3D printing is about the neatest thing in the universe, as a “printer” layers atoms together to create a physical object. It wasn’t long before someone used one to create transportation and a 3D printer car from Belgium was recently clocked going from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds.
Hold those fossil-fueled horses, 3D printer car is electric
Anyone remember the “food replicators” in “Star Trek: The Next Generation?” A person asked for a dish and it was created for them out of thin air. Not only is it possible, it’s here. It’s called 3D printing.
Also called “additive manufacturing” and “stereolithography,” according to Forbes, it first came out in the 1980s, then referred to as “rapid prototyping.” Essentially, one feeds the plans to the machine, often from a computer-aided drafting or CAD program, then the printer uses whatever material is fed to it, such as plastic or metal, and constructs the object to specification, often creating layers at the molecular level, producing an object or components.
At least one 3D printer car, according to the Daily Mail, has been created. Not only that, but the darn thing runs, on electric power.
Darn fast too
The car, called the “Areion,” isn’t a typical passenger car, as it’s basically a soapbox racer with an electric power train. The car weighs in at 617 pounds, according to Business Insider, so don’t bother inquiring about auto financing credit just yet, as it’s far from street legal.
The engineers that constructed it, from the Group T-International University College, a Belgian engineering college, took plans for the car to Materialise, a 3D printing company that had a 3D printer capable of creating the size of parts they needed, dubbed the “Mammoth.”
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Using lightweight composites for the feeder material, it took about three weeks to create the 3D printer car. They only had to bolt on the wheels and suspension and install an electric drive train. After assembly and initial testing, they took the car to England’s Silverstone race circuit for time trials, followed by a visit to Hockenheim, Germany, one of the circuits used for the Formula One German Gran Prix.
Top speed was clocked at 87 miles per hour, and the car goes from 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds.
One small click of “print” for man
The Areion is the school’s entry in Formula Student, an engineering competition run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, that challenges student groups to construct, test and race cars, according to Inhabitat.
Though it might be some time before one can just pop down to a dealer, click “print” and just have a magic Toyota appear, rest assured that it is a matter of time before this is how cars are assembled, along with just about everything else. 3D printing is already being used for a wide range of products; cars are just one application.
Plenty of parts are already being made this way. For instance, according to Popular Mechanics, Jay Leno has been custom 3D printing out-of-production parts for many of the cars in his famous garage for several years and Jaguar, according to Popular Science, is using 3D printing to create prototypes already.
Popular Mechanics: http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/jay-leno/technology/4320759
Popular Science: http://www.popsci.com/sponsored-article-t-rowe-price
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