Turtle Shell Style EDAG Genesis Concept: 3D-printed Auto Body Of The Future?
The EDAG Genesis displayed at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show is to road-ready cars what a preserved turtle shell is to a living, breathing turtle. The comparison is more than cosmetic since the 3D-printing technique used to create the seamless, one-piece body was inspired by one of nature's toughest tetrapods.
Headquartered in Fulda, central Germany, EDAG is the world's largest engineering consultant to the automobile industry and as such they are, in their own words, perfectly positioned to “ensure the mobility of the future.”
The EDAG Genesis is a groundbreaking demonstration of how the capabilities of innovative new manufacturing processes like 3D-printing can benefit the auto industry and accomplish their stated goal. Check out this video from EDAG showing the ins and outs of the genesis.
3D-printing is still in its relative infancy but just like relative infants, this technology is growing up quickly. Similarly, the EDAG Genesis is still a concept – an auto body without a drivetrain – intended to showcase what a 3D-printed vehicle body might look like in the future.
Though it may appear metallic, the Genesis is formed from thermoplastic carbon fiber. EDAG's 3D-printying process employs computer-controlled robots to apply multiple layers of fiber according to a programmed template. Layer-by-layer application produces a structure that's extremely flexible and strong but is lightweight as well.
These attributes are shared by organic bone and that's exactly what the body's interior structure recalls. Another benefit lies in the nature of 3D-printing itself: waste is minimal because material is only placed where it is needed, nowhere else.
No doubt other researchers are investigating what possibilities 3D-printing can bring to the automaking industry of tomorrow. One might say the race is on to perfect the process, and EDAG's turtle-like Genesis body concept stands a fighting chance against whatever the industry's proverbial hares can crank, er, 3D-print out. (via TWWHLSPLS, SmallBlog V8, and WebUrbanist)