3D printers really seem to be able to do anything. Earlier on this year, a Chinese company managed to 3D print an entire house in just 24 hours. Now, during the International Manufacturing Technology Show 2014 in Chicago, an Arizona-based company called Local Motors managed to top up the wow effect, by creating a working car in 44 hours.
The car, Strati, costed 18,000 dollars to produce and it’s an ecologically approached vehicle as well: the vehicle uses battery-power to speed up. It has a battery range of between 120 and 150 miles. In addition, while regular cars use 20,000 components, Strati only uses 40 parts. However, it’s not a fast car, as Strati has a top speed of only 40 miles per hour.
For their newest model the Aventador, Lamborghini used a slightly different approach in their production process. This was a must because the Aventador needed to be lighter and faster than any previous model but still within the budget. In comes 3D printing.
With success they made the Aventador 9 percent more powerful, 20 percent more fuel efficient and 6 percent lighter than the previous generation Murciélago. The Lamborghini Lab at the University of Washington partnered with Lamborghini to provide detailed design, quality control, process improvement and mechanical testing. Many physical prototypes were required to validate assembly fit, verify efficient load paths, and identify and correct issues that were invisible on the computer screen.
“We had to get the design right the first time because the tooling used to produce just the monocoque cost several million dollars,” said Paolo Feraboli, professor of aircraft materials and structures at the University of Washington and director of the Lamborghini Lab. “We were interested to see if there was a rapid prototyping method that could produce parts tough enough to withstand the stresses of assembly and handling,” Feraboli said. “We were also interested in building rapid tooling for laying up smaller parts, which requires mechanical strength plus high temperature performance.”
To save costs in this very expensive process they turned to their two Stratasys machines, a Fortus 3D Production System and a Dimension 3D printer. To give you a clear image of what cost reduction this decision brought, check out the next table.
If you’re interested in a more thorough explanation of the role of these 3D printers in the making of the Aventador, make sure to read the full story on the Stratasys website.