The production of vehicles has long been associated with the assembly-line factory. These factories utilized many different robots and machines to build and assemble different parts of the vehicles. However, all of this may change as 3D printing becomes more and more popular.
You see, using three-dimensional printers can create lightweight car components on the spot. There’s no need to ship production overseas. There’s no need for hugely complex equipment. All that’s required is the printers themselves, which can be programmed to print out any part you tell it to.
This is truly revolutionary and will make a substantial difference in how the auto industry functions. Just think of it: parts can be made immediately, without any waiting time. Manufacturers wouldn’t have to wait for parts to ship or arrive. They wouldn’t even have to go through the complex and time-consuming assembly process. Instead, designers are able to produce vehicles that are lightweight and function at maximum capacity.
An example is the Urbee. This vehicle features a very efficient motor that is made even more efficient by the lightweight motor included. The Urbee can fit two passengers and has only three wheels, but it was created using only 3D printing technology. The process goes much like this: the printer sprays out very hot polymer to build up the chassis of the vehicle, layer by layer. We’re talking at the microscopic level. The technicians don’t even have to be present while this happens. They just input the program and let it go.
After 2,500 hours, the entire car’s chassis is completed. Since the entire thing is made in one piece, it’s more durable and can be programmed to be thicker in certain spots so that it’s as durable as a standard vehicle. However, the entirety of the car is much lighter than a standard one. This results in getting more miles per gallon. How light are we talking? Just 1,200 pounds.
The chassis is made up of only 50 parts. The unibody structure is much more resilient. Think about it: the more joints and connections there are, the more weak spots there are. All in all, this vehicle is poised to make quite an impression, and while it may not be readily available in the near future, it’s definitely setting the pace in terms of what 3D printing is capable of. That’s the key thing to pay attention to.