EDAG Genesis 3D Printed Car at 2014 Geneva Motor Show. Source: http://www.3ders.org/
EDAG Genesis 3D Printed Car at 2014 Geneva Motor Show. Source: http://www.3ders.org/

EDAG, a leading engineering service provider in the automotive industry, has displayed a 3D printed car at the Geneva Motor Show. The Geneva Motor Show is an auto show held annually in March in Geneva, Switzerland.

The 3D printed vehicle is called EDAG GENESIS, designed to demonstrate the capabilities of 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing. The design of the EDAG GENESIS is based on the structure of a turtle’s shell, providing protection and cushioning. The car’s design gives it strength and stability.

The 3D printed automobile mimics the natural design of a skeletal system, showing that these types of structures cannot be manufactured in any other way. The capabilities of 3D printing can open up new avenues of designs for designers and engineers, opening up worlds of possibility.

There is more than one type of technology in 3D printing. While researching the best 3D printing technology to create the 3D printed car, designers and specialists looked at several processes, including Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Selective Laser Melting (SLM), Stereolithography (SLA), and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM).

The assessment used a specially developed evaluation matrix to quantify the technologies. The criterion included such factors as structural relevance, possible part size, production tolerance and manufacturing costs. After examining the results, the researchers determined that a refined FDM process looked to be a promising technology for 3D printing in the automotive industry.

“Unlike other technologies, FDM makes it possible for components of almost any size to be produced, as there are no pre-determined space requirements to pose any restrictions. Instead, the structures are generated by having robots apply thermoplastic materials. Complex structures are built up layer by layer in an open space - without any tools or fixtures whatsoever. By introducing endless carbon fibers during the production process, it is also possible to achieve the required strength and stiffness values,” stated EDAG.

“Even though industrial usage of additive manufacturing processing is still in its infancy, the revolutionary advantages with regard to greater freedom in development and tool-free production make this technology a subject for the future.”

“From today's point of view, the production of components, and in the next stage modules, is completely feasible. As for the target of using additive manufacturing to produce complete vehicle bodies: there is still a long way to go before this becomes an industrial application, so for the time being, it remains a vision.”

EDAG states that its goal in this research is to develop practical and valid use in research and development and production. “The first stage will be small structural parts; however, we intend to make a real contribution to the development of the revolutionary idea of additive manufacturing.”

“We are privileged to be alive at this point in history when the old maxim of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" becomes "if it ain't broke, break it, because there's no chance it will be done the same way in the near future,” said EDAG.