffing a panel after an automated step. The only real proof of progress will be deliveries. If Musk feels the need to tweet. Tweet the 1000th Model 3 has been delivered. That would have a lot more meaning than a stamping video.

      1. DJ says:

        Exactly my thoughts. What’s next, a video of how the windshield is made by some machine?

        Hopefully by now they have a pretty good production line going otherwise it’s gonna be awhile for everyone to get their car.

      2. Nix says:

        “But that doesn’t preclude hands being involved with sanding, finishing, buffing a panel after an automated step.”

        Why don’t you hold yourself to the same standard that you hold Elon, and post some proof that this is being done, and being done to a greater extent than any other car maker does it during standard assembly line operations.

        Again, having human hands being involved in assembly tasks DOES NOT make a car “hand built”. All car makers employ human hands on their assembly lines. It is an error to falsely conflate any work being done by hand with calling a car “hand built”.

  3. Kdawg says:

    I’m im’pressed’ 😀

    (I need more coffee)

    1. CDAVIS says:

      +1 clever

      my add…

      *hand*ily bot stamped

    2. William says:

      +1.1
      The Rise of the Machines – TeslaNator!

    3. Chris Stork says:

      Your comment gets my stamp of approval…

    4. Kdawg says:

      Thanks for the positive feedback. I’d give you all a *squeeze* if I could.

  4. F150 Brian says:

    1) only one-off exotics and custom cars have body panels formed by hand
    2) stamping body panels does not imply cars are not assembled by hand
    3) pretty sad that something that has been done for decades makes news

    1. Murrysville EV says:

      True. That few seconds of video was a whole day’s production of Model 3 panels.

      Nobody said Tesla was producing panels by hand, but they certainly are building some aspects of the car by hand. The production rate is only as fast as your slowest process step.

    2. Nix says:

      What car is built entirely by robots without involving human hands doing some of the work?

  5. L'amata says:

    If that is real time , that is fast! It hardly gives the robot arm on right enough time to get out of the way ….I estimated 2.5 to 3 seconds per panel, pretty amazing video., if it’s not faked up .

    1. john Doe says:

      The video shows normal stamping speed at one of these massive German presses.
      In huge factories they have several, so they don’t have to change the dies.
      It is not the stamping press that slows down production lines.
      When the rest of the production line is in order – the cars will flow out of Freemont.

    2. scottf200 says:

      Did you happen to do the math on how many per day that turns out to be? A pretty large number.

      1. unlucky says:

        I can’t imagine there is a car plant that runs the same part on the same press all day. Tesla for certain doesn’t, they don’t have enough presses to run only one part per press. They put in one set of dies, make a bunch of one part, then swap them out and make another part.

        Produced parts are stacked for rework or as completed parts until needed.

  6. leafowner says:

    Good to see the machine running — now I wonder how many hours (or minutes) per day it needs to run to make enough parts for the current production rate. If they are indeed only making a few hundred cars per month as the media is reporting — that press would only need to operate a few minutes per day or parts would stack up unimaginably. I would say it is a good indication Tesla is getting out of the production hell phase.

    1. Nix says:

      Typically a manufacturing company would do a run of one panel, then change dies. Then do another run of some other panel on the same stamping machine. This can be done quite quick with modern machines. It used to take half a day to change dies, but then Toyota got it down to 3 minutes of downtime. And newer stamping machines even automate the die change with an “Auto Die Change Start” button.

      This is why Tesla was able to start automated stamping work on the Model 3 long before the final stamping machines were installed. They simply put Model 3 dies into the existing stamping machines for the Model S/X. This is not the same as hand building a car.

    2. Priusmaniac says:

      That is kind of too bad because seeing a stamped part come out every 4 seconds if all parts would be done in parallel at that same speed, and assembly as well, we would have, on a 16h/5day week basis, 72000 cars per week. That is 3744000 cars a year.

  7. tech_guy says:

    Everyone knows they’re beta building the M3.

    Bolt has been on sale for a year now. I have 9000 miles on mine.

    Best commuter car I’ve ever had. Fast, efficient — I average 4.3 mi/kWh — Tesla can’t come close! — fits anywhere, and more passenger and cargo room than the M3.

    Oh, did I mention it is STILL the only 200+ mile BEV you can get for 40k ? And has been for a year? You can’t even configure / order an M3 yet.

    1. Tim Miser says:

      You can actually get the Bolt for $30k and get it today. The M3 will never get there at that price and Leaf maybe next year.

      1. Anti-Lord Kelvin says:

        Why the Model 3 will never get there?

        1. Tim Miser says:

          Fed tax rebate will be gone by the time Tesla makes base model 3’s next year.

