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A (Mostly) 3-D Printed Race Car Hits 140 Km/h 94

Posted by timothy
from the yeah-but-only-in-metric-kilometers dept.
An anonymous reader writes with an excerpt from a story describing the efforts of a 16-person team called "Group T" competing in the Formula Student 2012 challenge. They've created a car called the "Areion," described as the world's first 3D printed race car. "The Areion is not wholly 3D printed but most of it actually is. It was tested on Hockenheim race circuit and went from zero to 100km/h in just four seconds. Maximum speed Areion achieved on the same circuit was 141km/h." The car features an electric drive train and bio-composite materials, and was created using a printing system called Materialise.
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A (Mostly) 3-D Printed Race Car Hits 140 Km/h

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  • Why the blogspam? (Score:5, Informative)

    by allanw (842185) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @05:35PM (#41131839)
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      assholes like you are why it's so hard to make a few bucks these days.
  • Who has the 3d models for an ion drive?
  • by vlm (69642) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @05:40PM (#41131869)

    In honor of it being a slashdot car story, instead of providing the official slashdot car analogy, I'll provide the slashdot computer analogy to the story.

    "Its like 3-d printing a computer case, and then having the media report the entire computer was printed, circuit boards and all".

    Its just the exterior of the car that was printed, not the motor or the wheels or whatever. This is not to belittle the accomplishment... for 3-d printing that's a very large component to print, and also the stereotype of 3-d printed stuff being weak seems to be finally going away....

    • by mirix (1649853)

      Yep, printing the body is neat, but wake me up when they print the drivetrain.

      • by Brianwa (692565)
        They did print the uprights with Titanium EBM, but the article neglected to mention it.
    • by SeaFox (739806)

      Its just the exterior of the car that was printed, not the motor or the wheels or whatever.

      Well I'm not that impressed now. 3D printed body panels... oooooo.

    • by Smidge204 (605297)

      "Its like 3-d printing a computer case, and then having the media report the entire computer was printed, circuit boards and all".

      There are people working on that [reprap.org] if you were curious...

      =Smidge=

    • Good Grief... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Sunday August 26, 2012 @06:37PM (#41132195)

      I know this is a silly question, but what exactly is it that these so-called Slashdot "editors" actually do? Given the never ending inaccurate summaries, the summaries with all the grammatical elegance of grade-school assignment, the summaries that are essentially just the first paragraph of the story, the summaries that reference rip-off web blogs designed for noting more than soaking up page views while that actual source is some other web site entirely... What exactly do the "editors" actually do?

      • by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerte&gmail,com> on Sunday August 26, 2012 @08:16PM (#41132775)

        Editors? Where have you read that we have edit ... wait, damn!

        Sorry, that was a mistake. We meant to say this site is run by redditors. We hired an entire team of them. We couldn't get slashcode to actually autosubmit the stories, since our coders are lazy, so we needed some cheap labor to do it. The cheapest we could find was redditors. So essentially we pay them a (very small) salary to go on reddit all day long, taking small breaks to log into /.'s admin panel and randomly approve stories. We are currently teaching very basic english to a group of illegal Mexicans. As soon as they are at the level of our current editors (that is, speaking a grand total of 25 words), we'll replace them, and you'll immediately see a noticeable improvement in the quality of our stories.

        So, redditors, sorry for the inconvenience. We just asked our redditors to correct the mistake in our FAQ and change editors to redditors, but they flipped us the bird and went back to /r/gonewild. You'll just have to wait until we get our mexicans ready.

        Sincerely,
        Kenneth Langone
        CEO - Geeknet, Inc.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Why was this modded funny?

    • It looks like the mold for the exterior body panels was 3-D printed, not the actual body panels themselves?
    • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Sunday August 26, 2012 @07:09PM (#41132347) Homepage

      In honor of it being a slashdot car story, instead of providing the official slashdot car analogy, I'll provide the slashdot computer analogy to the story. "Its like 3-d printing a computer case, and then having the media report the entire computer was printed, circuit boards and all".

      Except the circuit board is a major functional component of a computer. What was printed was more like the decorative bezel on the front of the case... all the weight and stress bearing components being of more conventional manufacture.
       

      also the stereotype of 3-d printed stuff being weak seems to be finally going away....

      You may not realize it, but racers aren't street cars - racers have frames that carry all the weight/stress.thrust and roll cages that protect the driver. The shell is pretty much decorative.

    • by Dahamma (304068)

      And not only that, calling this a "race car" is kind of a joke, too. If you look at it, it's not much bigger than a Kart and definitely not as fast (some of those things can get up to 250+ km/h!)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      3d printed stuff _is_ weak. They took all the components that don't have to be strong and used a 3d printer for them.

    • the stereotype of 3-d printed stuff being weak seems to be finally going away....

      It's not a monocoque... this bodywork is just bolted onto a steel spaceframe. It's made from a polymer resin, so in some respects you could say 3D printing has caught up making things out of plastic, but there's not a great deal of load on these panels to stress it.

