It seems like almost everyone and their mother has heard of 3D printing. Today, we have printed an unimaginable variety of objects using 3D printing technology – jewelry, staplers, even playable guitars! But why stop there?
That’s the question that drove engineer Jim Kor to the development of his newest project. With Urbee 2, one of the first 3D printed vehicles in development today, Kor hopes to expand that list to transportation. The Urbee 2 is made almost entirely of 3D-printed plastic parts. In fact, with the exception of the the engine and base chassis (which must be made of metal for safety and operational reasons) the entire car is going to be made of parts printed on a 3D printer. Like many cars produced today, the Urbee 2 is designed to be light, cheap, and very efficient. In addition, given the nature of its production, the Urbee 2 is relatively simple to manufacture and reproduce, taking only around 3 months to print and assemble.
According to Wired, the Urbee 2 “has a curb weight of just 1,200 pounds, which should give it an impressive miles-per-gallon performance.” The Urbee team’s head engineer estimates that the first finished prototype could quite possibly drive from San Francisco to New York on only 10 gallons of pure ethanol. Talk about fuel efficiency! Of course, there are drawbacks to the small car, namely that it is such a small car. With 3 wheels, this cozy two-seater is not exactly “Road Trip material,” but nonetheless it is an intriguing first step into the possibility of 3D-printed transportation.