          1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

            Both GM and Tesla will be SOL in Q4 2019 for tax rebate.

            https://insideevs.com/us-federal-7500-ev-credit-expiry-date-by-automaker-estimates/

    2. Djoni says:

      So thru!
      (Except cargo space and uncomfortable seats)

      But, I for one, believe the more choice we have the better for all.

      So why not M3, N3, O3, P3….

      Get the ball rolling, and pick the one that suit you, that’s it.

      1. Djoni says:

        Oh, I just forgot to mention, only tru in the U.S.A.

        Here in Canada people the waiting list keep getting longer and longer.

        So, It’s not available everywhere.

        Just saying!

        1. “Waiting list keeps getting longer”, are you referring to the ‘Sold Out’ Bolt EV?

    3. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

      Yes, you can get a
      Fugly car now…
      Econobox…
      and you got ripped off from the stealership according to “Tim Miser”.

      And giving your money to GM supports their Lawyers on fighting the EPA to relax emissions standards so they can sell you more OPEC Jizz swallowing ICE….
      http://insideevs.com/ceos-of-gm-ford-and-fca-call-again-to-review-emission-regulations/

      1. Tim Miser says:

        Oh don’t be such a poor sport and embrace your $50k Model 3.

        1. Remember, the Bolt EV competes, not with the Tesla Model 3, but with the Chevy Sonic, the Honda Fit, and such, for Twice Their price!

          The Tesla Model 3, on the other hand, is competing against BMW 3 Series, Audi A3/A4, at a more similar or near equal price point!

          This is supposed to be a fight between ICE & BEV, at this point, not a fight between EV’s! Besides, if you have the Funds, cash, or Credit, to buy or lease the Bolt EV for yourself, and it does for you what you need, how is it wrong if that same Vehicle is not the right Vehicle for someone else? At this point, same goes for the Tesla Model 3!

          If I could justify 2 Vehicles Insurance, Parking, and Maintenance (includes Car Washes), I would consider adding a ‘Commuter EV’ to my space, in anything from a used iMiEV or Leaf, to a new Bolt EV or maybe the coming New Leaf! Maybe even a used Volt! But I have different challenges with each of those cars: from Headroom, to Seats, to Range and Charging Access, so they have to be Second cars!

          The ‘Expensive’ Model 3, has also got a more Viable Long Range Battery choice, over anything short of the Model S!

          Not in a great rush to get my second EV anyway!

    4. Anti-Lord Kelvin says:

      To be fair, yes the Bolt seems to be the perfect commuter, but if want to compare with the 3 in other things, you should be more honest. The Model 3 is a performance car, faster, quicker and it is a sedan that has, with the supercharger network, the ability of being a true long trip car. Not to speak about the superior technology package.

      The error (voluntary?) of GM has been to have dimensioned the assembly line for a maximum of 50.000 cars a year, when it should have been a 200.000 cars a year assembly right at the beginning and expand it to 400.000 latter, and unlike Tesla, they had a century long experience in mass-producing cars and all the money they need for that. In Europe, ten of thousands of people are awaiting for it for a year now, idem in Canada.
      But they own their money by selling after market pieces, filters, and all the things that make an ICE car costly to maintain (not to speak about their juicy contracts with oil industry for selling gas and engine oil).
      One more time, why are you saying that a Model 3 will never sell at $30.000?

      1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

        “One more time, why are you saying that a Model 3 will never sell at $30.000?”

        Well, for starters that’s not the starting price of the TM3?
        😛

      2. Doggydogworld says:

        GM’s Orion assembly line is rated for 160,000 cars/year. They current run about half that (single shift), building both the Bolt and Sonic. They could drop Sonic and built 160k Bolts/year if demand was there.

    5. Priusmaniac says:

      You mean like it is not even sold to anybody in Europe yet. If it ever will since they sold Opel to the least ev prone car group PSA.

  8. David Murray says:

    I do not believe Tesla is building them by hand. However, this video alone is not proof of that. Usually when they say “hand built” they really mean “hand assembled.” So even prototype cars are using stamped body parts.

    1. mxs says:

      Not a chance that Tesla crowd will see through that. It would put Tesla in a bad light as far as their production estimates.

      1. Priusmaniac says:

        That is like hoping Michael Phelps will drown if he jumps in the water.

    2. unlucky says:

      This is just one part. Showing how any single part is built means nothing as there are thousands more and if any one of them is being built slowly it slows everything down.

      They’ve been stamping M3 parts for months. I saw some of them when I was in the factory this summer. What matters is the finished product. And right now that’s coming out slowly.

  9. Mike says:

    Here is a good rumor. Elon is holding back production for the M3 until they finalize the new auto-pilot feature. When that is done, the cars will deliver themselves to the new owner’s driveway.

    1. john doe says:

      That would be so cool to watch. . And weird..

