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Transportation Canada Earth Idle

Car Produced With a 3D Printer 257

Lanxon writes "A prototype for an electric vehicle — code named Urbee — is the first to have its entire body built with a 3D printer, reports Wired. Stratasys and Winnipeg engineering group Kor Ecologic have partnered to create the electric/liquid fuel hybrid, which can deliver more than 200 miles per gallon on the motorway and 100 miles per gallon in the city."
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Car Produced With a 3D Printer

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  • by Zigurd ( 3528 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @10:21AM (#34100448) Homepage

    You wouldn't steal a car.

    But would you download one?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Pojut ( 1027544 )

      My body says "no", but my Demonoid account says "yes".

    • by deander2 ( 26173 ) *

      hell yea!

    • I'd love to download the plans for a Metallica-alloy vehicle.
    • I would, but the charge for exceeding the bandwidth caps imposed by the telco... It'd be cheaper to buy one.
    • by Tharsman ( 1364603 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @10:49AM (#34100692)

      You wouldn't steal a car.

      But would you download one?

      Because of this post alone, Canada will enact a car piracy tax on all 3D printers and 3D "ink" to cover the losses car manufacturers will suffer due to pirated printed cars.

      See what you have done!!!! Poor Canadians!!!!

      PS. Please do not note all the other things that can be pirated with a 3D Printer else they will include additional taxes for the toy, furniture, and decoration industries!!!

      • I'd gladly pay a couple of hundred quid on the cost of a 3D printer to cover the cost of being able to download any car I want.

        Wait, I'm expected to buy the car plans and parts as well? It's lynch-mob time.
      • Think of I mean the children of rich I mean the Chinese workers that build the parts far mean the environment.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cmiller173 ( 641510 )
      Oblig: Printcrime by Cory Coctorow - [] It's just a short story, but makes the point quite well.
      • by jimicus ( 737525 )

        I've already posted this as a thought experiment a couple of times, but I'll say it again for the shameless karma-whoring.

        Let's look 50 years into the future. The 3D printers we know today have moved on somewhat - someone's actually built a full-on 3D photocopier.

        Except this one's a little more sophisticated than modern technology.

        • Copies are practically indistinguishable from the original at an atomic level. This means that your copy looks the same, functions the same and has the same strengths and weakne
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by vadim_t ( 324782 )

          I think it would work pretty much like with normal printers. You can print books on your inkjet/laser but it's slow, expensive, and you get loose leaf out of it.

          So same for a 3D printer. It'll be slow, require materials to print with and have an inferior in quality. It will be really cool, even though it won't obsolete mass manufacturing.

    • Absolutely, present the .STL files and I'll download one right now.
    • You still have to procure the raw material, the parts which can't be made via direct manufacturing, and assemble the car.

    • by speroni ( 1258316 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @12:11PM (#34101814) Homepage

      I would if I could []

  • Looks very cool, just don't know what would happen during a high speed crash. Maybe it would bounce off the other cars and land safely in the distance?
    • You would be reduced to a meaty pulp mixed with shards of plastic and spread over the roadway. This would be difficult to clean up thoroughly so some of your remains would bake into the road where it would remain for many years.
      • You would be reduced to a meaty pulp mixed with shards of plastic and spread over the roadway.

        So, it's about as safe as an SUV then?

  • Maybe they have some nice new tech, but the 3D printers I have seen produce stuff that is not well finished. The resolution just is not near perfect, you can see and feel little bumps and ridges.

    And how have they scaled it up? You only do this stuff for prototype, not production due to cost.

    However, you can make "impossible" shapes. That can be pretty cool.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by natehoy ( 1608657 )

      You only do this stuff for prototype, not production due to cost.

      Umm, yeah, that's exactly what the article said they did. Built the prototype. Summary of the summary: "Prototype built using only prototyping machine." Other than the sanding and painting, of course.

      Nothing is said in the article about the actual production car if and when it ever gets past the prototype stage.

      I'm 100% certain they aren't going to be stupid enough to go to production using a prototyping machine. You're absolutely correct, though cost is not the only factor (speed would be one, and dur

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Plazmid ( 1132467 )
      Another attractive feature of additive manufacturing(3d printing refers to a specific additive manufacturing process) is that it's more efficient to additively manufacture exceptionally strong materials like TiAl6V4 and than it is to machine them. As exceptionally strong materials tend to be hard to machine, because they're exceptionally strong! In addition, making "impossible" shapes might be advantageous. Hollow impossible to make cellular truss structures can have around twice the specific strength and
      • Some of the high end additive manufacturing machines are incredible in capability, unfortunately they cost upwards of $500-700k. Out of the realm of most normal users, perfect for suppliers of low volume expensive good sthough.

