When you think of printers, you probably think of the big, heavy boxes on or under your desks. For quite a while now there have been 3D printers capable of printing any 3D object you can dream up in CAD, for example. The new technology has come a long way from its infancy only a few years ago. These days you can print everything from replicar dinosaur bones, to a Stradivarius imitation, to ultra-light bicycles, and now even whole cars. Students from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have succeeded to print an entire urban solar electric car.
After doing a lot of research (and many sleepless nights, I’m sure), the Students have printed not just one, but two very futuristic – looking vehicles. The first is the NTU Venture, or NV8, which was put together from over 150 parts, and has a Carbon Fibre Single Shell Chassis. The students hope to race the car at this year’s Shell Eco-Marathon Asia.
The second car is the NTU Venture 9, which looks equally as futuristic due to its 3 wheeled design. The students threw all caution to the wind and agreed to create something completely new, rather than go with conventional designs, thus resulting in these two futuristic vehicles.
Inspired by wanting to be the first in printing a 3D concept car in Asia, the students took over 1 year to design, print, test, redesign, and eventually assemble their creations. They hope their participation in the race will bring the international spotlight to their University and allow them to further advance our current preconceptions of automotive design.
The Shell Eco-Marathon Asia is an annual event that challenges student teams to conceptualize, build, and ultimately race a self-made vehicle. The participants are judged on distance, energy consumption, design, and speed achieved.
3D printed cars? The future is coming in full stride now. We are getting ever closer to the technology thus far only seen in Star Trek movies. As for now, I wish the students the best of luck for the race and hope they, and others like them, will continue to innovate, challenge, and transform our well-established ideas of what is and isn’t possible through technology.