3D Printed Car Urbee 2 Announced: Light, Aerodynamic, and Custom Made
Last June, we featured Urbee, the first 3D printed car. Optimized for renewable energy, this novel design promises 200 miles per gallon. Details about the next generation design, called Urbee 2, are now coming to light as the car nears production.
It has a metal chassis but a plastic frame, 3 wheels and weighs only 1,200 pounds. And nearly everything is made through 3D printing.
Jim Kor, head of Kor Ecologic, talks about the process of designing the Urbee series in the video below.
In an interview with Kor, Wired also shares new details about the new 3D printed car.
“We thought long and hard about doing a second one,” [Kor] says of the Urbee. “It’s been the right move.”
Kor and his team built the three-wheel, two-passenger vehicle at RedEye, an on-demand 3-D printing facility. The printers he uses create ABS plastic via Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). The whole car – which is about 10 feet long – takes about 2,500 hours [to produce].
Besides easy reproduction, making the car body via FDM affords Kor the precise control that would be impossible with sheet metal. The current model has a curb weight of just 1,200 pounds.
Kor used the design freedom of 3D printing to combine a typical car’s multitude of parts into simple unibody shapes. For example, when he prints the car’s dashboard, he’ll make it with the ducts already attached without the need for joints and connecting parts. What would be dozens of pieces of plastic and metal end up being one piece of 3D printed plastic.
“The thesis we’re following is to take small parts from a big car and make them single large pieces,” Kor says. By using one piece instead of many, the car loses weight and gets reduced rolling resistance, and with fewer spaces between parts, the Urbee ends up being exceptionally aerodynamic.” How aerodynamic? The Urbee 2′s teardrop shape gives it just a 0.15 coefficient of drag.
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