The Chinese Polymaker and Italian designer X is creating the first road worthy 3D Printed Car. The car is a Smart-sized model called the LSEV that’s made almost entirely using 3D-printing technology.
A few components of the car still have to be made by conventional methods, such as the chassis, the windows and the tires, but the vast majority of the car is made by 3D printing. Although it would probably be easier, quicker and cheaper at the moment to use conventional production methods, the real point of 3D printing is that it dramatically reduces the amount of waste material produced during the production process. This has led the boss of Polymaker, Xiaofan Luo, to predict that the project will “inspire more [car] companies to adopt 3D printing.”
A further advantage of 3D printing in this application is that it allows the manufacturer to greatly reduce the number of parts used, and therefore reduce the environmental impact of car production. In this particular case the number of plastic parts was just 57, compared to the 2,000 it would have taken if conventional manufacturing methods were used.
The prototype of the LSEV has a claimed range of 93 miles on a single charge, a top speed of 43 mph, and it weighs-in at just 450 kg, which is around half the weight of a Smart Fortwo. The car is currently on display at Shanghai’s China 3D-printing Culture Museum and will be making an appearance at the Beijing motor show next month.
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