First 3D printed car unveiled at London expo

Monday, 18 November 2013

The recent London 3D Print Show unveiled a string of impressive achievements – and chief among them was Urbee: the world's first 3D printed car.

The brainchild of Canadian Jim Kor, the Urbee is an exciting new concept car with bodywork produced entirely by Fused Deposition Modelling. This advanced method of 3D printing deploys a computer-controlled glue gun to build objects layer by layer.

Using this process enabled the Urbee team to avoid the complications associated with hand-working a fibreglass body, and rapidly produce a prototype. Even more promisingly, the body has been built around a safe, street-legal, steel chassis - meaning that 3D printed cars could potentially be road-worthy and viable for car insurance in future.

The Urbee also has big ambitions in green motoring. Rather than following conventional electric or hybrid models, Kor's team is developing a threefold hybrid that distributes the workload between ethanol, diesel and electric power, with the latter used primarily for city driving at 0-40 mph.

Should the project find a functional way to distribute workloads between fuel sources, it could deliver a solution to the conflict between emerging engine technologies. These impressive aims are set to be enhanced in the forthcoming Urbee 2, which will extend its use of 3D printing to cover most of the car's components.

Brothers Cody and Tyler Kor are planning a lengthy road trip across the USA to draw attention to their new model. The drive extends between New York and San Francisco, and the Urbee team are confident that they can make the whole round trip with just 20 gallons (76 litres) of fuel - though it's estimated that they'll take at least 44 days to complete the journey!

A Kickstarter campaign is currently seeking funding to help bring Urbee 2 to market and, if you missed Urbee at the London 3D Print Show and are lucky enough to be jetting off abroad, you can catch a glimpse of Urbee at upcoming 3D Print shows in Paris and New York this month.



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