Is it possible to produce a component, module, or even a complete, one-piece vehicle body in one single production process? Current advances in additive manufacturing have brought what still sounds like Utopia one step closer to reality.
EDAG, one of the leading engineering service providers in the automotive industry will display an example of a printed automobile at the Geneva Motor Show this week.
This futuristic vehicle sculpture is named "EDAG GENESIS", which, using the example of a body structure, is designed to demonstrate the revolutionary potential of additive manufacturing.
Created by the EDAG Competence Centre for Lightweight Construction, "EDAG GENESIS" is based on the bionic patterns of a turtle, which has a shell that provides protection and cushioning and is part of the animal's bony structure. The shell is similar to a sandwich component, with fine, inlying bone structures that give the shell its strength and stability.
The framework of the exhibit calls to mind a naturally developed skeletal frame, the form and structure of which should make one thing perfectly clear: these organic structures cannot be built using conventional tools, and the entire process is tool-free, resource-saving and eco-friendly.
In the future, 3D printing could benefit designers and engineers by opening up enormous freedoms and new design options for development and production.
Future or Utopia?
A team of EDAG designers and specialists took a close look at the potential of a number of promising additive manufacturing processes. EDAG assessed the potential of a number of promising additive manufacturing processes: selective laser sintering (SLS), selective laser melting (SLM), stereolithography (SLA), and fused deposition modelling (FDM).
In the assessment, a specially developed evaluation matrix was used to quantify the technologies; this included criteria such as structural relevance, possible part size, production tolerance and manufacturing costs.
According to EDAG, the results showed that a refined FDM process also looked to be a promising candidate for the future-oriented subject of additive manufacturing.
"Unlike other technologies, FDM makes it possible for components of almost any size to be produced, as there are no pre-determined space requirements to pose any restrictions. Instead, the structures are generated by having robots apply thermoplastic materials. Complex structures are built up layer by layer in an open space - without any tools or fixtures whatsoever. By introducing endless carbon fibres during the production process, it is also possible to achieve the required strength and stiffness values." reports EDAG.
"Even though industrial usage of additive manufacturing processing is still in its infancy, the revolutionary advantages with regard to greater freedom in development and tool-free production make this technology a subject for the future."
"From today's point of view, the production of components, and in the next stage modules, is completely feasible. As for the target of using additive manufacturing to produce complete vehicle bodies: there is still a long way to go before this becomes an industrial application, so for the time being, it remains a vision."
The EDAG Group says its target in this process is to develop and present practicable and valid applications for use in component development and production. "The first stage will be small structural parts; however, we intend to make a real contribution to the development of the revolutionary idea of additive manufacturing."
"We are privileged to be alive at this point in history when the old maxim of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" becomes "if it ain't broke, break it, because there's no chance it will be done the same way in the near future." notes the EDAG Group.
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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irtaza wrote at 3/9/2014 12:25:53 PM:
jd90 wrote at 3/4/2014 4:17:26 PM:
That's very nice, but did anyone tell them that a frame and shell doesn't equal a car? I can't tell for sure where the front wheels would go, or what any of the suspension would look like.