3D printing technology is a revolutionary and innovative reality that is gaining more and more space in different market areas and life. It is becoming a fundamental tool for many industries to reduce costs and have faster production. One of the greatest advances with 3D modeling is in the automobile market. In this sector, industries are producing a whole 3D printed car or even a mass car part manufacturing.
How is a 3D printed car made? What models are available on the market? Discover these and other information about the 3D universe in our post. We are sure you will be fascinated!
How a 3d printed car is created?
First of all, it requires a computer and a 3D printer, but most of all, it requires CAD software such as SolidFace – but what is CAD software?
The acronym CAD is for “Computer-Aided Design.” It is an indispensable technology for the current technical and industrial design to create, adapt, and optimize projects. Also called 3D modeling software, it could manage all the units of measurement, mathematical formulas, and shapes so the digital design can be printed. The demand to automate drawings and projects from the most diverse areas of science – Mathematics, Civil Engineering, Architecture, Mechanics, Surveying, among others- there was a technological advance focused on industrial designs, CAD being one of these technologies. Other forms of human-machine interaction, focused on the technical design are the CAM and CAE, respectively manufacture computer-assisted and computer-aided engineering.
In manual drawing or engineering projects, the technical drawing must present information such as dimensions, scales, tolerances, and measures for its result to be used in printing, manufacturing, and machining processes. If you want to learn more about CAD and its applications, check it out our blog post: “What CAD stand for?“
Back to the subject, 3D printed cars are a reality.
The printing takes place after the specialized professionals finish the entire 3D project of the vehicle, preparing the necessary files for printing the components. We separate some 3D printed car histories for you to enjoy. But you need to know: you probably won’t find these 3D printed cars at the car dealership in your city, there is going to take some time until this kind of revenue becomes regular. However, some important concepts excite us with a magnificent job of presenting the possibilities of 3D printing in the automotive industry. They even represent the first steps towards mass-produced 3D printed cars.
The American company Local Motors designed, in 2014, the Strati, the first 3D printed car to be produced in the world. The vehicle took years to design, but your production by the three-dimensional impression took only 44 hours. Impressive, isn’t it? But only its carcass was manufactured using this technology, and it was finished along with the other parts during an event in the United States.
The car was built live in front of guests to the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago. Altogether, the vehicle demands only 49 parts to be made, including its largest 3D frame. In a regular car, there are between 5 and 6 thousand parts. Componentes like the engine, wheels, seats, and window, of course, are traditionally manufactured models. They were installed in the car. The creation process of a 3D printer car is more time-consuming and complicated than the regular assembly line. The intention, however, is to change that soon. The company aims to reduce the time operation to 24 hours than to 10 hours, not only the carcass but also its components.
The Strati (“layers,” translated to English), has a maximum speed of 65 kilometers per hour. According to the company, the car has the potential to change a scenario that has been stagnant for many years. Therefore, the company intends to commercialize the product this year, with prices starting at eighteen hundred dollars (US$18.000. It is very versatile. Printed in a carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic material, the vehicle can run up to 200 km with a single charge on its battery. With most of the concern, until this 3D printed car sales start, the manufacturer promises to keep testing the vehicle, to ensure that it can be used normally in traffic. Now, it remains to wait for the optimizations and, very soon, see if the Strati will appear circulating on the streets of the world.
The LSEV comes to be the first fully functional car to be massively collected with the aid of 3D printing. Developed by the Chinese startup Polymaker in partnership with the Italian XEV, the LSEV is small but very strong: carries up to two passengers and has an electric motor. The vehicle’s dimensions and shape remind us of the Smart supercompact line.
Coincidences or not, the LSEV intends to be a cheap option for riding around urban centers. According to Polymaker, this is where 3D printing will make a difference: the technique will allow the number of vehicle parts to be reduced from 2,000 – the market average – to only 57 components, all printed. Cool, isn’t it?
By the way, the use of a smaller number of components will also contribute to make the car lighter, something around 450 kg. But glasses, chassis, tires, and seats are still manufactured using traditional industrial processes. It is the same for the electric motor, which is supplied by XEV. The prototype is functional and can reach speeds of up to 70 km / h. The vehicle with a full load is estimated to run up 150 km.
The Blade is a 3D printed car built by the American company Divergent 3D, which is the first assembled car using 3D printing and techniques inspired by aerospace production. The Blade is an answer to the classic trade-off performance cars like Ferraris and Lamborghinis: the need to balance power and lightness. The vehicle’s design is incredible, and the material used in the making was a mixture of aluminum with carbon fiber – which made the car light, weighing only 635 kg. The result is a concept vehicle with four-wheel drive, power of 729 hp and capable of going from 0 to 100 km per hour in 2.2 seconds!
