27th February 2013
Picture an assembly line not that isn’t made up of robotic arms spewing sparks to weld heavy steel, but a warehouse of plastic-spraying printers producing light, cheap and highly efficient automobiles.
And nary a Union worker in sight. Nirvana. Cheap Nirvana.
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 printer sprays molten polymer to build the chassis layer by microscopic layer until it arrives at the complete object. The machines are so automated that the building process they perform is known as “lights out” construction, meaning Kor uploads the design for a bumper, walk away, shut off the lights and leaves. A few hundred hours later, he’s got a bumper. The whole car – which is about 10 feet long – takes about 2,500 hours.