I actually did a story on the Urbee a while back and to my knowledge, it was (at that point) the first vehicle to use 3D printing to produce not just individual components, but the bulk of the vehicle body. My understanding was that KOR Logic was just leveraging 3D printing for the efficient production of prototypes, not production vehicles. I don't think the technology is there yet.
Beth, I think you hit the nail on the head. The real value of additive manufacturing lies in its potential for customization. This is of obvious use in medical and dental applications, where prostheses can be custom made for the recipient's body. But I was less impressed by the 1/6 scale model car. Is this really the first model car made using a 3D printer? Am I missing something?
Also - and more importantly - is Urbee's plan to use 3D printing to make body panels for the production vehicle? There are big differences in material properties between FRP and ABS. ABS does not have anywhere near the strength and stiffness of FRP. I would be very concerned about the safety of this vehicle if the plan is really to use ABS in production.
Informative piece that really gives you a sense of the range of what additive manufacturing is capable of. I think Doug's reporting around how additive manufacturing advances are going to facilitate mass customization is really the crux of why this technology has so much potential and why there's so much interest across sectors and particularly in the medical and dental care markets. Being able to cost-effectively produce hearing aids and dental implants that are customized to the individual patient will go a long way in making devices that have been too expensive or too uncomfortable to wear part of patients' daily care.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.