At this moment, some seriously tricked-out cars are cruising across Europe in the annual 3,000-mile celebrity motor rally known as Gumball 3000. Started in 1999 by British entrepreneur and racing enthusiast Maximillion Cooper as a sort of celebrity-studded party/road trip across Europe, it’s grown into a massive yearly event that attracts high-end sponsors and driving teams striving to outdo each other with the coolest cars. On May 1, this year’s drivers set off from Dublin with the goal of arriving in Bucharest, Romania tomorrow evening.A quick look through Google will present you with plenty of opinions on the best cars at this year’s rally, but one car stands out in particular. Because it’s the Batmobile. It’s not being driven by Bruce Wayne, but by a couple of Saudi Arabian princes who have been participating in Gumball 3000 for a few years as Team Galag. While there have been many versions of the Batmobile in the history of Batmobiles, this particular Batmobile (how many times can I say Batmobile?) is based on the version that appears in the video game Batman: Arkham Knight. It also contains a few 3D printed parts.
This Batmobile was designed and built by Caresto, the Swedish automotive company started by former Volvo and Koenigsegg employee Leif Tufvesson. Tufvesson appeared on our radar just last week when he partnered up with Thomas Palm of Palmiga Innovation and Rubber 3D Printing to design some 3D printed tires for the OpenRC Project. Palm told us, at that time, that “something big” would be coming from him and Tufvesson soon – well, here it is, a giant Batmobile with a Lamborghini engine driven by royalty.
The all-carbon fiber body of the car was made from molds milled out from CAD drawings. The luxurious interior consists of soft black leather and transparent fabrics, plus electric lights that illuminate the seats, pedals and floor when the cockpit is opened. Most important are the bat symbols strategically placed in the center of the steering wheel and on the headrests. That’s where Palm came in, 3D printing the final bat-adorned touches in Rubber 3D Printing’s PI-ETPU 95-250 Carbon Black filament.
“The center cap was the most challenging part to 3D print, the big radius convex surface would not look nice using a 0.4mm nozzle…Instead a 0.7mm nozzle was used but the extrusion width was set to 0.9mm to get the layers to look nice with circular rings covering the complete surface,” says Palm. “Also the thickness of only 1,5mm and the need for support material made this a tricky job. To show how nice the PI-ETPU 95-250 Carbon Black filament is to use, the same filament was used as support material, using a single extruder consumer 3D printer.
The surface of the bat symbol was manually melted with a solder iron and smoothed out using sandpaper, that process was a bit delicate but resulted in the nice structure and contrast needed.To 3D print the headrest parts was rather straight forward when using a 0.7mm nozzle and also a small positive extrusion multiplier to adjust the feel and look, they were printed flat with holes etc ready for the sewing.”
You can read more about the car’s specs in the Rubber 3D Printing blog, and you can also 3D print Palm’s bat designs for yourself in the form of a steering wheel cap keychain token and a sew-on logo available on Pinshape – he entered them into the Pinshape Batman v Superman Design Contest, which has been extended until May 15.
“Even if my part has been very small in this car project it has been extremely fun and I feel truly privileged, I can only wish for more,” Palm says.
Meanwhile, if you’re in Budapest right now, look out your window, because a strange parade of millionaire and celebrity hot rods should be rolling through at about this time. Say hi to the Batmobile for me.