By Beth Stackpole – KOR EcoLogic’s hybrid vehicle stands out from the pack for reasons other than its futuristic tear-drop shape or promise to get up to 200 mpg on a hybrid electric/gasoline engine. The Urbee blazes new ground in that it’s the first automobile prototype with a body produced solely using a 3-D printer.
Autodesk’s Inventor CAD software and other digital prototyping tools are the starting point for the design process. once the team was confident with the shape and aerodynamic drag, it was ready to build a physical prototype. It’s at this stage that technology really steals the show. Rather than using conventional forming technologies to create a prototype, KOR EcoLogic, in partnership with Stratasys, decided to produce the body panels for the prototype using Stratasys’ fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3-D printing process, which creates plastic parts by applying thermoplastics in layers from the bottom up. With this method, the Urbee team eliminates having to create any tooling or machining, and approach improves flexibility when a design change is required. more> http://tinyurl.com/4zjpojj