Tag Archives: 3d print

3D-printed car.

World’s first mass-produced, 3D-printed car is electric, looks cool and costs under $10K

Three-dimensional printed cars will soon find their way to driveways and cul-de-sacs all across the world as the first mass-produced vehicle of its kind aims to revolutionize the auto industry.

3D-printed car.

Image via Polymaker.

Cars are a pretty big investment. They are also quite necessary for some and quite desirable for others. So why not keep the second part but drop the price? That’s what Italian-based electric car company XEV and 3D-printing material company Polymaker want to achieve with a tiny but adorable car called the LSEV.

“XEV is the first real mass production project using 3D printing,” said  Dr. Luo Xiaofan, co-founder and CEO of Polymaker, during a recent press conference at the 3D-Printing Cultural Museum in Shanghai.

“By saying real, I mean there are also lots of other companies using 3D printing for production. But nothing can really compare with XEV in terms of the size, the scale, and the intensity.”

According to CNBC, the printed car will weigh just around 450 kgs (992 pounds), takes just three days to print, and will bring you back under $10K. The secret behind this price tag, Polymaker says, lies in the 3D printing process itself. The company managed to shrink the number of plastic components that go into the vehicle from 2,000 to just 57. This makes it much faster and cheaper to print, but also lighter than any comparable vehicle. Apart from the chassis, seats, and glass panes, every visible part of the car was 3D-printed.

It does come with limitations, however — this isn’t a sports car. It’ll do up to 43 mph (around 70km/h), and a single charge will cover about 93 miles (150km). Not good if you’re trying to cross the border to Mexico in a hurry — but really handy when you have to zip about through a crowded city. The vehicle’s relatively small dimensions also help in this regard.

People seem to agree with me: as XEV reports, they’ve already received 7,000 orders for their car, despite the fact that production should start sometime in the quarter of 2019.

“This strategic partnership between XEV and Polymaker leads to a revolutionary change in automotive manufacturing,” writes Polymaker. “It is possible that similar changes, related with 3D printing technology, will happen to every aspect of manufacturing very soon.”

Round printing.

Novel 3D printing method makes furniture in vats of gel within minutes

MIT and Steelcase researchers have teamed up to revamp 3D printing and throw in a Westworld-esque vibe in the bargain. This new technique injects the material into a supportive gel and can print much larger objects than previously possible in a matter of minutes.

RLP in progress.

Dubbed Rapid Liquid Printing because MIT probably doesn’t have a naming division, the approach forgoes the layer-by-layer approach of traditional 3D printing methods and instead injects material directly into a vat of supportive gel. The injection head essentially ‘draws’ the object inside the vat, with the gel providing buoyancy and maintaining the shape of the object while it hardens.

Round printing.

Image via Youtube.

Altering the speed of injection and the speed at which the head travels through the gel will alter the thickness of lines laid down by the device, allowing for a huge range of shapes to be created.

Printing varying thickness line.

Image via Youtube.

Rapid Liquid Printing 2.

Rapid Liquid Printing 3.

RLP allows for much larger objects to be created much faster and using stronger materials than traditional printing methods. The developers, a mixed team of researchers from the MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab and furniture manufacturer Steelcase, hope the technology will address what they perceive are the main limitations of traditional 3D printing methods: slow manufacturing speed compared to conventional processes such as milling or injection molding, their (usually) small scale, and the narrow range of materials they can use (which are also comparatively lower quality than other industrial materials).

And it works, on all counts. This cool video the developers put together showcases how RLP can be used to print a whole piece of furniture in a matter of minutes. Check it out:

Unless otherwise specified, image credits go to MIT / Selfassemblylab.


3D printed cat orthosis can save paws

Sprocket the cat has been fitted with an improvised 3D printed leg brace which has a good chance of saving his leg from amputation.

Image credits: Fergus Fullarton Pegg.

Sprocket, who is just younger than 1 year old, has had his share of misfortunes. He was lucky to survive being hit by a car, but his leg was shattered. He managed to recover very well, only to be mauled by a dog six weeks later. Things didn’t look good for Sprocket. His leg nerves were severely damage, and amputation seemed almost imminent.

But his designer owner wasn’t just about to give up – he decided to create and 3D print a design for an orthosis. Fergus Fullarton Pegg, who works as a design innovation researcher at the Glasgow School of Art is one of the most qualified people to tackle this kind of problem. Thanks to this, Sprocket’s leg is protected from further damage and has a good chance of avoiding amputation. The 3D printer uses heated resin to gradually print the structure, which provides additional support without adding pressure on the leg. The lightweight prosthetic shell attaches using velcro, and so far, Sprocket does’t really seem to mind it. The design, if proven successful, could save many paws of our furry friends.

Image Credits: Fergus Fullarton Pegg

If bad comes to worse and amputation is needed, Pegg is also preparing a prosthetic design, to enable Sprocket to walk. 3D printing is promising to bring a revolution in both human and animal prosthetics.