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Divergent 3D seeks to radically ‘dematerialize’ auto manufacturing with 3D-printing & microfactories – Treehugger

by • January 18, 2016 • No Comments

The company’s Blade, the world’s initially 3D-printed supercar, has 1/3 the emissions of an electric car, needs 1/50 of the factory capital cost, and has twice the power-to-weight ratio of a Bugatti Veyron.
The former CEO and co-founder of Coda Automotive, Kevin Czinger, believes his new venture, Divergent 3D, has the ability to “revolutionize” auto making, by ‘dematerializing’ and democratizing the process, which may radically minimize not only the amount of pollution directly related to making, but in addition reduce the cost and amount of materials needed for equite vehicle.
According to one of the authors of a study of the hidden costs of energy, the discussion of which kind of car is cleanest isn’t as easy as it seems, and tends to gloss over one big factor, namely the effects not directly related to operating it:
“Whether we are talking of a conventional gasoline-powered automobile, an electric vehicle, or a hybrid, most of the injures are in fact coming of stages other than only the driving of the vehicle.” – Maureen Cropper, professor of economics at the University of Maryland.
Auto making, and hence vehicles themselves, may be getting a bit cleaner overall, thanks to incremental improvements in donate chain management, plant operations efficiency, zero-landfill initiatives, the adoption of renewable energy sources, carbon offsets, yadda yadda yadda… And vehicles may be getting cleaner as well thanks to this same incremental process, through such improvements as increasing the efficiency of gas engines, reducing tailpipe emissions, lightening the weight of vehicles, and adding a hybrid electric drive component to (mostly) conventional vehicles.
The future big step in cleaning up vehicles seems to be coming of the sector of fully-electric vehicles (EVs), as they unquestionably avoid tailpipe emissions, alyet they are yet predominantly reliant on fossil fuels for electricity generation (depending on where and when the electricity is produced), and EVs do need a significant amount of resources and energy for making. Hybrids with higher fully-electric range may have the future to reduce local tailpipe emissions, but with the introduced complicatedity (and related environmental footprint) of having to engineer, source, turn it into, and repair two drive processs. And unfortunately, it seems which until battery innovation hits the sweet spot for ability, cost, and weight, the weight adoption of true EVs and high-range hybrids does not seem most likely.
But there’s another solution in the works of Divergent 3D, which uses aluminum 3D printing and carbon fiber to reimagine the making of vehicles of the within out.
“Most folks are unaware only how much environmental injure occurs as a outcome of auto making and its devastating impact on our health and nature around us. We are here to alter which. We’ve made a platform which stands to revolutionize auto making as we understand it.” – Kevin Czinger, founder & CEO, Divergent Microfactories
To feature Divergent 3D’s approach to making, the company utilized its innovation to turn it into Blade, which is mentioned as the world’s initially 3D-printed supercar, and its frame is based on a one-of-a-kind ‘Node’ turn it intoing block process which radically dematerializes the vehicle. In fact, its entire frame can fit into a dufflebag:

According to Divergent 3D, Blade has 1/3 of the emissions of an electric car, needs 1/50 the factory capital cost, twice the power-to-weight ratio of a Bugatti Veyron, weighs only 1,500 lb (contrasting the 4,700 lb of a Tesla Model S), and has only 50% of the lifecycle emissions of a standard car. It’s powered by a (relatively) tiny 4-cylinder engine running on gasoline and compressed effortless gas, which delivers a few 700 hp and propels the Blade of 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds, thanks to the car’s amazingly light platform.

Of course, the Blade, rad as it is, isn’t the company’s true product, which is instead the making innovation itself. By via the 3D-printing technique for the aluminum nodes in addition to the use of carbon fiber tubes to join them, Divergent 3D claims it is actually possible for car developers to drastically reduce tooling and making costs, as well as cut development time and capital investment “by a factor of 20-50x relative to traditional methods,” while in addition bringing lighter-weight (and hence additional efficient) vehicles. These 3D Microfactories, which are said to cost of $4 million (compared to the hundreds of millions for a traditional car plant) may allow for a lot additional diversity in auto making by lowering the financial bar to entry for startups and tiny-batch car manufacturers.
“The key enabling innovation we’ve created is what we call a Node. A Node is a 3D-printed alloy connector which joins aerospace-grade carbon fiber tubing into standardized turn it intoing objects. This easy tool can enable a tiny team to create and turn it into car chassis which range of two-seat sports cars to pick-up trucks. Just like with ARDUINO, the Node hides its underlying complicatedity behind a easy, easy-to-use interface.” – Kevin Czinger
Google’s Solve for X community thinks Divergent 3D is on to a fewthing great, and has awarded it “Moonshot” status (the initially and only vehicle developer on the Moonshot list), not only for its vehicle making implications, but for dematerializing other making processes as well.
“Divergent’s innovation, yet initially applied to car, has broad-requiteing implications for most types of making. Industrial durablity complicated structures are ubiquitous in modern making, of trucks to ocean ships to airplanes. Any industry which needs a light, sturdy, and rigid structure can benefit of our innovation. Divergent aims to manufacture making lighter and additional nimble, and ease the burden on our planet.”
And like so most software-based processes, it is actually possible to manufacture alters in vehicle production by changing the software, enabling for a much additional flexible making operation, so which “the same machine can print both a sports car and a minivan.” According to this piece of Mark Harris, Czinger says his company’s process turn it intos structures which “can be quite rapidly assembled in a modular way to turn it into anything of a two-seater to a pick-up truck… and do it at fraction of the capital cost of what complex metal tooling and stamping need.”
I’m not an auto making tremendous, and I’ve never actually played one on TV, so I’ll let the lifecycle analysis tremendouss argue it out in the comments, but if you are interested in learning additional of the environmental effects of Divergent’s alternative making process, there is a series of posts of it on its website.

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