A team of super nerds/Belgium engineering students has created a 3D printed car.
Let's face it, it was only a matter of time before some tech geeks/geniuses used this latest printing innovation to build something like this. Oh, and did we mention that it is fully functional and can reach speeds of up to 88 mph?
Created for the Formula Student Challenge, the vehicle students designed had to be a non-professional weekend autocross or sprint racer for a niche sales market that will be part of a viable business model.
The car is not completely made from printed parts, but the entire body was created on a 3D printer.
Underneath the printed body, an 85 kW motor drawing power from 50-volt lithium polymer batteries sends the Areion from zero to 62 mph in 3.2 seconds with a top speed of 88 mph.
Inside is an electric drivetrain made from bio-composite materials, and a bio-composite race seat that brings the total weight to 617 pounds. A double-A carbon wishbone suspension system with titanium uprights keeps the steering tight.
So basically, they printed the outside and it is run off a really big battery.
The team behind the car, Formula Group T, consists of 16 International University College Leuven engineering students.
Working with Materialise, a 3D printing specialist company, they used 'stereolithography techniques' – a massive 3D printer that printed the entire car body in one go. The huge printer constructs something by layering a liquid polymer that hardens when it is struck by a laser beam.
Each time, the laser printed layers are lowered together with the vessel's resin level.
Afterwards, a small reservoir moves over the vessel and disposes a film of liquid polymer onto the whole vessel. This curtain recoating technology needs less time between layers than the traditional stereolithography technology which uses a scraper.
Although it will definitely be some time until we see entire, whole, fully function cars roll off the back of a printer, this latest technological achievement could well be a glimpse into what the future of sustainable motor cars looks like.