3D-printed supercar can be built like Lego

25 Jun 2015

Image of the Blade via DM

Divergent Microfactories (DM) has developed a car that promises to be as fast, if not faster, than many on the market, but by being 3D-printed create one-third less carbon emissions than normal for the assembly of an electric vehicle (EV).

The company’s model differs greatly from that of other 3D-printed cars that have been showcased before by taking the seemingly obvious approach of building it in ‘nodes’ – individual sections like Lego bricks – rather than printing an entire car in one sitting.

Each node is a 3D-printed aluminium joint that connects pieces of carbon fibre tubing to make up the car’s chassis.

DM claims that in addition to dramatically reducing materials and energy use, the weight of a node-enabled chassis is up to 90pc lighter than traditional cars, but with more sturdiness than the average car.

Aside from looking exactly as you imagine a supercar to look, DM says the Blade is also rather quick, with acceleration of 0-100kph in just 2.2 seconds, which is helped by the fact it weighs less than a ton.

Equally impressive is the engine that powers the Blade: a 700hp bi-fuel engine that is powered by either compressed natural gas or gasoline, which DM says means it produces three times less carbon emissions during the car’s production and one-fiftieth of the production costs.

And all of this can be put together by a semi-skilled team in as little as 30 minutes with the 70 nodes DM can produce for the Blade, which is expected to be given a limited production of 10,000 in its initial launch.

But according to 3DPrint.com, DM and its CEO Kevin Czinger have not ruled out allowing anyone with a capable 3D printer to create their own Blade.

“Society has made great strides in its awareness and adoption of cleaner and greener cars,” Czinger said during a recent conference. “The problem is that while these cars do now exist, the actual manufacturing of them is anything but environmentally friendly.

“We’ve developed a sustainable path forward for the car industry that we believe will result in a renaissance in car manufacturing, with innovative, eco-friendly cars like Blade being designed and built in microfactories around the world.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic