Divergent were at CES 2017 this year displaying their impressive ‘Blade’ car and ‘Dagger’ motorcycle.
For those outside the 3D printing industry this was possibly the first chance they got to see these 3D printed vehicles. Certainly, the reaction from many was one of amazement.
Much has been made of the world’s first 3D printed supercar in the past year, and it was on display in two different forms. The car was present as a fully functioning prototype and also displayed was its 3D printed frame. Also appearing at the event was the 3D printed motorcycle, the Dagger, which was unveiled for the first time last November.
The purpose of 3D printed vehicles
The 3D printing technology behind the Blade and Dagger isn’t without purpose as Divergent are taking aim at the sustainability of car manufacturing. While they believe that cars being produced are becoming more and more sustainable, the process of manufacturing them is unchanging.
In order to address this, Divergent created the ‘Node’ technique which involves 3D printing aluminium nodes and combining them with 3D printed carbon fibre. This process has many advantages; the use of 3D printing in their factory helps to reduce emissions, the car produced is considerably lighter compared to orthodox manufacturing techniques, and there is less waste as the number of materials used is reduced.
Divergent and PSA Group
There are clearly benefits of using 3D printing in car manufacturing and we interviewed Kevin Czinger last September following announcement of their partnership with the PSA Group, the company that owns Peugeot and Citroën. At the time, CEO Kevin Czinger had this to say about the objective of the partnership:
…to commercialize our proprietary software-hardware platform by building full vehicles with PSA using our (3D metal printing enabled) modular vehicle structure. This has the potential to dramatically change the economics and product cycle speed of car design and manufacturing. For example, we believe we can reduce the vehicle structure weight of a standard five passenger vehicle by over 50% and the number of parts by over 75%.
Future of Divergent and 3D printed vehicles
The partnership between Divergent and PSA group hopefully symbolises more acceptance from the automotive manufacturing industry in incorporating additive manufacturing. Kevin Czinger certainly thinks so,
Our long term vision is to have a technology platform – the Divergent Manufacturing Platform™ — that automates car design and radically reduces the cost and time required to manufacture vehicles.
While future 3D printed cars won’t all be supercars capable of 0-60 mph in 2.2 seconds, this proof of concept offering from Divergent displays perfectly the possibilities with the technology and got a great platform to do so at CES 2017.
Featured image shows Divergent’s 3D printed frame. Photo via Divergent.