KLIO Design showed off their modern—and very small—cars at the Seoul Smart Mobility International Conference and Exhibition in 2016, no doubt wowing visitors with what will likely be an attractive choice of vehicle for the drivers of the future.
The Open Mobility Structure Concept is an aptly-named vehicle, made with 3D printed parts. It offers a separated upper and lower body, with the upper body allowing for subdividing and ‘diversifying,’ which enables it to expand to a three-seater. It can also be used for personal or commercial use, as well as public transportation. It was made with plastic powder material (PMMA).
As Materialise explained in a recent case study, their team was heavily involved since the design could not be 3D printed at first. Materialise 3-matic software was used to redesign and reformat the 3D files so that they were stronger and able to be 3D printed. The KLIO Design team, headquartered in South Korea, was then able to add other features such as pillars that were lighter in weight. They were also able to edit the car frame much more expediently as the underbody frequently changed—making use of one of the greatest benefits of 3D printing as prototypes and products can so easily be changed in a digital fashion.
“Until the mounting points were set, there was iterative work of deleting structures and filling holes. Thanks to Materialise 3-matic, we could edit directly on an STL level and save time,” said Jeongche Yoon, General Manager at KLIO Design.
Before 3D printing, the design team sliced the model into pieces to fit the printer, along with changing it to the appropriate width. Along with being hollowed, the KLIO team also designed the parts with a hole for eliminating interior powder—saving time in post-processing.
“One of the strengths of Materialise software is the ability to realize complex, organic structures and patterns that are difficult or even impossible to create with existing manufacturing methods, as well as the ability to visualize and edit huge data,” continued Yoon.
Even more fascinating was the way they made the car seat. This was actually more complex to design in 3D than the frame of the small vehicle. It was made with NURBS surfaces and then re-sized and re-adjusted. The KLIO Design team separated the part into its ‘cushioning areas’ and then printed them in one part to avoid an awkward assembly process.
“Materialise 3-matic is intuitive when applying lattices and simple to create data for 3D Printing,” said Yoon. “The best benefit for us is its format – you can work on your 3D data in a format lighter than STL when applying complex and complicated 3D lattices, which enabled us to work with a regular computer. This format didn’t require conversion to STL and the part could be printed directly on an EOS printer via the EOS Build Processor. Needless to say, we could convert to STL stably, which allowed us to work on the design conveniently.”
3D printing and additive manufacturing is allowing automotive manufacturers to progress into the future in ways most of us never imagined, but often with lofty ambitions for vehicles many of us could never dream of owning. When asked to expound further on the nature of this concept car, Yoon explained that mobility can mean many different things in the world of transportation from micro to smart, to electric or even autonomous.
“Automobiles will be more intelligent and luxurious with advanced technologies such as smart cars and autonomous driving. They will also be shared-use (through services such as public transport or vehicle sharing, etc.) for efficient mobility within a vast social system, rather than be privately owned,” stated Yoon in a question and answer session regarding the purpose of this new 3D printed design.
”Also, by the future users who no longer regard cars as luxurious goods, for expanding choices in more than half of the world with under-developed automobile manufacturing technology, and for autonomous mobility services such as unmanned delivery or information collection, the user needs for L6(e) and L7(e) segments (the legal categories of vehicles lighter than cars and heavier than bikes) will grow and the mobility market will be more segmented.”
The Open Mobility Structure Concept is a realistic design that would allow consumers many options as well as affordability. While KLIO provided the concept, Materialise allowed the follow-through.
“Materialise 3-matic is a great software, whereas exporting high-quality designs with other software is not always possible. Compatibility with design data is also a great benefit,” said Yoon.
Discuss in the KLIO Design forum at 3DPB.com.[Images: KLIO Design]