    • by tgd (2822)

      This is not to belittle the accomplishment... for 3-d printing that's a very large component to print, and also the stereotype of 3-d printed stuff being weak seems to be finally going away....

      Its okay to belittle it... only the marketing department at the company selling the printer would consider that much of a savings.

      Anyone who has built a car from the ground up will tell you the body is the easy part. And in a car that is a shell-over-space-frame, a non-critical part.

  • the article dances around it but it just sounds like the body shell was 3d printed, so when they say "most of it actually is" they really mean "the biggest part you see is"

    • Yeah, I'd argue most of the car wasn't 3-D printed at all, since they didn't print the engine, drive train, or tires. Whether or not the seat was printed is left up in the air.

      The fact that it's a tiny race car isn't particularly relevant - it's the size of the print job that's interesting. But really, it's no more impressive than if they'd 3-D printed a dining room table.

    • My rule: The bits that you could make out of wood or papier mache don't count when evaluating what proportion was 3d printed.

  • by sribe (304414) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @05:43PM (#41131891)

    Print me my goddamn flying car that I was promised, then I'll be impressed!

  • but what suburban American families need is a 6 passenger station wagon/minivan that goes 450 km on a single charge, at speeds ranging from 0 to 120 km/h.

    Using batteries that maintain their performance for 10 years (which is how durable modern IC engines are).

  • by tommituura (1346233) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @05:53PM (#41131945)
    Very soon now, I WILL download a car!
  • Any crashtest results at 140kph?

    • by rbrausse (1319883)

      afaik no one crash-tests vehicles at 140 km/h [at least under defined conditions, real-world crash"tests" are a different topic...]

  • Anyone know why this design decision was made? Is it because the area in front of the console is the only place tall enough to place shocks and springs, while still having room for the drivers legs?
  • the efforts of a 16-person team called "Group T"

    Actually Group T is the name of an engineering division of KU Leuven (T=technical). This makes it sound like they made up some team name.

  • by labnet (457441) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @06:54PM (#41132267)

    Team Photo: 1 Female... 21 Males. Don't girls like composite engineering?

    • by kootsoop (809311)
      My sister is a lecturer (professor) in composite materials in Australia. Yes, they do!
    • by mehshoe (2713343)
      21 to 1 ratio might be normal for automotive engineers...In my Industry (open wheel motorsport) the ratio is more like 300 to 1. I don't have any links to any data, I've just worked in racing for a decade and have only met two female race engineers.
    • by mehshoe (2713343)
      Also, most students involved in this competition are in the Mechanical Engineering course. Maybe a few EE's mixed in (especially since it is electrical powered. Alot of the Composite people lean towards the solar powered car cometition.
  • This is another bogus slashdot article - Anyone examining the photos can clearly see the existance of Dozer contruction towers! Disproving the 3d printed construction of the car body... And the picture of the team clearly shows an individual (at the front) sitting cross legged on a Fraggle!
  • I just wish the smelting furnace wasn't sold separately. Combine the two, and it's off to the races.

  • ...yeah, but I'd copy their model files and 3D print my own.

  • by jason777 (557591)
    You wouldnt download a car would you?
    Fuck yeah I would!
  • The blurb is full of inaccuracies. I actually live in the city where this car was created (Leuven - Belgium). "Group T" is a college, not a team.

    "Materialise" is not a program, but a company. I can look at their offices from where I work.

  • Topping out at 87.6133 MPH that's almost enough to make cheap time machines.

  • by necro81 (917438) on Monday August 27, 2012 @08:55AM (#41135769) Journal
    The title and summary are misleading to the point of fraud. Here is a (not comprehensive) list of things that they didn't print:

    The frame (welded tubular steel, just like every other car in the competition)
    The wheels and tires
    The suspension, linkages, and steering
    The batteries
    The electric motor
    The cooling system
    The electronics and controls
    The driver

    What they did use 3D printing for was for the body panels, and probably some complex-shaped internal parts they didn't bother to highlight. But Formula teams have been using 3D-printing for various components (yes, even body panels) for upwards of a decade. Hats off to the team itself - nice car! And a nice big "give me a fucking break" to the submitter, editors, and Materialise PR.
  • I live in Leuven, Belgium, where Group T is based, and they were showing off this car yesterday on the street. I didn't stop to look more closely since I've seen similar cars before, but I did wonder how the hell they made the patterned nose cone. It looked to me like it was injection molded, which seemed odd since a mold that big would be insanely expensive. Now I know better!

  • Hell yes I would!

    Also remember when I said I wanted to 3D print a car's body panels and the responses ranged from "that's probably not a good idea" to "you're an idiot, 3D printing fanboy!" Well I am now engaging my smugface.

  • the driver as well. Which would basically mean they could print out a robot with a sufficiently strong computing unit inside. (Which would again mean I could print out my next laptop without UEFI built-in, yeah!).

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