    2. Kdawg says:

      And then it will be like the movie “Her” where the AI outgrows us, and our cars drive themselves away. :'(

  10. Ocean Railroader says:

    It’s impressive how the robot hands are able to put the metal in and have it stamped and then take it out after the crusher crushes it into a part.

    I pretty feel that automating this process is good in that I suspect this would be one of the most dangerous things for humans to work with in a factory.

    In terms of automation I remember I once or still have a book from the 1970’s on how to make a car at a car factory. And pretty much outside of computers aiding in drawing out the car layouts a lot of the automatic machines are the same.

  11. JeremyK says:

    Ahh, pretty sure the story last week was about vehicle assembly. Sheet metal stamping is not part of the vehicle assembly process. It’s component manufacturing.

    1. TM says:

      Just like all the nuts and screws. Surely not made by hand.

      1. I think I know Some Nuts that are Hand Made! Some even visit this site!
        ;÷)

  12. Scott Franco says:

    When “hand assembly” is discussed, they are not talking about picking up a hammer and beating metal into shape. It means they receive finished parts from sub-manufacturers, and assemble the pieces into a car.

    There is always hand assembly on an auto line, otherwise there would be nobody on the line.

  13. Nix says:

    There seems to be some confusion about the term “hand built”. Having human hands do some assembly work on the assembly line does not mean that a car is “hand built”. Every assembly line has humans on it doing some tasks. By definition, that is an assembly line built car, not a hand built pre-production car.

    Here is what it looks like to hand-build a pre-production prototype:

    The Model 3 is being built on an assembly line. It is not hand built.

    1. theflew says:

      I don’t think anyone thinks the Model 3 is a one off hand built car. The question is are there manual processes currently being employed that aren’t going to be part of the normal production build process. That’s the hand built we’re talking about now. Something that will keep them from reaching their proposed high rate of output.

      1. Steve says:

        People can’t differentiate your point. They think cause they there is a robot making or moving a part that the whole assembly line is working,. And that is exactly why Musk is releasing these videos. I’m not big on conspiracies but his previous words aren’t lining up with the production.

      2. Nix says:

        “I don’t think anyone thinks the Model 3 is a one off hand built car.”

        That is exactly the claim that has been presented repeatedly all the way back to Feb, even though Tesla has been building cars on their Production assembly line since then.

        “The question is are there manual processes currently being employed that aren’t going to be part of the normal production build process.”

        That is meaningless. There is no single point in time where X percent of steps will always be done by hand forever, and Y percent will be done by robots. Tesla has been very clear that they will continue to increase automation as they go from “alien dreadnought” Version 0.5 to V1.0 to V2.0 and beyond. You are attempting to draw a fictional line where no such line exists — either at Tesla or in any other factory in the world. The entire world is in the process of replacing individual steps in the assembly line process with automation. That doesn’t mean everything in the world is built “by hand”. Just like the Model 3 they are being built on the assembly line.

        An electrek story indicated that there were around half a dozen issues holding up volume production. Some unknown number of those issues may include steps being done by hand that they would like to automate. That certainly does NOT mean the car is being built “by hand”. That stretches any definition of “hand built” way beyond any rational interpretation.

        If you really mean to say “a few steps are still being done by hand instead of automation out of thousands of steps done both by hand and by automation”, then go ahead and say that. Trying to turn that into saying the car is “hand built” is purely FUD for the purpose of disinformation.

    2. unlucky says:

      The two issues intersect but are not the same. There’s a lot of facets of assembly, whether the line moves or the people, etc.

      And I think the issues spoken of were of subassemblies, not final assembly anyway.

      The real issue at play is the mechanisms Tesla is using don’t yield a lot of cars per day. And there’s no really arguing that, Tesla’s output was very poor. The rest isn’t all that important.

      Tesla has to getting to making cars more rapidly. And making them right the first time instead of replacing packs en masse. These are the things which will get Tesla to high output levels and commensurate profits.

      1. Nix says:

        To be absolutely pedantic, Tesla’s production of COMPLETED cars is poor.

        Tesla has not released their numbers of nearly complete cars that are waiting for the roughly half dozen fixes. That is a known unknown.

        How long it takes to complete any cars that may be in rework is unknown too. Rework is a common step in car making, that all car makers do.

  14. Space Grey Poupon says:

    This kinda sucks. I wanted something curated, crafted, created. Not “manufactured” like some cheap Apple knockoff.

    My authenticity cred depends on it. My pointy moustache wasn’t “manufactured”. Nor was my Instagram inspired life.

    Until Tesla realizes what EV buyers want in the crucial technology millennial demographic, we will just stick to uber and drones.

  15. mxs says:

    Too bad that the article is 100% correct, yet many readers just don’t get it …

  16. unlucky says:

    A transfer press. A bit more exciting in person due to the magnitude of the noise. But ultimately quite boring.

    1. Nix says:

      Just like your post.

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