Automobiles have made great strides in recent years in becoming cleaner and greener, but according to Divergent Microfactories, they still have miles to go.
The problem, as the company sees it, is that while powertrains have become cleaner thanks to the use of alternative energy sources like battery power and fuel cells, manufacturing is dirtier than ever. The start-up puts forth a solution in the all-new Blade, which it calls “the world’s first 3D-printed supercar.”
Based in California, Divergent Microfactories was founded by Kevin Czinger, who also founded Coda Automotive. With Coda, he was focused on cleaning up the highways by promoting electric vehicle adoption. Coda’s electric car flopped, and the company filed for bankruptcy in 2013, emerging as the newly organized Coda Energy, a company that remains focused on energy storage for commercial and industrial applications.
Czinger has now turned his attention away from the roadways and toward the backend of the industry, working to create a cleaner, more efficient manufacturing paradigm based around 3D printing.
“A far greater percentage of a car’s total emissions come from the materials and energy required to manufacture it,” he explained during a keynote speech at last month’s O’Reilly Solid Conference. “How we make cars is actually a much bigger problem than how we fuel our cars.”
With visions of the hot rod building he did when he was younger, Czinger began formulating a simpler, less centralized concept of auto manufacturing based around a 3D-printed aluminum chassis joint he calls a node. The node is made by melting aluminum powder into form using a laser-based printing system. Individual nodes hold structural carbon fiber tubes together, building up a modular chassis like a sort of upsized children’s building kit.
Divergent says that its node-based chassis weighs some 90 percent less than an average car chassis and requires far less material and energy to produce. In fact, in introducing the concept, it carried the nodes and tubes for an entire chassis in a 120-liter (31.7 US gal) shoulder bag.
Divergent believes its 3D-printed nodes are analogous to the Arduinos that have opened up innovation within electronics, hiding technological complexity within an interface that is easy to work with. By using 3D-printed nodes, Divergent says that it can drastically cut down on the amount of space, time and investment required for automotive manufacturing. Once printed, the nodes allow a chassis to be constructed in a matter of minutes in a small, simple microfactory space. No longer will building a profitable car require the resources of a global corporation.
The Latest on: 3D-printed car
via Google News
The Latest on: 3D-printed car
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