Is it possible to print a 3D car?
Not yet, but European researchers have manufactured in resin a half size mock-up of the exterior of a model with the help of hybrid technology, half 3D printer - half robot.
Just how is it possible, and what are the marketing applications?
Mechanical engineer José Antonio Dieste, a key developer of the technology, explains:
"The mock-up is exactly half the size of a real car. You can see all the details of the style of the vehicle and its concept. This has been possible thanks to this technology where we mix a 3D printer, we add material and also a system where we extract material that allows us to work the final shapes.
This mock-up can be used to showcase the style of the car, its design. It is a marketing tool to promote the car. And at the same time, the mock-up showcases the possibilities that our system has.
We wanted our platform to be able to manufacture very big components. So our system mixes 3D printing with a robot that allows the carving of material.
There are several 3D printing systems nowadays. But they can only manufacture small pieces. Our main challenge was to be able to make big pieces.
So we developed a system that is able to add a lot of material, over a long duration - very quickly. Compared to some other systems, we up to 2,000 times faster.
But the problem is the final definition of the piece that we are building is not always optimal.
That's why we need to add a second treatment, carving out material, to get accurate final geometries of the piece that we want to make".