Dutch students of the Zuyd University of Applied Sciences are building a 3D printed eco-car to enter in the 2014 Shell Eco-marathon this May.
The Shell Eco-marathon is an annual competition that aims to challenge student teams to design, develop, build, and ultimately test their “ultra-efficient cars.” While Zuyd University has participated five times before, this is the first time they will be using 3D printing technology to aid in the production process.
Using a desktop 3D printer, they are making the car’s parts such as the dashboard, steering wheel, mirrors, and handles. They will also be using 3D printed molds to make the carbon parts for the body of the car. The students have programmed each printer to print their specific designs, which will be printed in layers.
“The main goal is to make a car that is as sustainable as possible, and the energy consumption must be as low as possible,” says Professor Rob van Loevezijn of Zuyd University’s Faculty of Beta Sciences and Technology.
3D printing is used because this technology is budget friendly, as well as environmentally friendly. The PLA plastics that are used to print are biodegradable.
Ultimaker is the proud supporter behind the Zuyd team, supplying them with ten Ultimaker Original 3D printers to make the printing process as quick and efficient as possible.
Kenny Stinges, a 23-year-old engineering student, adds that the reason they chose 3D printing was because the team had heard that 3D printing could be an economical way to make unique car parts. He also adds that he suspects the 3D printing will save not only time, but money as well. Making the molds with a 3D printer is a lot faster than creating the traditional wood molds.
Shell has chosen the 3D project of the Zuyd University to be the Eco-marathon’s “top story” this year. The marathon will take place in Rotterdam, between May 15 and 18th.