I conducted a web search the other day as I wanted to find out the latest in Supercar automotive news and if there were any new players that had seen an opening in this highly competitive market. I came across this guy – Kevin Czinger | @CzingerKevin
Kevin is the Founder | CEO of Divergent 3D / Divergent Microfactories and main designer of “Blade” a Supercar built from Carbon Fiber and Aluminium components…. Not different from any other Supercar these days you might think? well the Blade is different as it is sculpted using and 3D Printer..yep a printer produces this beast! Kevin’s main belief is that most of the toxins that are produced by car manufacturers these days are at the manufacturing stage not the emissions. His strategy is to produce a 3D printed car range that will only produce a third of the carbon footprint of normal car manufacturing levels. His objective is to use 3D print technology in multi-model car design & development by doing this it will in-turn reduce the cost of unit production and allow the consumer benefit by the companies economies of scale.
So what is it like to Assemble a Supercar?
To round-up, the chassis is made up of two components – Carbon Fiber & Aluminium 3D carved joints or Nodes. These Nodes of aluminium provide structure to the frame-work whilst the carbon fiber rods connect to create the frame and allow rigidity to the chassis’s housing.
So what is the performance like?
Delivery ETA to Market – 2017
Power Output – 700 HP 2.4Ltr Turbo Chargered – Bi-Fuel (Natural gas OR Gasoline)
Acceleration – 0-60 in 2.2 secs
Dry Weight – 635 KG
So is this some sort of Christmas Stocking filler or should the Automotive Industry take notice? Well I think Kevin looks pretty convinced he’s on to something, it was only a matter of time until someone went for a 3D printed car but one with this power to weight ratio is up there with some of the fastest production cars on the planet. I think the statement on his website says it all anyway!
So to prove his case about what the auto industry needs and how his 3D printed car range will change the way cars are produced there is a very interesting infographic on his company’s site >>> see for yourself below.
img source – http://www.divergent3d.com/
Compelling to see that the Electric car & SUV have the highest carbon footprint at the manufacturing stages. They might solve one problem with emissions but create a massive issue in the long run, one which is far greater and has a knock on effect to other Energy Industries. I got another opinion on this – Shrink That Footprint ……it’s a good read on this topic.
So what is it like to Print a Supercar?
As I mentioned in a previous paragraph it was only a matter of time before some innovative company would scale up and build a 3D printer that could produce car parts and allow the assembly of a fully functional moving car. But a Supercar! well a thats a challenge with the Blades 700HP engine, power to weight ratio testing and structural integrity to be maintained.
The Ulimate objective is to allow others small teams build the car with their own 3D metal printing hardware. The aluminium nodes work like a Lego Box set, it as an off the shelf ‘all in one bag” kit, the main pieces can be assembled by small teams with little automotive assembly experience and then when required the mechanical expertise for power-train, steering and gearbox integration and performance testing.
I will admit – to find out how much Green Automotive Manufacturing can benefit the environment and cut down on Carbon Footprints is fascinating. Maybe these innovative methodologies could be applied to other industries in time, even… Ship Building or Airline Industry? The assembly belt of the future might involve a cut to order 3D printing robotic line (solar-powered of course) instead of what we have today.
I think Kevin Czinger has definitely provided a point with this prototype, “the Worlds first 3D printed Supercar”- the Blade really is an innovative step towards the cleaner production of the car and his idea of a Micro-factory allowing these small teams to build in remote locations saving space and energy I think is a step up in Energy conservation and de-centralised car production.
Since its inception in 1886 by Mercedes-Benz the car has been the most popular form of transport, over-time though its popularity has put huge demands on the planets natural resources. Time for change in the way we manage the planet is long overdue so a more long-term solution to these environmental issues has to be one that will reduce the impact our (mankind) demands will have on the planet. One question I have is what about the components of the Blade (aluminium & carbon fiber) they are both made by manufacturing and chemical bonding processes surely demand for them will increase as well.
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