Kor Ecologic Urbee 2 car will move from 3-D printer to road

Feb 28, 2013 by Nancy Owano report

(Phys.org)—Let's put it simply. An engineer named Jim Kor is printing, as in building, a car. The Winnipeg, Manitoba, car visionary is responsible for the Urbee 2, being readied for the road, intended eventually as an about-town car, with three wheels, and built for two passengers. It looks like a big, shiny red bug cruising down the road. Interest grows in its means of production and implications for car manufacturing in the future.

If printing cars develop, conventional might operate aside very small "cottage" plants deploying lights-out manufacturing. Kor's company, Kor Ecologic, is responsible for the Urbee 2, described as strong as steel yet lightweight. (The motto for the company is "Reasonable Design.")

By using 3-D printing, there is a special focus on lightness but strength; he is creating large pieces with varied thicknesses. The Urbee's car body will be assembled from about 50 separate parts. The team's practice is to take small part from a big car and make them into single large pieces. The less pieces, the less car weight. The lighter the car, the more . The less spaces between parts and the Urbee becomes the more aerodynamic. The teardrop-shaped car has a curb weight of 1,200 pounds. The bumper, which is made in two pieces, required 300 hours to finish. The entire car takes about 2,500 hours.

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The to make the car is called Fused Deposition Modeling. (FDM), where one lays down thin layers (0.04 mm) of melted plastic filament. The FDM approach enables tight control by the designer, who is able to add thickness and rigidity to special sections. (Kor likes to compare the fender of a future Urbee with a bird bone. As shown in a cross section of a bird bone, he said there is bone only where the bird needs strength, and the FDM process can replicate a bird bone.) Kor has been printing the body pieces at RedEye, a business unit of Stratasys, which uses 3-D printers to produce on-demand parts and prototypes.

Kor Ecologic has drawn up specific design ideals that are applied to the Urbee car project..A few of them are highlighted here. "Use the least amount of energy possible for every kilometer traveled. Cause as little pollution as possible during manufacturing, operation and recycling of the car. Use materials available as close as possible to where the car is built. Use materials that can be recycled again and again…. Be simple to understand, build, and repair. Be as safe as possible to drive. Be affordable."

Kor does not have a high-priced toy in mind but rather an economy car. He has received orders for 14 cars. Most of the orders are from those involved in designing the car. Kor is presently planning to make one and to drive it, when it is ready, with a partner, from San Francisco to New York City. They hope to do it on ten gallons of gas; Kor would prefer to use pure ethanol. They will try to prove without argument that they did the drive with existing traffic.

Explore further: Workers discover fire debris in wall cavity of Thomas Jefferson's rotunda

More information: www.stratasys.com/Resources/Ca… e-Studies/Urbee.aspx
www.urbee.net/home/

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VendicarE
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 28, 2013
Most excellent.
Parsec
3.2 / 5 (5) Feb 28, 2013
2500 hrs per car works out to something like 14.88 weeks of full time use of a very large and very expensive device to create a single car, or about 3 per year. Since nothing I have ever heard of operates day in and day out without some down time for maintenance, the build times will be even longer.

3D printing is great for prototyping but just abysmal for production. Really bad.
OckhamsRazor
5 / 5 (4) Feb 28, 2013
3D printing is great for prototyping but just abysmal for production. Really bad.


At the moment. I'm sure there is ample room for improvement, though.
Dug
2 / 5 (4) Feb 28, 2013
Parsec is spot on. One more article hyping the 3-D printing investment bubble. Several articles lately on how the bubble is deflating as people finally begin to realize the finite limits of the process, materials and economics - which are truly abysmal except for as said "prototyping" and... injection molds. Printing a few plastic body parts isn't exactly printing a functional car requiring several dozen if not hundreds of different materials - remember each material requires a different print head and some require completely different processes for printing.
Neinsense99
2.6 / 5 (5) Mar 01, 2013
Some components would benefit from 3-D printing much more than others, so no all parts will be made with that method. It's a logical fallacy to dismiss all benefits simply because all problems are not solved to perfection.
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Mar 01, 2013
2500 hrs per car works out to something like 14.88 weeks of full time use of a very large and very expensive device to create a single car, or about 3 per year.

Since you can build many parts in parallel in a 3D printer this does allow for good economy of scale.

Current 3D printers only use one print head. That, too can be scaled easily by using either an entire row (or even an entire matrix) of print heads. Just by using a 10x10 matrix of print heads you drop the manufacturing time by a factor of (nearly) 100.

The thing that isn't stressed enough here is the variability you can give each part of the bodywork.
While old fashioned car manufacturers take sheet metal/plastics of defined sizes/thicknesses and then have to artificially cut and strengthen them with struts in certain places for safty/structural stability - with 3D printnig you can add material easily where it's needed. Just like plants/bones grow thicker where forces are greater.
hcnap
5 / 5 (1) Mar 01, 2013
3D printing is still in the early stages of development. It has very bright future
VendicarE
not rated yet Mar 01, 2013
"Kor is presently planning to make one car and to drive it, when it is ready, with a partner, from San Francisco to New York City. They hope to do it on ten gallons of gas;" - article

Parsec is light years away from the real importance of the article.

Read more at: http://phys.org/n...html#jCp
"3D printing is great for prototyping but just abysmal for production." - Parsec
flashgordon
not rated yet Mar 01, 2013
Just have a whole bunch of 3d printers making the same car at the same time.
Grallen
not rated yet Mar 01, 2013
If this went to mass manufacture the printer would be designed to make the car. It would probably reduce print time to less than a day.
Shakescene21
not rated yet Mar 01, 2013
If you read the original article you'll learn that only the plastic body panels were made by 3D Printing. The rest of the car -- wheels, chassis, seats, instruments, lights, motor, etc. was not 3D-printed.
Also, the 2500 hours of time to develop the prototype was a one-time-only event. Now that the prototype dimensions are on file, regular production should take only a fraction of the time.
jimbo92107
not rated yet Mar 04, 2013
From the crack of light in the door to the bouncy back wheel I gather the prototype isn't much of a car. However, 3D printing is very early in the game. As the materials for printing get better, I expect to see this tech incorporated into lots of stuff, including automotive.