It has been a while we heard about 3D printing in many application areas. Have we thought of building a complete car using this technology? Yes, you read it right, very soon we will see 3D printed cars on our streets.
Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is a game-changer in the automobile industry. In the recent past, this technology was only limited to prototypes in the industry, but now it will be used to build a complete car. This technology has become one of the severe manufacturing technologies.
Strati was the world’s first electric car by Local Motors in collaboration with Cincinnati Incorporated and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It was the first to use 3D printing in most of the production process. ORNL and Cincinnati Inc supplied large scale 3D printers during manufacturing. During the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago, in the year 2014, it took just 44 hours to print the car. The completed car was the first test-driven on September 13, 2014. Strati is said to be the first 3D printed car in the world.
It is learned that in April 2014, Local Motors conducted a 3D printed Car design contest to assist in full-body 3D printing. Out of 200 submissions, seven were nominated, and Michele Anoé of Italy won the contest and was awarded a $5,000 prize.
Randy Janes of “Wave of the Future 3D” first shared his thoughts of building a Camper trailer with a 3D printer, people started laughing at him. Randy then determined to prove people wrong that it is not possible, and he was successful. He was successful in 3D printing the World’s first 3D Camper trailer in 2018 in Saskatoon.
If we look at the advantages of 3D printed automobiles, four significant benefits pop up.
1) It accelerates prototyping and reduces costs: This technology allows rapid and quick prototypes and quick changes to the design
- It does not require any expensive molds, specialized machines
- Reduces wastage
- Uses only the necessary amount of material
- Only a few hours required
2) It allows modifying the designs quickly, meaning the designs’ modifications when need changes can be done promptly
3) Easily transportable: 3D printers can be easily transported to the site, as the printers’ size is small compared to the vast machinery, resulting in massive savings in logistics
4) Versatility: 3D printers are not limited to create a particular part. Anything and everything with different materials can be printed
5) Print on Demand: It is not required to print in bulk unless needed, saving space and money
6) Reduced weight: Car manufacturers are always looking for ways to reduce weight, which might result in reduced fuel consumption
1) Usage of materials: Not all the materials can be used for printing
2) Some work after production is required to clean up and smoothen the surfaces
3) Reduction in manufacturing jobs
4) As 3D printing is produced layer-by-layer and they adhere together, there is a possibility of delaminating under specific stresses and orientation
5) Copyright issues may arise as people can create fake and counterfeit products, which becomes almost impossible to differentiate them.
Polypropylene & Polyamide 6 and TPU are significant materials from the list of other materials used in the automotive industry of 3D printing.
Although the 3D printed cars are not yet available with the local vehicle dealers, below are some 3D printed cars
->The LSEV is an electric car
->Elvis’s BMW 507
->Nanyang Venture 8
->EDAG Light Cocoon
Let us hope to see the eco-friendly 3D printed cars on the roads very soon, which will make it affordable to all levels of people.
Keywords: 3D printing/Additive manufacturing in automobile industry,3D printed/Additive manufactured vehicles/automobile/car ,Automobile body with 3D printing.