Michael Molitch-Hou from 3D Printing Industry
Last year, 3DPI got an on-the-ground look at the Strati 3D printed car as it took its first test drive around the IMTS trade show in Chicago. While not the first 3D printed car, Local Motors’ Strati demonstrated a proof of concept for their direct digital manufacturing model, in which consumers might design custom vehicles to be 3D printed by large format 3D printers designed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Cincinnati, Inc. And, with Oak Ridge ready to push the size, speed, and cost savings of their original machine, Local Motors is ready to begin rolling out their business model with two car printing facilities this year.
As we’ve seen with house printing, China is not one to be outdone. Seeing the US and other countries 3D print large structures, a company called WinSun went on to 3D print an entire apartment building and mansion. Now, according to ChinaNews.com, a company called Sanya Si Hai 3D Technology, Ltd. has 3D printed the country’s first car, dubbed “Shuya”, after the city in which it was made. The frame of the car was 3D printed with a composite material in just five days in color with the colorful name “Tyrant Gold”. Weighing approximately 500 kg, including the car’s non-printed components, the Shuya is capable of reaching speeds up to 40 km/hr, driven by an electric motor.
The car required 500 kg of the Tyrant Gold material to fabricate. At about 10 yuan per kg and with 1000 yuan for electricity and labor, the total cost of the vehicle was about 11,000 yuan ($1770) to create. The auto measures 3.6 meters long, 1.6 meters wide and can seat two passengers.
Sanya Si Hai 3D Technology’s own 3D printed car took more than twice as long as the Strati, which the BAAM hybrid 3D printer and CNC router was able to fabricate in just 44 hours. Still, the company’s equipment is pretty heavy duty and was big enough to 3D print an entire boat. And, anyway, who can resist a car that can be printed in Tyrant Gold?