  • by pezpunk ( 205653 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @10:28AM (#34100510) Homepage

    why does the picture in the article look like a still from a low rez video of a photograph of a badly-photoshopped computer rendering?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Follow the click trail, eventually you get here:

      Second image down.

    • by caller9 ( 764851 )
      Thats because it is one. [] Real picture of a 1/6 scale model according to the article, and they have an actual video of the prototype driving around without a body shell. The body appears to flip up with a seam around the driver area over the front wheel wells. Hinges on the front of the body? Or maybe hinges mid-body but that means you can't open it in your garage and some parking garages without scraping ceiling/garage do
    • LOL! Yes this is a fake picture. You can see the compression artifacts around the clipped art, and the rest of the picture is a completely different resolution and lighting.

      (That is a comment from the article itself, I do not claim credit where it is due.)

      Seems this individual is spot on: Photoshopped
      (but then that really begs the question, because it was printed does that mean it can get Photoshopped in real life []?)

  • by rossdee ( 243626 )

    How much do the printer cartridges cost (and how many would it take to print a car)??

    • Presumably, the printers will be sold at a discount which the manufacturers will make up for with the "ink", so expect the cartridge to be worth around 10x its weight in gold. The ink required to build a car will be about $1 million, if you print in black & white.
      • It would be amusing if the 3D printers actually had a reasonable pricing structure such that, when tolerances became fine enough, it would be cheaper to print out a plastic sheet with the "ink" actually embedded in the sheet. After all, if you need to be able to print out large physical objects at a reasonable cost then a thin sheet of plastic would have to be just a fraction of the price. Wouldn't that just ruin the day for all the companies that manufacture regular ink cartridges?

        And suddenly i'm remind
  • Safe? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chemicaldave ( 1776600 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @10:40AM (#34100638)

    The two-passenger hybrid aims to be fuel efficient, easy to repair, safe to drive and inexpensive to own.

    Nothing about that picture, from the low driver orientation to the tin-can size, exudes safety.

    Even the picture from their homepage [] looks horrible.

    • Every time I read one of these negative kinds of responses to these new, super-small, super-efficient vehicle alternatives about how unsafe they are going to be, I can't help but think that the poster is missing the point.

      Yes, compared to vehicles commonly available today, these will probably be structurally inferior.

      But these vehicles are for the future. In the future, probably the near future, many people are going to be choosing between going to work on foot or a bicycle, because they won't be able to a

    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      The home page for that project looks horrific. It looks like something dragged from the ass of a design student ten minutes before submission time. "oh shit oh shit I forgot to do my assignment last night - okay I'll compose myself here and fire up AutoCAD software - ok bezier curve, bezier curve, change texture, extrude, add wheels, submit, phew that was close, oh fuck I only added 3 wheels! Oh shit oh shit oh shit" I think they need to get themselves some better concept drawings.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Strangely, some people judge safety on actual collision tests instead of the size of a car. e.g. The Smart ForTwo is one of the smallest cars available, yet is also one of the safest.

  • I want one of those printers. I hear that I can order one from Yemen, but for some reason I'll have to pick it up at the local Synagogue.
  • So it's a 3D printer? Can it print a Klein bottle? If not, I'm not buying one.
  • by countertrolling ( 1585477 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @10:48AM (#34100686) Journal

    As a threat to interstate commerce? Kinda like telling the farmers they can't grow their own animal feed? If you think that self publishing artists are a threat to the industry, wait until you have everybody self replicating everything they need.

    • If you think that self publishing artists are a threat to the industry, wait until you have everybody self replicating everything they need.

      You still have the question of who owns the rights to copy the design. Not to mention who bears the legal responsibility if your replicated part fails.

      Required reading: Ralph Williams' Business as Usual. During Alterations []

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @10:50AM (#34100706) Homepage
    For those of you that don't know, Mythbusters did an episode not that long ago that confirmed that placing dimples in a car body will increase fuel effecieincy, just as it increases distance for a golfball. Here is an article that discusses it further. [] I always thought the car companies are morons for not following up on this idea. What, they think it looks ugly? At least build a test car with a dimpled sheetmetal body instead of using mythbuster's clay test.

