3D printing has really come a long way in so short a time. A wave that democratized the manufacturing industry has now found its way to automobiles. Although we have indeed seen several examples of the intersection of cars and 3D printing, like Audi Tooling’s most recent 2:1 scale of the Union Typ C race car. But that was just a small scale model. Kevin Czinger and his company, Divergent Microfactories, has 3D printed the chassis of a supercar, and one that actually drives as fast as the real thing.
By superar, they mean a car that goes from 0 to 60 in just over 2 seconds and brags 700 bhp with a torque of 500 lb-ft. That’s not a race car, of course, but that was never really the point of this still awe-striking Blade project. The point is, of course, 3D printing.
The 1,388 lbs monster of a car had its entire chassis 3D printed out of aluminum nodes and carbon fiber connectors. Now, normally that wouldn’t exactly be an extraordinary feat. But put that in the perspective of a fast running car and you should be amazed at how it holds up. You’d probably presume it would break apart at some point, but, well, the video below proves otherwise.
More lightweight but just as durable, Czinger and Divergent Microfactories are trying to demonstrate how beneficial 3D printing can be even making a car. A supercar, at that. Traditional processes requires the use of expensive tooling and machines, to be housed inside expensive factories. It usually takes a decade to get an ROI on such investments. In stark contrast, a 3D printing process would cost only one-fiftieth of that.
Of course, Divergent Microfactories only made the chassis for the Blade. It is, after all, a tech company and not a car maker. A supercar just happens to be the best way to get its point across, and in probably the most sensational manner as well. Other car makers, like Audi as mentioned, are also looking into the technology to 3D print even some of the internal parts. It’s going to take some time but, judging by the pace 3D printing has evolved in just a few years, it’s not going to take too long either.
SOURCE: 3D Printing Industry