Published on May 7th, 2013 | by Andrew Krasniak
3D Printed Car Nearing Production
Created almost entirely out of plastic, the Urbee 2 is the brainchild of engineer Jim Kor. Nearly every part of the Urbee’s body is created using a type of 3D printing known as form deposit modeling (FDM) where microscopic layers of liquid plastic are sprayed upon each other until—after several hundred hours—the part takes shape. By creating parts like the bumper and body panels using FDM, engineers are able to precisely control the thickness of these parts and make areas that receive the most stress thicker while leaving the rest of the part thin and lightweight.
While the Urbee isn’t made completely of plastic—the engine, chassis, and roll cage are all made of metal—nearly every other component is, making it extremely lightweight and fuel efficient. At speeds under 40 miles per hour, the Urbee is powered by a 36-volt electric motor. At highway speeds, a diesel engine kicks in to power the Urbee along.
As a three-wheeled vehicle with a low curb weight, the Urbee will likely be classified as a motorcycle in most of the U.S. However, Jim Kor and the rest of the team behind the Urbee intend to outfit it with many of the safety features and conveniences found in production vehicles. While there’s no official word on pricing or availability, the Urbee 2 prototype cost around $50,000 to produce and still has to undergo rigorous DOT safety testing before it can go into production.
Video: Urbee Promo