A real-life Batmobile is currently racing across Europe in the Gumball 3000 Rally and 3D printing played its part in the finished product.
Palmiga Innovation contributed in some small way to the dramatic look of the finished car that was produced by Caresto AM and entered into the Gumball Rally by event regulars Team Galag.
The TGX is based on a Gallardo
The car is simply known as the TGX and it is loosely based on the Batmobile from Project Arkham. There’s a Lamborghini Gallardo under there somewhere, but this car has been so extensively rebuilt that it counts as a one-off construction.
The wheel base is 3.4m and the car is 2.5m wide, which has already created a few problems on the narrow roads of Europe. It’s built around a spaceframe chassis and comes with the 560bhp V10 engine that powered the Gallardo.
Not all of the car has been 3D printed. In fact, most of it hasn’t. The bodywork is carbon-fiber and was made from a series of moulds, which is mildly disappointing. We’d have loved the whole car to be 3D printed as it simply looks epic.
We do love the innovation that the team has shown, though, in turning a fairly common or garden supercar into a true showstopper that was featured around the world before the rally even started.
Where is the 3D printing?
So what part has 3D printing played in the construction? Palmiga Innovation supplied three rubberised pieces that help to complete the interior look and hark back to Batman’s rubber-look suit. The headrest logos and the central part of the steering wheel were giving Team Galag problems, too, so they turned to the 3D print process in a bid to fix it before the rally.
The headrest logos were printed on a standard 3D printer, using flexible rubber compound PI-ETPU 95-250 in Carbon Black.
3D printing gives an exact finish
The center cap for the steering wheel sounds simple enough, but Team Galag had a very specific look in mind. Without that eye for perfection then the car simply wouldn’t have been the same. So Palmiga Innovation opted for a 0.7mm nozzle to create a finished product that was just 1.5mm thick, so it would flow with the curvature of the wheel.
Once the company had printed the basic shape, it melted the surface of the logo with a soldering iron to give it the distinctive, distressed look.
These designs are available for you to download as well, together with other Batman and Superman-themed options that tie in with the film. So even if you don’t have a Lamborghini Gallardo to hack up as a donor car, you can still use these complex designs to create something of your own.
From Batman to flowers
Palmiga Innovation is clearly happy to turn his hand to anything creative, too, as he recently won a competition for creating a wholly different kind of flower vase. That’s about as far removed from Batman’s Tumbler as you’re likely to get. But it does show the company’s flexibility, as well as the sheer range of 3D printing.
These finishing touches might not make the TGX faster, but they certainly contributed to the overall look of the car. So when the crowds gathered in Dublin to wave the Gumballers off on a rally that would take them all the way to Bucharest, there was no doubt which car was the star of the show.
Why do it? Why not? Team Galag had the money, the sponsors and the vision. It wanted to make a massive impact on the Gumball 3000 rally and you have to say they have.
The only problem is that now they need to come up with something wilder next year, so they might need to 3D print the whole thing after all.