Top 10 Coolest 3D Printed Cars

A recent report from Deloitte revealed that the four largest OEM manufacturers accounted for one-third of the additive manufacturing industry’s revenue in 2016. That seems a little high, especially in the context of SmarTech’s prediction that 3D printing in the automotive industry will be worth $1.1 billion a year by 2019.

There’s no doubt, though, that the automotive applications are huge and 3D printing now sits at the core of the car industry. It’s a relationship that can only improve and soon we could have full printed cars from the ground up.

So how has 3D printing changed the face of the automotive industry already? Read on and all will be revealed.

3D Printed Car #1: Blade

Blade sure is a beauty. It takes first place in our list not just because it is the first supercar built with 3D printing technology but also for the company’s vision. Divergent3D provides a disruptive new approach to car manufacturing that incorporates 3D printed nodes connected by carbon fiber tubing that results in an industrial strength chassis. These parts can be assembled in a matter of minutes.

Their goal is to make a 3D printed car up to 90% lighter, a transition that they refer to as “car dematerialization”. The idea of building better modular cars in local micro-factories is a powerful one. The only uncertainty is related to this small companies ability to challenge the giants of car manufacturing.

Manufacturer: Divergent3D

3D Printing Technology: SLM

Estimated Percentage of 3D Printed Parts: 25% (nodes)

Status: Functional Concept

3D Printed Car #2: Shelby Cobra 56

3D printed shelby cobra 56

Visited by President Obama at Detroit International Auto Show, the 3D printed Shelby Cobra is a very special 3D printed car. It was built by the US Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility. They used the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine from Cincinnati Incorporated. This machine can 3D print huge, strong, lightweight composite parts without the need for tooling. It does this at speeds that are from 500 to 1000 times faster than a desktop 3D printer.

The 3D printed car incorporates “plug and play” components such as new engine, battery, and fuel cell technologies; hybrid system designs; and power electronics and wireless charging systems, allowing researchers to easily and quickly test out innovative ideas in a driving laboratory.

Manufacturer: Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL)

3D Printing Technology: BAAM

Estimated Percentage of 3D Printed Parts: 75%

Status: Functional Concept

3D Printed Car #3: Light Cocoon

edag-light-cocoon-2015-ba09

German design studio EDAG has been experimenting heavily with 3D printing and generative design. Presented at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, the “EDAG Light Cocoon” is not just a concept study of a compact, dynamic sports car, but also an unprecedented projection of the ultimate in future lightweight construction.

It is a complete, bionically optimised vehicle structure combined with a weatherproof textile outer skin panel, which marks a new dimension for lightweight construction and automobile aesthetics: backlight technology illuminates the skeleton-like, organic structure. The result is a significantly lighter car concept that also looks amazing.

Manufacturer: EDAG

3D Printing Technology: SLM

Estimated Percentage of 3D Printed Parts: 60%

Status: Physical Concept

3D Printed Car #4: Lotus 340r

lotus 340r

3D printing is already used intensively in the automotive industry. CIDEAS are experts in this field and have recreated the Lotus 340R integrating over 41 3D printed parts to demonstrate the feasibility of creating custom and replacing original parts on rare vehicles. CIDEAS also used 3D scanning technologies to reproduce spare parts are becoming increasingly scarce for cars with low production numbers since, prior to 2002, very few cars were designed using 3D solid modeling software.

The Lotus was 3D printed using three different processes, parts were sanded primed and painted to highlight CIDEAS finishing skills, as well as, highlight the importance of all major 3D printing processes. The Lotus 340R is considered one of the best drivers cars ever produced.

Manufacturer: CIDEAS

3D Printing Technology: SLA, SLS, FDM

Estimated Percentage of 3D Printed Parts: 60%

Status: Functional Concept

3D Printed Car #5: GENESIS

edag-genesis

What a strange looking 3D printed car!  EDAG exploration of the use of bionic, generatively designed 3D printed structures in cars began in 2014 with the GENESIS concept. For EDAG, it was a way to anticipate that these processes are ready for the next step. A step that will revolutionise and expand the classic manufacturing processes and structural design methods. This is made possible by the latest advances in development, which enable extremely complex and highly efficient structures to be represented using this process.

The EDAG “GENESIS” is based on the bionic patterns of a turtle, which has a shell that provides protection and cushioning and is part of the animal’s skeleton. The shell is similar to a sandwich component, with fine, inlying bone structures that give the shell its strength and stability. The skeleton is more of a metaphor; in this case, it does not form part of a musculoskeletal system, but instead provides extra passenger safety.

EDAG believes that the traditional rules of design, with restrictions caused by production, will only play a very minor role in additive manufacturing, and the tried and tested construction methods of nature can also be applied in a genuine series production situation, which was unconceivable in the past. This makes this concept one of the most influential for the future use of 3D printing in automotive and for all 3D printing in general. Too bad it is still just a concept.

