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3-D Printed Car Nears Production 93

An anonymous reader writes "An article at Wired shows just how close we are to a 3-D printed car. Jim Kor's 'Urbee 2' design is a lightweight teardrop shape with three wheels. The engine, chassis, and wheels aren't printed, of course, but much of the car is formed layer-by-layer out of ABS plastic. It takes about 2,500 hours of printer time to create the whole thing. Assembly is easier, though, since many different parts can be consolidated into just a few. 'To negotiate the inevitable obstacles presented by a potentially incredulous NHSTA and DOT, the answer is easy. "In many states and many countries, Urbee will be technically registered as a motorcycle," Kor says. It makes sense. With three wheels and a curb weight of less than 1,200 pounds, it's more motorcycle than passenger car. No matter what, the bumpers will be just as strong as their sheet-metal equivalents. "We're planning on making a matrix that will be stronger than FDM," says Kor. He admits that yes, "There is a danger in breaking one piece and have to recreate the whole thing." The safety decisions that'll determine the car's construction lie ahead. Kor and his team have been tweaking the safety by using crash simulation software, but the full spectrum of testing will have to wait for an influx of investment cash.'"
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3-D Printed Car Nears Production

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  • by waddgodd ( 34934 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @09:31AM (#43033377) Homepage Journal

    The (non-existent yet) engine is supposed to be a 10 HP Diesel, but "the head engineer is planning to take the latest prototype from San Francisco to New York on 10 gallons of gas, preferably pure ethanol" (FTFA). Diesel-cycle engines work better on esters rather than alcohols. Even assuming that you could keep a diesel-cycle engine happy with ethanol (which is an open question), the modifications required to make it work will basically make it useless for the standard diesel you find at truck stops. Had the engineer said that he planned to go SFO->NYC on 10 gallons of fuel, preferably biodiesel (which has more in common with cooking oil than liquor), I'd have more confidence that the engineer knew a hawk from a handsaw.

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @10:21AM (#43033825)

    Covering the front wheels like that is a bad move, SAAB taught the world that long ago. They had to flare out the wheel arches to deal with it when they built the Ursaab prototype.

    Snow will build up between the wheels and the body, the driver will not notice this until he tries to turn and the car continues in a straight line. []

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay