Yes, you read correctly… A printable car…
Company Kor Ecologic, headed by founder Jim Kor, have been working on something very special. An electric car called Urbee is about to make history by going into production as the first 3D printed electric car.
Upon full production, Urbee is boasted to be ultra-strong, ultra-light and can ‘take on the rigours of the highway’.
The prototype of the vehicle was built at 3D printing company RedEye. Using ABS plastic the car is printed in large pieces and then combined with lots of small pieces. It weighs a very light 544-Kilograms and in total takes two-thousand five hundred hours to print. Although the idea of the car is to conserve costs, the prototype cost about $50,000.
Above, Jim Kor and Urbee’s frame and model.
Kor says the manufacturing of the printed out car has a ‘lights out’ construction method. Basically meaning that you can set up the printer to print one area of the car, turn out the lights, lock up the factory and return in the correct amount of hours (a few hundred for the bumper), and the piece will be completed.
The 3D printer has the ability to print the density of the car’s shell. Meaning when this comes down to printing the bumper, the printer is able to add the correct amount of padding for the bumper to pass as safe. In fact, it can be so accurate and thick it wont be too different from the bumper of any modern car on the road today.
But will a printable car pass general safety?
Of course the car isn’t completely printed out. The engine and base chassis are metal. But how safe is that fifty piece plastic body on the motorway? Taking this into high consideration and priority, Kor says:
“We’re calling it race car safety,”
“We want the car to pass the tech inspection required at Le Mans.”
“We’re planning on making a matrix that will be stronger than FDM,” says Kor. He admits that yes, “There is a danger in breaking one piece and have to recreate the whole thing.”
Listen to Kor describe how Urbee became a reality here: