Jun 27, 2017 | By David

When we talk about 3D printing technology influencing the automotive industry, it’s usually as a way to produce advanced engine parts and components at a low cost. South Korean company KLIO Design, however, have gone one step further and demonstrated how the technology can be effectively used to make the body and seats for a car as well. Its work was on display at the recent Smart Mobility International Conference and Exhibition, at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul.

The 3D printed cars were part of KLIO Design’s Open Mobility Structure Concept. This project is intended to allow customers to have a more active, collaborative role in the design of their cars, as opposed to a business that is oriented towards suppliers. They can choose from a combination of different body designs, along with a small standardized platform. Different designs are chosen according to factors like how the car will be used, how many passengers it will carry, and the environmental impact that it might have.

KLIO’s project fits well with the current rising trend of smart mobility in South Korea and further afield. More companies and organizations are trying to apply modern technology and innovation in order to promote a more sustainable mobility, a way of making and driving cars that will minimize pollution, traffic disruptions, and injuries/fatalities.

The platform for the car was designed in order to keep the weight at an absolute minimum without sacrificing stability. 3D printing was used to make the wheel cover, wheel guard, steering wheel and parts of the space frame, as this allowed for mass customization and sped up the process by negating the need to create any molds. The frame was topologically optimized, taking the material properties of its NURBS surfaces into account.

Materialise’s 3D printing software solutions, including Materialise 3-matic and Materialise Magics, were a crucial part of KLIO’s project. According to Jeongche Yoon, Design Manager at KLIO Design, '‘Until the mounting points were set, there was iterative work of deleting structures and filling holes. Thanks to Materialise 3-matic, we could remesh directly on an STL level and save time. The connection between FEA results and 3-matic was a great help'’. The Remesh module was also hugely beneficial, allowing high-quality designs to be exported and prepared for printing. Once the body parts were ready, the team also used Alias software to design assembly parts, which were also 3D printed.

The design of the car seats was a particularly complex design, but the use of Materialise made the manufacturing process relatively straightforward. Its lattice-like shape was divided up according to cushioning areas, but the team decided it would be easiest to 3D print the whole thing in one part, as assembly of several cushioning areas could prove difficult.

KLIO Design’s project was a huge success, and should prove influential on the automotive industry at large, if the initial buzz from Seoul continues. Yoon credits Materialise with making the whole project go according to plan: “Materialise 3-matic is intuitive to apply lattices and simple to create data for 3D Printing.'’ he says. '‘The best benefit for us is its format – you can work on your 3D data lighter than STL when applying complex and complicated 3D lattices, which enabled us to work with a regular computer. This format didn’t require conversion to STL and the part could be printed directly on an EOS printer via the EOS Build Processor. Needless to say, we could covert to STL stably, which allowed us to work on the design conveniently.”

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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