Mostly used as a rapid prototyping tool, 3D printing has been present in the automotive industry for quite some time. Now, whole cars are being 3D printed. Here are 10 of the coolest cars that are 3D printed or contain 3D printed parts.
Believe it or not, 3D printed cars are a reality.
Although you won’t be able to find 3D printed cars at your local car dealership just yet, there are some very interesting concepts out there that do a great job of presenting the possibilities of 3D printing in the automotive industry. They even represent the first steps towards mass-produced 3D printed cars.
Here are 10 of the coolest cars that are 3D printed or contain 3D printed parts. Just keep in mind that most of them aren’t available for purchase.
An electric car for $7,500.
Set to hit both the Asian and European markets in 2019, the LSEV truly is a game changer. At the low low price of $7,500, it really appears to be an affordable electric 3D printed car.
The LSEV is a collaboration between XEV, a design firm based in Hong Kong with a design studio in Italy, and Polymaker, the well-known Chinese 3D printing company. Excluding parts like tires, windows, seats, and chassis, both the interior and exterior of the vehicle are 3D printed.
The LSEV is also a very lightweight car, weighing only 450 kg. Its range is set to be 90 miles, with a top speed of 43 mph.
It takes three days to 3D print all the components for the LSEV, which is incredibly fast! The little car is meant to be a city cruiser at an affordable price and it represents the world’s first mass-produced 3D printed car.
The 3D printed EV that powers buildings.
The PUV is a robust, 3D printed vehicle created by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for a project called AMIE. AMIE stands for Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy, and the project’s goal is to innovate how we generate, use, and store energy.
The idea behind AMIE is to have a vehicle wirelessly transfer electrical power to the building next to it, and vice versa.
The researchers turned to 3D printing to produce the PUV’s body panels as well as the building featured alongside the PUV. Doing so saved a rather significant amount of time and money.
The PUV’s body panels were printed in carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic on a large 3D printer. What’s cool about the PUV is that you would not be able to tell its body panels were 3D printed. That’s thanks to the special resin coat, which provides a smooth and glossy surface.
The 3D printed car has a top speed of 35 mph, and the maximum range for the 14-kWh lithium-ion battery is 35 miles. These numbers may not be impressive, but that’s okay because the car is primarily used as a research platform.
If you fancy reading more about the AMIE project, click here.
Restored thanks to 3D printing.
The car you see pictured above is a BMW 507. But it’s not just any 507. This one belonged to the king of Rock’n’Roll. When the car was found, it wasn’t in great shape — a lot of love was needed to bring it back to life.
The restoration of Elvis’s BMW 507 was made possible partly thanks to 3D printing. Because there are little to no 507 parts still available, the team at BMW Group Classic needed a way to produce brand new… old parts.
For that, they turned to 3D printing. They quickly reiterated the original component designs into CAD models. These were sent to a 3D printer to produce window winders and door handles.
By no means is this 507 a 3D printed car, but it does feature a number of 3D printed components. It just goes to show how 3D printing can easily complement the restoration process.
Top grade for this student project.
The Nanyang Venture 8 is an electric car that was created by students and staff at the Nanyang Technological University. The car features over 150 3D printed parts, including the instrument cluster, various grills, door latches, and most importantly, the outer shell. It also features a carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic chassis.
The body is made out of several ABS 3D printed parts, which feature a honeycomb structure to enhance its strength.
The goal of the project was to demonstrate the possibilities of additive manufacturing when producing large objects such as cars. Despite not being a true 3D printed car, it still highlights the technology’s customization potential. For example, if the Nanyang Venture 8 was to go on sale, customers could choose and customize the body panels to suit their needs.
Light like a butterfly, strong like a bee.
First unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 2015, EDAG’s Light Cocoon is a perfect demonstration of how 3D printing could help the automotive industry maintain body panel strength while significantly reducing weight.
Just so you know, EDAG Group is one of the world’s largest independent developer in the automotive industry. That means the Cocoon is a rather important concept, not just for EDAG, but for the whole automotive industry.
The Cocoon’s structure looks kinda like a leaf. It’s these leaf-like parts that features holes in order to keep weight low. EDAG also decided to cover the 3D printed structures with a special Jack Wolfskin fabric, which is strong and weighs almost nothing.
Taking advantages of the holes and the fabric, EDAG was able to perform various “light shows” under the car’s skin, revealing its skeletal look.
A custom car for Generation Z.
Developed by Toyota and Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research, the Toyota uBox is a utility concept car.
The majority of the uBox is machined using traditional manufacturing techniques, but its biggest highlight is its modular 3D printed interior. The idea is that, in the future, we’ll be able to customize interior parts like door trims, dashboard parts, and air vents.
Toyota also stated that it planned to set up an online hub where future uBox drivers can share their 3D printable designs. Other owners could then produce them at home and install them without going to the dealer.
The uBox also features a flat floor, which allows the seats to be moved around in various ways, further highlighting the idea of a modular 3D printed car for young people.
An old dog learning new tricks.
Even well-known car manufacturers have turned to 3D printing to produce their respective concept cars. What you see pictured above is a Bentley Speed 6 concept car, which was unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.
Bentley utilized SLS 3D printing technology to produce metal parts like the grill, side air vents, door handles, and exhausts.
3D printing brought enormous value to the making of the Speed 6, as it enabled the cost-effective production of intricate metal parts. The grill, for example, features a complex geometry that’s only visible when you look at it from a certain angle.
All luxury car brands try to implement their brand’s DNA into their modern car designs, and that’s exactly where 3D printing can help. Additive manufacturing offers new and innovative ways to easily express a particular style.
Exploring new horizons through the glory days.
This 1:2 replica of Audi’s 1936 Type C is Audi’s first ever outing in the world of 3D printing. It represents a fun way in which Audi intended to demonstrate the potential of 3D printing metal parts.
That’s because all of its metal parts were produced using an SLS 3D printer and later assembled to form the complete 3D printed car.
The world’s first 3D printed supercar.
The Blade is a high-performance 3D printed car designed to be manufactured out of carbon fiber tubes and printed aluminum rods! The two components are implemented into the chassis in order to deliver high strength and low weight.
The company behind the Blade is Divergent3D, and one of its goals is to come up with various approaches through which cars, as we know them today, could be more lightweight and cost-effective to produce.
A new project from a great mind.
The car you see above is Shell’s Project M, a small, energy-efficient city car. What’s cool about the Project M is that it consists of 93 3D printed parts.
The design is actually inspired by Gordon Murray’s T.25 concept city car, from back in 2010. As you may know, Murray is a well-known British car designer who designed the legendary McLaren F1.
The Project M is powered by a three-cylinder petrol engine, which enables the 3D printed car to hit its top speed of 156 km/h. It’s also a very lightweight car, weighing only 550 kg.
3D printing enabled Shell to produce internal components in a rather short period of time, thus also saving money. The company stated 3D printing enabled them to easily and cost-effectively produce complex plastic parts.
License: The text of "10 Coolest 3D Printed Cars of 2018" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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