If you want one of these, you will have to wait. The company manufactured only a few models but hopes to start working with store makers soon to start producing more.
Presley’s BMW 507
You haven’t read wrong. Not only with Pink Cadillac had lived the King of Rock. Elvis also had his love relationship with a BMW – A rare 507, convertible with only 254 units manufactured from 1955 to 1959. He bought this car during his time in Germany, to fulfill the mandatory military service of October, from 1958 to March 1960.
Purchased on December 20, 1958, by Elvis, the 507 already had a remarkable history. It was shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show and used for testing by the local press. In October, he went to the London Motor Show, then went to the Turin Motor Show afterward in the hands of pilot Hans Stuck. Between May and August 1958, the pilot won several stages of the Mountain Climb races across Europe, and was even used in the filming of “Hula Hopp Conny.”
Passing through several owners after Elvis, the 507 arrived at Jack Castorwho kept the car for future restoration. But it was only in 2014 that this happened.
The BMW 507 returned to Germany, along with all the parts, and the restoration process began. The car was completely disassembled to check the condition of the aluminum body and chassis. As a rare model, the parts were difficult to find even for the BMW team, which had to manufacture some following the original processes of the time and with the help of current 3D printing. After complete reconstruction, the engine returned to the car, following all the car’s original standards.
The same goes for the interior, including the use of coconut fiber, and for the painting process, where the 507 managed to follow the level of finish and brightness of the time, different from the current one. Jack Castor did not get to do with BMW ready, since he passed away in November 2014, but everything he demanded was done.
The company KOR Ecologic has managed to produce an ideal car for the urban and environmentally friendly environment. It was designed to have a small number of parts instead of many, as is the conventional cars. The parts are formed of ABS plastic, which is a very durable material, at the same time light, which makes the vehicle weigh 544 kg. The car’s lightness makes it economical – it yields, on average, 100 km per liter.
The car’s hybrid engine has eight hp of power and reaches a top speed of 110 km/h. Urbee had 80% of its manufacturing printed in 3D and is 3 meters long, 1 meter high and 1 meter wide. The company KOR is working on the production of Urbee 2 and promises an aerodynamic and super-economical model.
According to the company, the Urbee can only be manufactured using 3D printing. The complex assembly geometries and customization offered by Additive Manufacturing allowed him to design every piece and panel. As a result, the Urbee has fewer components than other vehicles and is lighter to boot. Instead of creating single parts of the project, Kor used AM to mix the parts into complete sections. Kor aspires the Urbee can be built using a total of 50 separate parts.
And the good news is that it is ready for production, which is quite expensive, but KOR has some orders.
Produced by Local Motors (The Strati), this 3D printed car looks more like a minibus, which is incredible. Your first project, Olli 1.0, made its debut in 2016, with autonomous running technology.
It is circulating at nine points, such as at the United States Armed Forces Joint Base in Texas and at the White Rock Corporate Campus. At all locations, Olli’s buses are being guided by support drivers. For now, the startup is collecting data to understand the public’s reaction and how the vehicle has helped to alleviate congestion.
In 2019, the company launched Olli 2.0. The bus is autonomous and can carry ten people and travel up to 160 kilometers on one load – which recharges in less than two hours. It is equipped with an onboard computer, 360º sensors, and the IBM Watson IoT system, which analyzes data in real-time to interact with the pilot and make choices during the journey. On the inside, passengers have touch screens that can transmit content in augmented and virtual reality. The bus is also integrated with IBM Watson and Amazon Lex, allowing companies to create their customer interaction systems. According to Local Motors, Olli 2.0 is customizable in several ways. In the case of a hospital, for example, some seats can be removed for transporting patients.
Local Motors’ goal is to deploy Olli 2.0 in cities, towns, and cities to solve congestion, pollution, and accessibility problems. For this, the company created an application that connects to the vehicle. Through it, users can register, book a trip with the nearest Olli and pay for the service.
The German engineering company EDAG showed the concept of a car built with a 3D printer, the EDAG Genesis. The company wants to prove is that it is possible to build a car skeleton with a 3D printer. The project shows a massive body in one piece instead of several pieces that are fitted together.
EDAG affirms that it is possible to create a car body using carbon fiber, which would create a light and resistant car. According to EDAG, the use of technology could be the next industrial revolution in the auto industry. The shell of the turtles inspired the look.
In the composition of the structure, techniques such as selective laser fusion (SLM), laser sintering (SLS), stereolithography (SLA), and fused deposition modeling (FDM) were used. Carbon fiber gave strength and rigidity to this vehicle, which is produced 100% by 3D printing.
Another EDAG 3D printed car, the Light Cocoon concept was announced on the Geneva Motor Show 2015, a compact sports car with a “bionically optimized” structure, with weatherproof textile outer covering. The vehicle’s finish allows, with the built-in lighting, the “organic structure” visualization, according to the words used by the company.
