German automotive design company EDAG has revealed its concept for a 3D printed car – a design that could be on the roads in around ten years.
‘Additive manufacturing’, better known as 3D printing has grown in popularity in recent years, being used to manufacture everything from toys to weapons, but this is the first time the technology has been used to design the shell of a car.
Called the EDAG Genesis, its design has been inspired by a turtle’s shell and has been designed in a similar way, to provide maximum possible cushioning for passengers in the event of a collision.
The shell, which is a mixture of plastic and carbon-fibre, is sheathed in a layer of metal to provide extra protection.
"From today's point of view, the production of components, and in the next stage modules, is certainly feasible." – EDAG
EDAG claims its new concept will revolutionise car design, being highly flexible, with new designs not requiring specific tooling – something which could spell the end of the traditional car factory, with numerous manufacturing lines replaced with a single printing machine.
“Unlike other technologies, FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) makes it possible for components of almost any size to be produced, as there are no pre-determined space requirements to pose any restrictions. Instead, the structures are generated by having robots apply thermoplastic materials. Complex structures are built up layer-by-layer in an open space – without any tools or fixtures whatsoever,” the company said.
While production of the Genesis is feasible using current 3D printing technology, it is estimated that a road-going version is at least a decade away.
As 3D printing technology becomes cheeper and more accessible, the day could come where motorists simply hit 'print' and watch their dream car come alive before their very eyes.
“From today's point of view, the production of components, and in the next stage modules, is certainly feasible. As for the target of using additive manufacturing to produce complete vehicle bodies: there is still a long way to go before this becomes an industrial application, so for the time being, it remains a vision,” EDAG continued.
What the company didn’t comment on was how, with its single component structure, the Genesis would be repaired in the event of an accident.
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