First 3D-Printed Car Hits The Road

November 3, 2010 | Source: Treehugger


The Urbee — an electric/liquid-fuel hybrid that will get the equivalent of over 200 mpg on the highway and 100 MPG in the city — is the first prototype car ever to have its entire body 3D printed, according to a Stratasys press release.

All exterior components — including the glass panel prototypes — were created using Dimension 3D Printers and Fortus 3D Production Systems, using fused deposition modeling (FDM), an additive rapid prototyping process in which a plastic filament is liquefied and extruded to form layers of a model.

The implications for building prototypes are obvious; you go straight from computer to finished part in a lot less time. But imagine a few years down the road, when everyone might order up the car body of their choice from a catalogue and just bolt it on a standard chassis. Ding the side? Just print up a replacement.