PRINT MY RIDE
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.