Can a 3D-printed Car Beat a Porsche? Meet Blade
The Porsche 918 Spyder is the fastest accelerating car in the world, getting from 0 to 60 in about 2.2 seconds. However, Divergent Microfactories that has produced a 3D-printed car called the Blade says their car goes about .2 seconds faster than that, nonchalantly claiming to be faster than the fastest car in the world.
The car is not entirely 3D-printed, a misnomer, in fact. There are other cars out there which have more 3D-printed components. Regardless, the Blade is incredibly light, at 1,400 pounds, and goes incredibly fast for a hobby car turned professional. The car runs a 700 horsepower engine and the company that produces it, Divergent, has claimed to another outlet that it is street legal. This claim is doubted since the car does not have an airbag.
700 horsepower is massive, in comparison to other engines of the same size that are out on the market. While no car could probably be entirely 3D-printed and then expect to outperform something like a Porsche, the technology certainly has its place in performance cars. There are certain parts that companies will benefit by making on their own, using 3D printers rather than expecting a factory to get them right. They also then have more freedom to experiment with the designs they are working with.
The technology has shown its uses across industries, with all manufacturing industries finding some use for it. Auto manufacturing has been no different, even in cases where a 3D printer might not be appropriate for making the part on scale, it could be useful in determining the actual design of a part or product. This can be a lot less expensive and move the process along faster. Companies like Ford have recognized the value in the technology and are considering scaling up 3D printing manufacturing at their current plants.
Developments like this one are an example of where technologists can bust out into new industries. The Tesla has been an example of a similar geek invasion into the auto industry, with an electric car suddenly becoming not only viable, but preferable experience. When very smart engineers apply their processes to industries that have long had a monopoly on the way things are done, there can be serious disruption. For instance, early investors in Tesla have made a fair profit from wisely understanding that Elon Musk would see the right path for the company. Understanding that very intelligent people can be successful in new industries has been a benefit to many investors in the past, indeed, and there have been other examples of companies moving into other industries and succeeding greatly.
Google revolutionized the smart phone market when it developed an operating system for the platform, and later made more waves in hardware with the release of its Chromebooks. Amazon has made waves in certain industries by having its own hardware device for reading books, and later for doing more, competing with other tablet makers, including Apple. Even Apple moving into the telephone market was a big switch at the time, and required a boldness on the part of that company.
The point is that new technology can change any industry, and sports cars shouldn’t be expected to be exempt from this. If Divergent is being honest about the capabilities of its car, then it is a testament to 3D-printing and to the wisdom of the engineers at the company more than anything.
Images and video from Divergent Microfactories.