Meet the urban transportation of the future made with 3D printing | Sculpteo Blog

Meet the urban transportation of the future made with 3D printing

Posted By Lucie Gaget on Apr 11, 2018 | 0 comments

We can see that 3D printing is now more and more present in the city, and is becoming part of the urban landscape: 3D printed buildings and 3D printed bridges are a reality. We will see that additive manufacturing is now playing a role in urban transportation. Additive manufacturing is definitively helping many different industries to improve their manufacturing process and it is clearly a way to rethink the transportation infrastructure industry.

We are going to see in this blogpost how 3D printing plays a new role in transportation and though different examples, from a bus to a skateboard, we will see how this technology is creating the urban transportation of the future.


A new manufacturing process for urban transportation


A new method both for prototyping and production

3D printing is a new efficient manufacturing method, allowing to improve the quality control and also to reduce material waste while producing. Indeed, you only use the amount of material that you need when 3D printing.

Prototyping for urban transportation using 3D printing will allow you to make many iterations at a lower cost. You will get more freedom but also more accuracy. Using 3D modeling software for a better visualization is also another advantage of working with 3D. It will allow you to work more efficiently on your projects and do all the modifications that you need just with one 3D software. It is a good method to work both on design and on the mechanical aspects of the parts. You can check our top of the best car design program to see what are the 3D software that you could use for your projects.

If you want to 3D print for production, you may be wondering: Are 3D printed infrastructures strong enough? It is now possible to print with various materials, not only plastic materials. Metal 3D printing is a reality, and it will help you for your various projects. But other 3D printing materials could be adapted to the specificities of your projects, because each 3D printing material has its own properties.


What are the advantages?

For cars, trains, buses, 3D printing could allow customization. It could be a great method to manufacture vehicles adapted to their environment or to the passengers, with special equipments. Additive manufacturing could also be a good way to rework and optimize designs to create lighter vehicles for example.

Moreover, 3D printing is a perfect method to replace spare parts. When working on an old or historical vehicule, finding the right spare part can be a nightmare or just too expensive. Thanks to 3D printing, it is possible to manufacture spare parts custom-made quite easily. That is precisely what Jaguar did to recreate the classic XKSS model from 1957.


Credit: Jaguar

Credit: Jaguar


The best projects of 3D printed urban transportations

3D printed vehicles

3D printed shuttle

Local Motors 3D printed the first self driving shuttle: Olli. Having a 3D printed shuttle has many advantages: the design of this actual vehicle can be adapted if they want to manufacture a shuttle for another city. The design can be changed really easily, to make it fit completely the needs of other passengers.  




3D printed trains

Run2Rail is a new 3D printing project. The goal of this project is to create railway vehicles using additive manufacturing. They are using 3D printing and carbon fibers to manufacture lighter and stronger trains. The printing technology could allow to create more reliable trains and totally change the way we produce railway vehicles. Lighter vehicles need less energy to function, so it is a really important aspect to take into account when developing them. The aspect of the noise is also taken into account in this project, as they want to create silent trains!


3D printed cars

We saw in a previous blogpost that 3D printing is becoming able to 3D print cars and how it could revolutionize the automotive industry. The 3D printing technology could allow to create cars with new properties, like for example this Light Cocoon project, a lightweight car created thanks to the SLM technology.

Engineers in charge of this project developed a new structure, with an optimized design and topology optimization.

credit: EDAG

credit: EDAG

Other urban transportation options


The 3D printed skateboard

This project shows the usefulness of 3D printing: an engineer with mobility problems decided to develop a new way to get around the city. Additive manufacturing allowed him to print an electric skateboard, and it gave life to a startup: Faraday Motions.

3D printed nylon and metal have been used for the body and for the motor brackets of this amazing 3D printed longboard. The startup is still looking for ideas to manufacture even more efficient devices for mobility. We can’t wait to see what they will develop next.

Get more info about this project in the video below:


3D printed bike by Sculpteo

Bike is certainly one of the most used transportation modes all around the world. At Sculpteo, we were wondering if it was possible to create a bike using digital manufacturing. Obviously, the answer is yes, it is possible. We made a laser cut and 3D printed bike, made using Sculpteo’s 3D printing service and materials.

This is a fully functional bike, as it went for a 1000 km trip between Las Vegas and San Francisco, showing that digital manufacturing is able to create efficient and resistant mobility options.

Watch the video to understand how this 3D printed bike has been made:

It is the kind of projects that you could make using our 3D printing service. Give it a try!


If you have a 3D printing project to create any transportation-related object, don’t hesitate to contact us. You already have your 3D file ready? You can upload it on our 3D printing service.

If you want to go further on 3D printing and travel, check out our blog post about the best 3D printed motor projects, but also how is 3D printing used to travel for space missions. We hope that you liked to discover this new 3D printing applications. Don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get all the latest news regarde 3D printing and transport!



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