One such example of using 3D printing technology for making car parts is the Urbee 2 concept, made by engineer Jim Kor. It’s a small, 10 feet long car, which was made in 2,500 hours thanks to a 3D printer, courtesy of RedEye, a company that provides 3D-printing services. The Urbee 2 is a three-wheeled car which can accommodate two people inside. The printer can print out several parts together without connectors, which are required with the conventional production methods. The chassis is made of molten polymer, but the engine will be made of metal. It will be powered by a combination of a 36-volt electric motor, and a diesel engine, and they will provide a total of 10 horsepower. Due to the fact that there more parts are joined and make one piece, the vehicle is lighter and that makes it more aerodynamic, with a 0.15 drag coefficient.
So, the logical question at this point would be if this concept is viable and whether we can expect all cars in the future to be produced this way. There are arguments for and against it. One downside to it is that it’s still to expensive and a lot of improvements need to be done to make 3D printers more affordable so that each car maker can purchase a couple of them and base their whole production on them.
However, the numerous advantages to 3D printing make it appealing and a lot of research is being done to further develop the technology. For example, you could order a car to be made to match your exact demands regarding each car part. You would be able to make your own designs, send them to a manufacturer, and they will make your dream car in a couple of days, since these printers can print practically every shape you can imagine. So, demand for such cars would be huge, forcing manufacturers to invest in the technology.
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