Beyond 3D Printed car and Supercar: can you 3D print car parts?
Prospective projects including 3D Printing are regularly shaking automative manufacturing by re-inventing the way we conceive and build cars. But should you wait several years before using 3D Printing in your own car?
Last week’s announcement of the performances of Blade made the buzz. This supercar created by divergentmicrofactories is based on a 3D-printed chassis that can be assembled in a matter of minutes. The chassis incorporates 3D printed nodes connected by carbon fiber tubing.
A few months ago LocalMotors announced their ambition that by 2017, buyers will be able to go online, customise their car and have it 3D printed in just 44 hours. The Strati has many 3D printed parts in ABS plastic that has been reinforced with carbon fiber, including the chassis/frame, exterior body, and some interior features. The mechanical components of the vehicle, like battery, motors, wiring, and suspension, are sourced from Renault’s Twizy, an electric powered city car.
The 3D Printed Car Revolution has been initiated by the designers behind Urbee in 2013, who hope to create the greenest car in the world. They recently initiated a second prototype, called URBEE 2. They are embracing Digital Manufacturing as essential to the design of an environmental car. Engineered to safely mingle with traffic, the two passenger vehicle will have its entire exterior and interior 3D printed. They’re now crowdfunding and you can donate to help them to create their second prototype. Urbee 2 will take just 2 days, 2 people and a dog would travel from New York to San Francisco using 10 gallons of bio-fuel, setting a world record.
These companies are both hoping to reshape automative industry by using 3D manufacturing. LocalMotors claims on its home page: ‘Gone are the days of mega- or even giga-factories that consume tremendous amounts of time and energy to fabricate products. A more sustainable, nimble and flexible factory is on the horizon. Called microfactories, these diminutive factories drastically change how we produce large consumer goods for unique local needs.’
Before this announced Revolution, one may ask why we don’t start to 3D print car parts today. Actually some of Sculpteo clients do, for instance to repair vintage cars and re-design something they could not find anymore. Some others like to hack their car, or to customize it. What do they share in common? Passion for automobiles for sure, and an understanding that rebuilding or re-shaping a car is not an easy task like playing a game. Every one of these car-addicts respect the rules and gave us some advice that we think will help you:
- Think of the function of your 3D printed spare part. Being aware of the technical specifications of the material and the stress on the part are two mandatory requirements before the start.
- Avoid exact copy – rethink your model to get the best price and the best look. For instance, most plastic parts are designed to take most benefit of injection molding. This production method is quite different from 3D printing and you will gain a lot by thinking how to make your part lighter and/or more cubic.
- Automative industry follow strict norms and procedures. Every parts are accredited through a long and expensive process. It’s very unlikely that you will do the same, so you need to stay conscious that you will never get a car as secure as it was.
- Check your national regulations before 3D-printing. In some countries, selling a car with non-accredited parts may an infraction.
At Sculpteo we all believe that 3D printing is a good solution for manufacturing cars and with your help we can change the landscape. By adopting sensible behavior and demonstrating step by step we can make this Revolution happen! What will you 3D print on Sculpteo for your car today?