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Aerospace experience imprinted on automakers

Only a few years ago, we started printing at home, soon we can print objects
Only a few years ago, we started printing at home, soon we can print objects

Remember the commercial “When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen”? Self-confidence puts clout behind whatever is meant to be brought forward.

That adage came to mind when learning that EDAG is already ‘printing’ complete automobiles; the car is on display at the Geneva auto show since early March. (see also the article on 3-D printing of 2014 02 28)

The French - German aerospace design and development firm counts Airbus among its customers; One could liken EDAG to an industrial production Think Tank. Its people invent and develop not only products, but also the systems and manufacturing processes connected with that product.

As the world gets closer to the reality of alternative transportation, all industries need to take up different thinking, different energy, different design, different material and different production methods, and automakers are “getting it” and getting into it.

We reported that the design & prototype firm Local Motors in Arizona is also working with renowned partners on developing the process and the industry of 3-D printing.

EDAG now has Audi, BMW, Daimler, Hyundai, Opel, Porsche and other carmakers as development partners for its ‘light car’ project; Light, as in weight AND ‘viewing’.

Alternative transportation, no matter when, and in what shape or method it will develop, will be interesting and exciting for those working with it and for those using it.

One of those exiting projects is ‘Production of the Future’, a repeat-exhibit at the 2014 auto show in Geneva, Switzerland, by EDAG; The multi-national firm will again show a car which they printed in three-dimensional form, this time the concept car Genesis.

The vision of future manufacturing eliminates the huge, noisy, costly metal presses, which stamp the parts that robots now weld together into an automobile or other product.

Instead, robots will ‘print’ almost any imaginable shape, in free space, layer by layer. Adding fibers of various types during the printing process will provide the necessary structural integrity. Any shape and property the designer intends his creation to have, can be accomplished in this future production process.

“The future will be friendly”; Indeed!

And ‘Design’ will be the driving force for the wheels of the future.

….more on this interesting topic from
More space ship than concept car, the EDAG Genesis sneaks a peek into the distant future of transportation--the sort of vehicle you're more likely to find on a utopian movie set than spinning around on an auto show turntable.
Part of EDAG's aim is to look into different ways of producing automotive structures, using high-tech procedures like selective laser sintering, selective laser melting, stereolithography, and fused deposition modelling. The latter is particularly intriguing, removing some of the common restrictions that determine the size and shape of individual panels. The technique is a little like 3D printing, using robots to apply layer upon layer of thermoplastic substances in an open space. Carbon fibers applied through the layering process would give the material its strength.
Techniques such as this have given the Genesis its unusual skeletal frame, based on the "bionic patterns of a turtle". The outer shell, just like that of a turtle, provides both protection and cushioning and is intrinsically part of the car's structure. Such shapes could not be built using conventional tools, which is where EDAG's various manufacturing methods come in. In EDAG's own words there's still a long way to go before such techniques can be used in industrial application (and perhaps even longer before they're used on spectacular hovering vehicles like the Genesis) but for the time being, it's given us a concept vehicle in the truest sense of the term.

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