Looks like the 3D printed world only grows bigger and bigger – a bit like what happened to the virtual reality game Second World, only IRL, so to speak. Now, an experimental technology company have done what many car enthusiasts could only dream about – they 3D printed the chassi parts to a fast, environmentally friendly, lightweight and very cost effective car, and they named it Blade.
Divergent Microfactories did it by connecting carbon fiber tubing with what they call a “Node”, which are aluminium joints made up of a proprietary compound, and the big reason for taking on this spectacular challenge was to “democratize auto manufacturing”. The body of the car is composite.
And the hopes are high that they’ve actually succeeded with their mission – basically any smaller team of entrepreneurs could work together in a new type of microfactories, constructing both 3D printed car models like this one, as well as other complex creations.
Kevin Czinger, CEO at Divergent Microfactories talks about their project: “As Blade proves, we’ve done it without sacrificing style or substance. We’ve developed a sustainable path forward for the car industry that we believe will result in a renaissance in car manufacturing, with innovative, eco-friendly cars like Blade being designed and built in microfactories around the world.”
“Blade” itself now stands for impressive statistics:
0-60mph in just over two seconds, which is faster than a McLaren P1
Twice the power-to-weight ratio of a Bugatti Veyron
A 700hp engine, fueled with compressed natural gas or petrol
Weighs 1,400lbs, or about 635 kg, which is 90% less than most other cars around
Emits 30% of the emissions of an electric car
Costs 1/50th of the factory capital compared to other manufactured cars.
The company aims to put their philosophy of democracy in auto manufacturing into practice by stimulating others to follow their example: First they intend to raise $10 million to build a plant where they can hone the tooling needed for constructing the vehicle. This will take place over the next 18 months. Second, they will sell their formula to other entrepreneurs who can do the same thing – raising the money to build their own manufacturing plants.
Blade’s chassi took only half an hour to hand-build, and it weighs only a puny 61 pounds, or somewhere around 30 kg, and is built with approximately 70 pieces of 3D printed aluminium nodes.