In the past year a good number of car companies began experimenting with 3D printing, wondering how it could help their performance, manufacturing and design. For automotive startup Rezvani Motors 3D printing was key to saving weight in its BEAST 500 supercar.
Built upon the chassis of an Ariel Atom, the BEAST is a 703kg (1,550lb), 500 HP sprite capable of accelerating from 0-100km/h (0-62mph) in 2.7 seconds. Featuring a six-speed manual transmission, Rezvani’s auto leverages a combination of lightweight construction, aerodynamic optimization and advanced construction techniques to create a prototype for the future of automotive manufacturing.
In building the supercar, architect Fardess Rezvani used 3D printing to build the car’s front diffuser, mirrors and lights. In addition to the use of digital manufacturing in the creation of its smaller components, the BEAST’s construction leveraged CNC milling to create its carbon fiber body. According to Rezvani, CNC was used to create an accurate 3D model of the BEAST; from this model engineers fashioned molds for all of the car’s carbon fiber panels, a key element in keeping the BEAST’s weight down.
While using 3D printing and CNC in automotive manufacturing is surely a great demonstration of the two technologies’ capabilities, it also makes high-end autos cheaper to produce. Where your usual supercar might set you back $300,000 or more, the BEAST’s opening bid starts at $125k – a bargain in the exotic car world.
Although 3D printing isn’t mature enough to be a workhorse in a mass-manufactured automotive scheme, the world of high performance, hand built supercars is a perfect fit for the technology. As new printing materials and novel automotive concepts blend further I expect a strong relationship between the two industries will develop. Hopefully, one day larger firms like GM, Audi, Volvo and the like will adopt the technology and place it on the same footing as robotic assembly lines and injection molding.
Images Courtesy of Rezvani Motors