The interior structure is created by a 3D printer, programmed to use the minimum amount of material, for the purpose of sustainability, coated with a thin layer of finish, almost like a skin. The proposal is also reflected in performance, leaving the Cocoon four times lighter than the filled version. The company, however, has not yet revealed the engine proposal for the concept.
The Japanese brand presented in Detroit a utility concept, futuristic and 100% electric – know the Toyota uBox. Its a partnership between Toyota and the International Automobile Research Center at the University of Clemson, in the USA, the Toyota uBox is a prototype of the future, designed to meet the needs of a younger population in 2020 – the “Generation Z.” The two-year project resulted in a family and utility model. On the outside, the design philosophy makes use of geometric shapes, where the sharp lines stand out, “suicide doors” (counter opening), LED lights active even during the day, and a glass roof supported by a carbon-fiber structure and aluminum.
To meet the needs of everyday life, inside the cabin, it is possible to choose the configuration of the seats (for greater comfort or space for luggage). In addition, some details on the doors, instrument panel, and ventilation can be elaborated using 3D printing technology, which is much more accessible.
Audi Type-C Replica
Audi Toolmaking produced a scale replica of the 1936 Auto Union Type C. A practical example of the brand’s know-how in the field of 3D printing technology. The vehicle, an Auto Union Type C at a scale of 1: 2, was produced using an industrial 3D printer, using laser technology and a specific metallic powder, capable of creating sections and filaments with a diameter smaller than that of human hair. This material worked in this way, becomes very flexible, allowing the production of components with complex geometry, sometimes more easily than conventional methods. The German brand admits that it is already using this technology to produce small iron and aluminum components. It a new era to automobilists manufacturing.
Audi’s goal is to continue to develop three-dimensional printing technology to integrate it into series production mechanisms in the future.
Nanyang Project 8
Students at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore presented the first solar-powered car with the structure made entirely with a 3D printer. The body has 150 parts, printed separately, placed on a carbon fiber chassis. In all, sixteen university students from different engineering and design courses developed the project, called NTU Venture 8 (NV8).
With flexible silicon solar cells made by hand that follow the outline of the vehicle, the main focus of the project is to increase energy capture’s efficiency. It reaches a top speed of 60km/h and participated in the Shell Eco-Marathon
To keep the car as light as possible, students opted for a specific type of plastic for the body, structured like a beehive.
The material, when seen against the light, is translucent and, according to students, manages to be thin and resistant at the same time.
In addition to the NV8, the group also developed a sporty three-wheeled version of the solar-powered vehicle, equipped with silicon cells that follow the body outline, just like the NV8. Named NV9, the concept car is smaller and has intelligent tilt technology that allows energy savings in curves.
A Revolutionary Market
This technology can be very useful for professionals working with design to develop products for their business. It is an important ally handling with complex parametric assembly. For example, before starting to create a product, the designer can print it in 3D and make a test and crash simulation to see if it is in the ideal mold. With that, you can make and kind of adaptations, reducing time and costs.
Some companies provide 3D printers that are compatible with CAD software and provide the necessary support for companies in various sectors to enter into 3D technology innovation.
Talking about CAD, do you know SolidFace 3D?
SolidFace is a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) created to support all kinds of creators like engineering, architects, digital designers, and others in their projects. It has multiple features that facilitate the creation, measurement, and management of designs.
SolidFace 3D modeling software is a solution that allows you to build an additive manufacturing project efficiently. You can manage your drawings in no time without any previous setup, allowing you to work on it immediately. It is perfect for anyone interested in 3D designs, from students to professional designers.
SolidFace also keeps confusion away, allowing the user to manage to distribute parts of complex parametric assemblies or assemblies and work with them. As previously said, the use of 3D modeling (like 3D printed car) decreases parts that need to be opened, facilitating your work by keeping your screen clean, and your builder with a quicker and effective operation.
Do you need more? Here we go!
SolidFace 3D is FREE! It also has free tutorials for you to learn, practice, and become an expert designer for your jobs or particular projects. All system updates are free of charge, so don’t worry about not be able to work with exclusive and totally necessary features. SolidFace has a whole 3D part & assembly modeling so you can let your imagination flows through your project. It is capable of handling 2D and 3D parametric assemblies, for you have the best of management, measurement, and modeling. And they’re also a bill of materials. Cool, isn´t it?
Our company aims to create a collaborative interface community for all SolidFace users to share your experiênces and work with friends and other professionals. We believe knowledge is the key to success.
Thus, install Solidface and be our guest to start your projects right away. Why not build a 3D printed car? It will be our pleasure to support you.