PRINT MY RIDE

HWM (Singapore) - - FEATURE - by Mar­cus Wong

It might not be long be­fore your next car is man­u­fac­tured and as­sem­bled with­out the use of tools.

Ger­man engi­neer­ing firm Engi­neer­ing + De­sign AG (EDAG) showed off their Ge­n­e­sis de­sign con­cept at the Geneva Mo­tor Show as proofof-con­cept that ad­di­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing (es­sen­tially 3D print­ing on a much larger scale) makes it pos­si­ble to cre­ate op­ti­mized struc­tures that come close to the con­struc­tion prin­ci­ples and strate­gies of na­ture.

EDAG says that by in­cor­po­rat­ing a re­fined Fused De­po­si­tion Mod­el­ling process (where ro­bots ap­ply ther­mo­plas­tic ma­te­ri­als in lay­ers to build up com­plex struc­tures in open spa­ces) into fu­ture 3D print­ing pro­duc­tion pro­cesses, car­bon fiber can be added into the mix, in­creas­ing both strength and stiff­ness, thus mak­ing the struc­tures both lighter and safer. While the Ge­n­e­sis con­cept was cre­ated us­ing a ther­mo­plas­tic model of the com­plex in­te­rior, EDAG en­vi­sions fu­ture mod­els made of car­bon fiber, with an ex­te­rior frame of steel or alu­minum pro­vid­ing a tough ex­te­rior.

What makes EDAG’s de­sign unique is that it proves that a com­plete ve­hi­cle body can be as­sem­bled from strong uni­body parts cre­ated in a sin­gle pro­duc­tion process that is tool-free, re­source­sav­ing and eco-friendly.

Mean­while, New Zealan­der Ivan Sentch is us­ing 3D-print­ing from a com­pletely op­po­site an­gle, recre­at­ing a clas­sic 1961 Aston Martin DB4 from scratch us­ing a Nis­san Sky­line GTS25T as the base and a Soli­doo­dle desk­top 3-D prin­ter to print out in­di­vid­ual 4 by 4 inch sec­tions, mount­ing them on a wooden base and then glu­ing each piece in place to form a plug that he will even­tu­ally cre­ate a mold to cast a fiber­glass body from.

Sentch thinks he’s spent about NZD $2,250 on his 3D printed parts, a pit­tance com­pared to the NZD $12,000 a lo­cal Com­puter Nu­mer­i­cal Con­trol (CNC) shop wanted to charge him.

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