UK Firm Showcases Chameleon 3D Printed Car

Share this Article

One of the pioneers of 3D printing cars, Local Motors, may have shifted toward autonomous public transportation, but that doesn’t mean other companies aren’t still exploring the additive production of personal vehicles. The latest is a British firm called Scaled Ltd, which has unveiled an electric, four-wheel 3D printed vehicle dubbed the Chameleon.

For Scaled, the Chameleon is a demonstrator project, meant to showcase the possibilities of large-scale additive manufacturing (AM) using the company’s systems. Scaled was founded in 2015 and hosts both gantry 3D printers and an industrial robotic arm outfitted with thermoplastic extrusion printheads. The robotic arm is capable of 3D printing objects up to three meters in length.

Designed and manufactured in just a few months, the Chameleon was designed using stochastic software from Rafinex, which made it possible to optimize the chassis of the vehicle in response to a variety of loading conditions. The material used to produce the car was PA6 from the Lehvoss Group, meant to be durable enough for driving.

“Thirty-three per cent of the vehicle included a recycled PA6 from a UK firm, Hills Premier Polymers,” said Bob Bradley, Co-founder and Technical Director of Scaled. “In the future it will definitely be possible to up the amount of circular plastics in use for this type of thing – something we are very excited about.”

The non-3D printed components were created with assistance from students on Birmingham University’s Racing Team. Weighing in at 150 kg, the vehicle runs on a Lynch electric motor and can travel up to 45 mph.

You’ll note from the pictures that the Chameleon lacks many of the features one might associate with a street-legal car and resembles more closely a golf cart. While the UK startup is focused on the automotive sector, it does not yet appear that its primary goal is to become a 3D printed vehicle manufacturer.

If it did head down that path, it would have to contend with the likes of LM Industries (LMI), the parent company of Local Motors, which more or less gave up on personal 3D printed vehicles in lieu of its autonomous 3D-printed shuttle, Olli. Then there’s Divergent 3D/Czinger, directed at the luxury super- and hyper-car market. The closest direct competitor would be Italian firm XEV, which claims to have up to 30,000 orders for its small, 3D printed electric vehicles.

The 3D printed Chameleon vehicle from Scaled. Image courtesy of Scaled.

For the time being, the 3D printing of vehicles remains isolated to high-end, specialty applications, rather than personal car ownership. In the case of Divergent 3D/Czinger, that means only the ultra-high-performance types of sports cars the wealthy can afford. Otherwise, we see a number of auto sports teams using the technology for their races and some luxury manufacturers incorporating 3D printed end parts into their vehicles. When it comes to consumers, large brands have been experimenting with small and limited-run 3D printed mods, but it will still be awhile before cars with 3D printed chasses are really ready for the road. The military, however, may find some use for it sooner than consumers.

According to SmarTech Analysis report “Additive Manufacturing for Automotive Part Production – 2019 – 2029”, LMI may be signaling the primary method in which the public does encounter 3D printed vehicles. The report states:

“A number of application cases indicate that 3D printing technologies will be a key manufacturing process for the production of tomorrow’s smart EV fleets. One example is the OLLI self-driving, 3D-printed shuttle, developed for use in smart mobility across city centers or enclosed company HQs and business parks.”

LMI is not the only company to pursue this opportunity. The aforementioned Italian manufacturer, XEV, has pitched “customized enterprise vehicles” to businesses like such as the Italian Post, Arval Leasing Company, Q8 Petroleum Company (Kuwait Petroleum Company), and Campello Motors. Because not everyone can afford the $1 million Big Area Additive Manufacturing system that LMI uses to produce Olli, they may actually turn to firms like Scaled for lower-cost production.

Share this Article


Recent News

GoProto Buys 3D Systems’ Australian Site, Largest 3D Printing Service in APAC Region

CERN & 3D Systems 3D Print Parts for the Large Hadron Collider



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Featured

Sugar Lab Review: Throwing a Stuffed Animal Birthday Party with 3D Printed Sugar Treats

As food 3D printing slowly congeals into the mainstream, ordinary consumers are being introduced to an increasing number of options for getting their hands on the technology—or at least the...

3D Printing Webinar and Virtual Event Roundup: November 29, 2020

While there are no more webinars for the month of November, we have plenty coming up this week when it switches to December. Topics including 3D software updates, cloud-based solutions,...

Featured

Two Lasers Can Now Work on One Part: Premium Aerotec Certifies GE Additive Metal 3D Printing for Airbus

Airbus subsidiary Premium Aerotec will use GE Additive’s newly validated multi-laser Concept Laser M2 system to produce titanium components for the Airbus A320 airliner family. An aerospace supplier, Premium Aerotec...

FDA Clears 3D Systems Patient-Specific 3D Printed Surgical Guides for Ankles

Leading additive manufacturing solutions partner 3D Systems announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the company’s 3D printed Vantage Ankle PSI (patient-specific instrumentation) surgical cutting guides....


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.