Blade, the first 3D printed supercar

  • TECH
  • Monday, 29 Jun 2015

PRIDE AND JOY: Czinger shows off a car with a 3D-printed chassis.

American start-up Divergent Microfactories has unveiled Blade, a surprising 700hp supercar whose chassis was entirely printed in 3D before being assembled by hand.

Divergent Microfactories is dedicated to revolutionising car manufacturing and its harmful health and environmental impacts on the planet, and has created a manufacturing platform that radically reduces the materials, energy, and costs of manufacturing. The company's chief executive officer, Kevin Czinger, wants to apply this strategy to the automobile industry, starting with Blade, one of the greenest and most powerful cars in the world.

The Blade supercar's technology centers on Divergent Microfactories' proprietary solution called a Node: a 3D-printed aluminum joint that connects pieces of carbon fiber tubing to make up the car's chassis. This cuts down on the 3D printing required to build the chassis, and, in addition to dramatically reducing materials and energy use, the weight of the chassis is then up to 90% lighter than traditional cars, resulting in better fuel economy and less wear on roads. On top of all that, the chassis ends up being much stronger and durable.

Thanks to its aluminum and carbon fibre blend, Blade weighs only 635 kg, helping the 700hp bi-fuel engine, which can use either compressed natural gas or gasoline, to propel the car from 0-60mph in a scarcely believable 2.2 seconds.

Divergent Microfactories would like to "print" 10,000 of these chassis per year, and is looking for partners to further develop the project. The company also plans to put its platform in the hands of small entrepreneurial teams around the world, thereby allowing them to set up their own microfactories and build their own cars or, eventually, other large complex structures.

Blade is not the first 3D printed car, but it is the first supercar to make use of this technology. In 2014, American company Local Motors succeeded in 3D printing a two-seater convertible for the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago, though the car did not include an engine, electric batteries or tires.

Discover Blade at See Blade's 3D printed chassis on video here . — AFP Relaxnews

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