    Now, some enterprising person could build a car body from scratch and truly verify if Adam and Jaime got it right.

    • ...or they could park their car on a driving range. Sounds much cheaper.
      • Or find you a good hailstorm.

        Wait, now my insurance company won't cover me because next hailstorm they'll claim my car was "improved" instead of "damaged". Crap.

    • For those of you that don't know, Mythbusters did an episode not that long ago that confirmed that placing dimples in a car body will increase fuel effecieincy, just as it increases distance for a golfball.

      Maybe they're afraid that if they get the dimples wrong the car will always slice to the left?

    • For those of you that don't know, Mythbusters did an episode not that long ago that confirmed that placing dimples in a car body will increase fuel effecieincy, just as it increases distance for a golfball. I always thought the car companies are morons for not following up on this idea.

      With a trivial amount of thought (I.E. during the time it takes to pick up my coffee cup and take a sip), I can come up with several reasons why they may not have followed it up. (I.E. I'd be careful throwing around the mor

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Shotgun ( 30919 )

      The dimples help by adding energy to the boundary layer when the airflow is transitioning from laminar to turbulent. The point is to keep the airflow from becoming detached. If you know what those terms mean, then go beat up your car in very specific areas to make it ugly as hell, and it will perform ever so slightly better under very constrained test conditions. Otherwise, it will just make the car ugly. For the most part though, cars don't travel fast enough to make boundary layer aerodynamics a signi

  • OK, so they're printing these bodies, right? Hence, they could have had at their disposal a vast array of CAD software, right? Hence, they could have easily come up with a half good design, right?

    But they clearly didn't. Why?

    If I were half as smart as these people seem to be, I'd present more and better pictures of the result and I would attempt to come up with something pleasing to the eye. There seem to be one or two images of this car on the Internet that indicate they are very insecure about the a
    • by haruchai ( 17472 )

      There's no accounting for taste, including yours.

      • There's no accounting for taste, including yours.

        Oh puh-lease! If anything, taste -not money- is the measure of fulfilment in life. After you achieved to secure your daily needs, after you have chased away your daemons, you strive for taste. Life without taste is like the eastern bloc as it was meant to be. Words like yours numb the souls.

        Do what you please, be successful, make loads of money and then dedicate life to beauty!

        Bored already? Look at beauty from the g[r]?eek's point of view. [] Shame Urbee apparently developers didn't bother.

  • It will be interesting to see what unions have to say about this innovation. Clay body knockers are union members and this would effectively eliminate many their jobs.

    • by jgc7 ( 910200 )
      The clay is primarily cut by a big 5-axis CNC machine. My guess is the printed plastic takes more sanding and smoothing, thus would require more union labor. Clay also has the advantage that is is easy add and remove, which is the whole point of using clay in the first place.
  • I'm looking forward to the time when thepiratebay will have the latest sports car for download.

    On a serious note, 3D printing could kill the physical product industry. Will there be DRM on car blueprints? Hm.

  • Consider the price of toner, wouldn't it be cheaper to buy a conventionally assembled car?
  • What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jiro ( 131519 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @11:42AM (#34101384)

    I'm reminded of the Slashdot article about the robot made out of Legos which solves a Rubik's Cube in 12 seconds. Of course, one of the components to this robot is a computer and the computer is not built out of Legos. This is no more a car produced with a 3D printer than that was a robot made out of Legos.

    But the the headline "Parts of Car which it is Possible for 3D Printers to Produce, Produced With a 3D Printer" doesn't have that same ring to it.

  • The image shown in TFA is fake. An exceptionally bad one btw., I'd do a much better job.
    The car shown further down the linktrail is a small model with a second class model paint job. It's photographed at an angle as to hide the fact. The model probably _is_ printed with a 3D printer and painted afterwards. I doubt one could print entire bodyparts of a car with rapid prototyping without running into serious size, stability and/or cost issues. Printing negative moulds for small parts, or the small parts thems

  • I'm tired in the EXTREME of "new" car designs being touted as "100mpg" or "200mpg" as if it were something remarkable or fantastic...then finding the car is basically a plastic shell on a tricycle frame. 3 wheels means the vehicle is licensed as a motorcycle, not a car, so the typical safety requirements don't count. It's EASY as hell to design and even build, a high mileage vehicle when you get to ignore all the things that are dragging down MPG on traditional cars...things like pollution control, crumpl

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