How to 3D print cars in the not-so-distant future

From small-scale, plastic prototypes to ship’s propellers to entire houses, there is little 3D printing can’t do anymore. The production process distributes material only where necessary in a mostly automated process, saving material, labour and costs. It’s no wonder that more and more manufacturers are looking at 3D printing in their production processes. Two recent collaborations bring forth cars made using 3D printing, and while it isn’t a new concept to 3D print auto parts, these two projects each have something unique. The speedster La Bandita is the world’s first car designed in virtual reality, while the LSEV lays claim on the title of the first mass-producible 3D printed electric car in the world.

La Bandita
Hackrod, a digital manufacturing company, is collaborating with Siemens PLM Software to create the world’s first car designed in virtual reality, engineered with AI and 3D printing in structural aluminium alloy. The car, La Bandita, is intended to serve as proof of concept for a new industrial design to production methodology. Using Siemens’ software, Hackrod has access to the latest design and engineering tools to design, test and manufacture cars without the need for large industrial infrastructure or tooling budgets. Thanks to the software, customers will be able to customise their car, which will be brought into reality (or at least its structure) using 3D printing.

Another collaboration, this time between car company XEV and 3D printing company Polymaker, brought the SLEV into life, a 3D printed electric vehicle. All visible parts of the car are said to be 3D printed, save the chassis, seats and glass. The car consists only of 57 separate parts and weighs 450 kilograms (992 pounds).

The LSEV is available for €8,000 (US$9,900), has a top speed of 69 km per hour (43 miles per hour) and a driving range of 150 kilometres (93 miles) per charge. The production is planned in the second quarter of 2019.

Photos: Hackrod / Polymaker (via Inhabitat)