The Blade: the world's first 3D-printed supercar

The Blade: the world's first 3D-printed supercar

    The Blade is a light yet powerful supercar that comes not from an assembly line, but out of a 3D printer.

The Blade is the world's first 3D-printed supercar.

Its chassis is created from a system of 3D-printed nodes, each connected by carbon fibre tubes. Remove the heavy base and you have an advanced auto that tips the scale at just 635 kilograms.

That's 90 per cent lighter than your average rear-wheel-drive sedan. Add a 700-horsepower (522kW) engine, and you have the world's fastest 3D-printed sports car, accelerating from 0-100kmh in 2.2

seconds. That's faster than any Ferrari or Lamborghini currently in production.

More than just powerful, it's fundamentally eco-safe. The Blade, created by San Francisco's Divergent Microfactories, was born out of a need to protect the environment. Its lack of weight not only

makes it fast but also lowers fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

While the Blade addresses these factors, the team is also concerned about production. "How we make cars is actually a much bigger problem than how we fuel our cars," explains founder and CEO Kevin

Czinger. Contrary to popular belief, the "clean" cars currently on the market are "anything but environmentally friendly", he says in reference to the actual manufacturing process.

Before even driving out of the showroom, today's most fuel-efficient cars have already stamped a large carbon footprint. The Blade's 3D printed additives mean less waste, resulting in more

environmentally friendly and energy efficient vehicles.

Combined with its short assembly process – a single hour – the prototype is as eco-safe in the factory as it is on the streets.

With its striking curves, low-slung sleekness and giant nostrils, Czinger explains the idea behind the strategic design approach. "We focused a lot on the aesthetics of this car because it is very

important to capture people's imaginations, especially when we are talking about the core enabling technologies," he says

The Blade offers an integrated duel-fuel tank that gives drivers the option between petrol and compressed natural gas.

Yet dubbing the prototype 'the first eco-warrior on the roads' may be as oxymoronic as it is untrue. The car's green streak may solidify its environmentally-conscious ethos, but it's not the first

to toot such values.

The Blade is the result of many auto innovations before it. Well acquainted with its predecessor, the electric car, Czinger spent many years contributing to the research and development of the

renewable energy concept.

Working with a plan "to dematerialise and democratise car manufacturing", he and his Silicon Valley team hope the 3D production method will eventually be accessible to smaller innovators.

Czinger's standardised chassis makes large-scale auto manufacturing cost effective. It's just 1/50th of the factory capital costs of traditionally-made cars.

The same parts can be used to build sports cars, trucks, and even mini-vans. And with a short assembly process that can be likened to building a childhood Lego set, the Blade is not just

sustainable, but simple to create.

Championing a cleaner way forward, Divergent Microfactories believe the future of the automotive industry lies with 3D printing technology.

The 3D Blade's lower costs, lighter framework and undeniable strength make a strong argument to proclaim it the 21st century's most ethically-focused car.

It's already revolutionising the aeronautics industry. NASA is on the cusp of launching their first 3D-enabled turbo rocket engine into space.

The technology opens up possibilities for supercars of the not-too-distant future, proving they can exist without needing to be resource-guzzling dinosaurs of the road.

Link: http://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/news/74890865/the-blade-the-worlds-first-3dprinted-supercar


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