Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular as people are awakening to climate change. Cars that use petrol are a massive contributor to Global Warming. The times have changed and cars do no longer have to rely on petrol consumption and that’s all thanks to electric cars.
So where do 3D printers come in?
You must be asking. Well, 3D printers have been used to aid in the design and development of electric cars to speed up the manufacturing time.
Standard petrol cars require an internal combustion engine to run properly. It’s possible to design cars which look very different from those which we are used to driving every day. This means electric vehicles (EV) can be designed to be smaller, more compact and friendlier on the environment.
Additive manufacturing with 3D printers is helping to speed up the design and development process of EV’s, electric vehicles. Though many of these vehicles which have had the aid of 3D printers are not yet available everywhere, but in time they will be there.
Thanks to 3D printing, the LSEV costs just $7,500 USD, which is extremely cheap compared to regular electric vehicles. Apart from tires, windows, chassis, and seats, the entire car was built and designed entirely using a 3D printer, which is pretty awesome we think.
The regular costs that are induced when manufacturing standard vehicles has reduced due to there being no need for inventory, tooling, or factories. This technology also ensures the car is lightweight.
3D Printed Cars are the Way of the Future
It may be some time before 3D printed electric cars become regulated though. Like electric cars, over time people will flock to 3D printed cars because there is less of a carbon footprint and the cost is greatly different compared to standard electric cars.
Despite all the pros of 3D printed cars, there is one major con: it isn’t the best option for mass-manufacturing a product.
A company providing 3D printed parts for the automotive industry by the name of Divide by Zero Technologies, claim that the technology greatly lessens that manufacturing costs, while speeding up the design and manufacturing process.
The founder of Divide by Zero, Swapnil Sansare explains how 3D printing can help in the development of electric vehicles
“We will need different body structure for EV as compared to ICE vehicles because EV vehicles are simple in power train, and has less weight, the number of body parts, vibration & noise than ICE, with reference to this 3D printing will play a major role in new product development and manufacturing of EV in upcoming days.”
Speeding Up Electric Vehicle Design with 3D Printing
3D manufacturing will see digital libraries replace physical inventory, Sansare highly believes. The libraries will contain all the possible parts and files that can be 3D printed when they are needed. Sansare adds that parts will be simplified and the overall weight of electric vehicles will also be cut down. As a result, we can expect lower production costs and even shorter assembly processes. This is great for the motor industry because more cars can be produced for the fraction of the cost and time.
Right now, the automotive industry is the biggest consumer of 3D printing next to the medical industry. They use it mainly for prototyping. However, another project which has resulted in a 3D printed car is the Nanyang Venture 8.
The car was designed and printed by students from Nanyang Technological University. Its body is made from 3D printed ABS filament parts in a honeycomb structure to increase strength and durability.
This car is not on sale but, if it were, 3D printed parts would mean a buyer could truly customize their ride by tailoring every aspect of the vehicle’s aesthetics.
What does the future of 3D printed cars look like?
The future of 3D printed cars may simply one day mean going online, downloading an STL file and printing a car! This might sound quite farfetched at the moment, but there are already hundreds and thousands of things you can print by downloading an STL file. So who knows, maybe one day, we might be able to 3D print cars from the comfort of our own home!