Manufacturer: EDAG

3D Printing Technology: SLS

Estimated Percentage of 3D Printed Parts: 100%

Status: Physical Concept

3D Printed Car #6: LM3D

Local-Motors-LM3D-Swim-Concept-at-SEMA-2015-01-720x480

Local Motors made huge headlines when it almost entirely 3D printed the Strati in 2014. Most people thought that was just a media stunt. Instead, a year later, Local Motors released the LM3D, its first commercially available, street safe 3d printed car.

At this time, though, the 3D printed car is only available for beta testers who want to help with development, at a price of abut $35,000. Roughly 75% of the LM3D is printed.

LM’s goal is to consolidate as much of the traditional bill of materials into a single, 3D printed piece as possible, eventually making about 90% of the car using 3D printing. Nearly all of the body panels and chassis are 3D printed on the LM3D. The collaborative design company is continually testing new types of materials and different blends for additive manufacturing. They are currently using a blend of 80 percent ABS plastic and 20 percent carbon fiber.

Early birds will be able to place a deposit on a LM3D via a crowdfunding campaign, expected to launch in Q2 of 2016. Retail purchase will be available later in 2016. Local Motors engineers and designers are working around the clock to develop a 3D-printed car that exceeds FMVSS standards by 2017.

Manufacturer: Local Motors

3D Printing Technology: BAAM

Estimated Percentage of 3D Printed Parts: 75%

Status: Multiple functional models for physical beta testing

3D Printed Car #7: Soulmate

edag-soulmate-02

At the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, EDAG presented yet another amazing concept for 3D printed mobility, possibly its smartest to date. EDAG’s development specialists worked with Bosch engineers to bring a vision of connected mobility into reality.

The vehicle’s interior combines several options that will be available on board networked cars in the near future, and shows how the connection between the driver and his vehicle will change. At the same time, the “Soulmate” implements the lightweight automobile design of its predecessor, the Light Cocoon, made possible by 3D printing technology.

Manufacturer: EDAG

3D Printing Technology: SLM, SLS

Estimated Percentage of 3D Printed Parts: 50%

Status: Physical Concept

3D Printed Car #8: Strati 

local motors strati

The Strati was created by Local Motors in response to a fundamental issue is in automotive manufacturing: what can be done to reduce the initial investment in producing a design, reduce the part count, and reduce the follow-up investment that will be required if the design changes? The Strati emerged as the winning design (by Italian designer Michele Anoè) in a contest held by Local Motors. It was used for the company’s project of using 3D printing to build an entire car from scratch during the five days of the IMTS 2014 show in Chicago.

The Strati is an electric 3d printed car manufactured in collaboration with Cincinnati Incorporated’s BAAM 3D printing technology and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). While it is not entirely 3D printed (wheels, battery and electronics are not 3D printed parts, of course), it certainly represents a significant step forward for both the automotive and the 3D printing industry.

Manufacturer: Local Motors

3D Printing Technology: BAAM

Estimated Percentage of 3D Printed Parts: 85%

Status: Functional Concept

3D Printed Car #9: StreetScooter C-16

streetscooter-c16

Although it was somewhat overshadowed by the almost concomitant laugh of the Strati, the StreetScooter C16 Short Distance Vehicle is possibly the most 3D printed four wheeled mobility system ever made. It was built by the Production of Engineering of E-Mobility Components (PEM) team at Aachen University. They used a Stratasys Objet1000 Multi-material 3D Production System.

3D Printing was used for all of the vehicle’s exterior plastic parts, including the large front and back panels, door panels, bumper systems, side skirts, wheel arches, lamp masks, and a few interior components, such as the retainer instrument board and a host of smaller components. Parts were produced using Stratasys’ tough Digital ABS material, enabling the engineering team to build a prototype car that could perform in strenuous testing environments at the same level as a vehicle made of traditionally manufactured parts.

StreetScooter C16 is expected to typically weigh 450kg – (1000lbs ) excluding  battery, has a range of min. 100km (80 miles) and delivers a top speed of 100km/h (60mph), making it an ideal city vehicle.

Manufacturer: Aachen University

3D Printing Technology: Polyjet

Percentage of 3D Printed Parts: 75%

Status: Functional Prototype

3D Printed Car #10: UrbeeManufacturer

KOREcologicUrbee

For all intents and purposes, the URBEE detains the title of the world’s first 3D printed car. It began as a small project by the small, independent team of seasoned designers at Kor Ecologic. The team’s goal was to design a truly environmentally sustainable car that could take 2 people and a dog from New York to San Francisco using 10 gallons of bio-fuel, thus setting a world record.

When it became clear that 3D printing would be the most efficient method for manufacturing the URBEE, Stratasys embraced the project, which became the first car to have its body 3D printed, and is the greenest practical car ever made. Although the project has lost some steam since, KOR is currently at work on the URBEE 2, which will also integrate 3D printed interior elements.

Manufacturer: KOR Ecologic

3D Printing Technology: Polyjet

Percentage of 3D Printed Parts: 80%

Status: Functional Prototype

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