May 5, 2016 | By Kira

The Batmobile is now half a century old, yet as one of the toughest and most iconic cars in history, it certainly isn’t showing its age. The most recent Batmobile reincarnation is Caresto’s Arkham Car, a custom, carbon fiber vehicle inspired by the Arkham Knight videogame and built for the Gumball 3000 2016 motor rally.

Caresto AB, a specialized car body manufacture, designed the one-of-a-kind Arkham Car with several special features, including a powerful 560hp V10 engine, 26” wheels, a rigid tubular frame, and soft black leather interior, all of which give it excellent functionality, comfort, and performance. Yet when it came to the final aesthetic touches, Caresto turned to 3D printing expert Thomas Palm of Palmiga Innovation to provide three exclusive rubberlike 3D prints.

Those familiar with the RC car universe may already know of Palm’s work. The Swedish 3D designer is a long-time contributor to the OpenRC 3D printed vehicle project, and has released a series of exclusively designed 3D printed RC car tires, wheels, and accessories. Palm is also behind Palmiga Innovation and Rubber3DPrinting, where he promotes unique applications and designs using Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) rubberlike 3D printing materials.

For this project, rather than miniature RC car parts, Palm collaborated with Caresto to design and 3D print three exclusive features for the 2.5-meter-wide Arkham Car: a 3D printed steering wheel cap and two Batman-inspired 3D printed logos for the headrests. All three parts were 3D printed in PI-ETPU 95-250 Carbon Black filament using a consumer 3D printer.

This filament is made from a special TPU compound material and a carbon black filler. Beyond being conductive and flexible, PI-ETPU 95-250 provides several advantages for makers, including a hardness of 95 shore A; resistance to harsh environments; elongation at break of 250%; and an attractive matte black finish that definitely screams Arkham Knight.

According to Palm, the steering wheel cap was the most difficult object to 3D print. “The big radius convex surface would not look nice using a 0.4mm nozzle… Instead a 0.7mm nozzle was used but the extrusion width was set to 0.9mm to get the layers to look nice with circular rings covering the complete surface,” he explained. “Also the thickness of only 1,5mm and the need for support material made this a tricky job.”

Nevertheless, he was able to pull it off. The bat symbol itself was manually melted with a solder iron and smoothed out using sandpaper, resulting in a sleek and professional finish.

As for the headrest designs, they were more straightforward to 3D print “using a 0.7mm nozzle and also a small positive extrusion multiplier to adjust the feel and look,” he said. They were also 3D printed with pre-made holes to make the sewing even easier.

“Even if my part has been very small in this car project it has been extremely fun and I feel truly privileged, I can only wish for more,” said Palm of his 3D printed contributions to the truly impressive Arkham Car.

For those who won’t have the privilege of seeing the Caresto Arkham Car in real life, Palm has also released a few free, 3D printable, Arkham-inspired designs for at-home makers. The first is a scaled-down 3D printed steering wheel cap that can turn any mobile into a Batmobile, and the second is a 3D printed Batman emblem that can be used as a hair barrette or sew-on logo. Both were designed to be 3D printed in TPU rubberlike filament, and both are free to download on Pinshape.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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