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EDAG's Genesis: The 3D printed car of the future


March 3, 2014

It's an exciting time to be alive if you are highly educated and capable of making a difference to the way the world unfolds

It's an exciting time to be alive if you are highly educated and capable of making a difference to the way the world unfolds

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Of all the technologies to have emerged from the digital renaissance, additive manufacturing (3D printing) has the potential to be the most disruptive. Yet another example of how the world of manufacturing will change will be displayed at the Geneva Motor Show this week when EDAG, the world’s largest independent engineering partner to the international mobility industry, displays an example of a printed automobile. The Genesis is more a conceptual sculpture than an automobile, but it will give you a taste of what the world's leading manufacturers might be producing a decade or two from now.

To understand the importance and relevance of EDAG's future take on automotive production – the printing of whole car bodies – it's necessary to understand the company's core expertise.

EDAG consults to many of the world's leading mobility industry producers on a holistic level encompassing not just vehicles, but vehicles and manufacturing. It works not just in the car industry but also with commercial vehicle manufacturers, train and light rail manufacturers, and in the aerospace industry. EDAG specializes in creating ready-for-production solutions because it offers expertise in both product and production, all the way through to manufacturing plant construction.

Every year, Gizmag.com writes up EDAG's concept and show cars, sometimes more than one vehicle. They are not just future focused, but often take existing designs and give them greater flexibility.

ROW-BY-ROW, RIGHT-TO-LEFT: Some of EDAG's previous showcars include the genX for those who prefer to be of no-fixed-address, the Show Car No. 8 from 2005, the marine concept LUV luxury SUV, a removable hardtop for the Pontiac Solstice which turned it into a Shooting Brake, the 2009 open-source Light Car, the BIWAK Volkswagen Beetle Estate Car of 2006, the Porsche-based Chopster, the EDAG Scout of 1999, and the Cinema 7D "cinema on wheels" from 2005.

In other cases, they look at new emerging lifestyle choices and propose interesting solutions. EDAG designs always involve the presentation of new thought.

EDAG’s genX show car had inbuilt suitcases and a bed to cater for “the modern lifestyle” - having a bed without having to drive home, being able to drink without having to drive or sleeping in your car permanently. The genX premiered at the 2004 Geneva International Motor Show.

Hence when EDAG produces an example of a one-piece vehicle body produced in one single production process using additive manufacturing, it's not a fanciful dream – it has been carefully considered from a very practical production viewpoint, and it is this expertise that it is effectively displaying to the automotive industry in Geneva later this week.

EDAG's audience for this showcar is more the automotive manufacturer than the automotive buying public. EDAG is demonstrating its understanding of additive manufacturing processes and their industrial application for components, modules and complete vehicle bodies.

Created by the EDAG Competence Centre for Lightweight Construction, Genesis is, not surprisingly, the result of the collaboration of a multi-disciplinary team of designers, engineers and specialists.

The Genesis is another example of biomimicry; solving complex engineering problems by imitating solutions provided by nature. In this case it is based on the turtle's shell which provides protection and cushioning.

From EDAG's media release: "The framework of the exhibit calls to mind a naturally developed skeletal frame, the form and structure of which should make one thing perfectly clear: these organic structures cannot be built using conventional tools! In the future, additive manufacturing could benefit designers and engineers by opening up enormous freedoms and new design options for development and production."

In deciding upon which additive manufacturing processes were most relevant for the production of such a vehicle structure, and indeed what was theoretically possible in the first place, EDAG assessed the potential of a number of promising additive manufacturing processes: Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Selective Laser Melting (SLM), Stereolithography (SLA), and Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM).

Once more from EDAG's media release: "In the assessment, a specially developed evaluation matrix was used to quantify the technologies; this included criteria such as structural relevance, possible part size, production tolerance and manufacturing costs. The results showed that a refined FDM process also looked to be a promising candidate for the future-oriented subject of additive manufacturing."

"Unlike other technologies, FDM makes it possible for components of almost any size to be produced, as there are no pre-determined space requirements to pose any restrictions. Instead, the structures are generated by having robots apply thermoplastic materials. Complex structures are built up layer by layer in an open space – without any tools or fixtures whatsoever."

"By introducing endless carbon fibers during the production process, it is also possible to achieve the required strength and stiffness values. Even though industrial usage of additive manufacturing processing is still in its infancy, the revolutionary advantages with regard to greater freedom in development and tool-free production make this technology a subject for the future."

"From today's point of view, the production of components, and in the next stage modules, is completely feasible. As for the target of using additive manufacturing to produce complete vehicle bodies: there is still a long way to go before this becomes an industrial application, so for the time being, it remains a vision."

The EDAG Group has elucidated its target in this process as: "to develop and present practicable and valid applications for use in component development and production. The first stage will be small structural parts; however, we intend to make a real contribution to the development of the revolutionary idea of additive manufacturing."


It's an exciting time to be alive if you are highly educated and capable of making a difference to the way the world unfolds. We are privileged to be alive at this point in history when the old maxim of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" becomes "if it ain't broke, break it, because there's no chance it will be done the same way in the near future."

If there has been a common thread to Gizmag's twelve years of editorial coverage of technological development in all sectors, it has been that there is always a better way, and it's coming soon.

EDAG's Genesis is a prime example.

Gizmag.com's Chris Weiss is already in Switzerland and will be reporting from the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. Watch for his always insightful analysis over the coming days.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon

The EDAG Light Car is a rare inspiration in car design and a repository of futuristic concepts. Their propositions for using new and revolutionary materials is also a great trump to the company.


"The 3D printed car of the future..."

A car made from some 3D printed parts is not a "3D printed car".


can't wait for The Stig to drive one of those...

Amn Sywl

Great, except turtles aren't designed for head on collisions or even side and rear end collisions. Since most accidents are fender benders, my car would have a heavy duty bumper all the way around, like bumper cars do.


ARRRRRGGGGGHHHH...... Give me a F*g Break....... "Anonymous756" and "ezeflyer" - You are missing the whole point. Genesis is a "concept" presenting the idea that a car could actually be assembled from printed parts that could be printed in your own home. Much work remains to be done and a product that a consumer might eventually print would look much different AND necessarily meet Government safety regulations. Light, strong, safe and recyclable. Probably (maybe) battery electric with optional range extending engine or ?????. Not for everyone, but (for instance) why restore a 1970 mustang when you may be able to print a state of the art replica to assemble as a hobby. Electric motors, electronics, wheels, seats and so on, all supplied by various suppliers. Forget how things use to be done. Also, what about using this method in a GM or Ford factory to reduce cost and speed up development. Smarter people than me can see way past any idea or suggestion I can put forward and before you suggest a problem with any part of this (in an attempt to show how smart you are), understand that the "problem" you might mention will be addressed before such a vehicle is ever brought to market because professionals smarter than YOU (or me) will notice and correct them before you and I even think of them. I honestly have no Idea what the eventual end result would look like but it would be "marketable" or nobody would offer it. It may not be for everybody but there will be a market (I would not attempt to assemble it, but I wouldn't buy a fully assembled Ford half ton either). Welcome to 3D printing possibilities in the 21st century. Anybody else with some ideas?


Skyfall 007 movie did this with 3 DB5 Aston Martins, scan 1 Orig & make fullsize copies Doable Today Not in Mass prod mode ..... yet. But Skyfall shows its doable

Stephen Russell
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