The Most Exciting 3D Printed Cars & Supercars 2023
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3D printed cars and car parts are used in many facets of the automotive industry, from domestic vehicles to Formula 1. Additive manufacturing technologies make for lighter cars that run both faster and more efficiently than vehicles made using traditional manufacturing methods and metal parts.
Here we’ll look at some of the best 3D printed cars and projects in recent years that really make the future of the automotive industry look very bright indeed. From Italian manufacturer Lamborghini to American companies like Czinger, we’ll see some of the most awesome 3D printed car projects that are bound to get your motor running.
- We have also written a feature story into the uses of 3D printed car parts
2023 Czinger 21C
- Price: $2 million
- Learn More: Czinger
The Czinger 21C is one of the best 3D printed cars that pushes the boundaries of engineering as an art for vehicles. The idea was to use additive manufacturing to make an ultra-light chassis for a slick-looking 3D printed car that’s both cheaper to produce and aesthetically pleasing with stunning details.
As well as the chassis, a collaborative effort between Czinger Vehicles and British automotive company Xtrac produced a 3D printed gearbox for use in the 21C. This adds to the lightweight nature of the vehicle for even smoother, more efficient performance, as it is capable of going from 0 – 62mph in just 1.9 seconds.
It can also reach a whopping 253mph with a 12ss BHP engine, which means it’s not only one of the coolest cars, but one of the fastest too.
Unfortunately, the Czinger 21C comes with a big price tag of 2 million dollars. So despite Czinger having dealerships all over the world, this 3D printed car won’t be found in the average household’s garage anytime soon, at least not until they can produce the car parts more cheaply and efficiently.
Aston Martin DBR22
- Price: $1.8 million
- Learn More: Aston Martin
The Aston Martin DBR22 is a new concept car using additive manufacturing to create the entire rear for savings on both weight and cost. It’s manufactured by the same company who brought us the Czinger 21C, and employs the same construction techniques with both performance and looks in mind.
The two-seater car is partially 3D printed using aluminum car parts that interlock to make a seamless frame that’s low in weight and highly durable. This kind of 3D printing technique is commonly used in Formula 1 cars to produce parts and chassis that can improve performance and maximize speed potential by without sacrificing safety.
- Price: $14 million+
- Learn More: Panopoulos
Known as an ‘Ultra Car’, the Panopoulos Chaos is a breakthrough of engineering that uses aerospace technology to develop a partially 3D printed car.
As a business strategy to ensure authenticity, they’re using an all-Greek team to make these luxury cars with care and attention, using the most cutting edge technology in their production process to bring the project to life. It will be one of the fastest cars ever made with a top speed of around 310mph.
The main use of additive manufacturing in the design focuses on the wheels and brakes, which are printed with high performance materials like magnesium and titanium, which helps explain the astronomical price.
EDAG Light Cocoon
- Price: $86,000
- Learn More: EDAG Tech
Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 2015, the EDAG Light Cocoon is a fantastic example of how 3D printed cars can be lightweight but still maintain their strength.
The Light Cocoon is created mostly using Selective Laser Melting, similar to Direct Metal Laser Sintering, though also involving FDM and Stereolithography, for both active and spare parts. EDAG plans to fully finish and release the car in around 2025.
- Price: $340,000+
- Learn More: Cadillac
The Cadillac CELESTIQ is an innovative addition to partially 3D printed automobiles, using over 115 3D printed parts to make an impressive and surprisingly affordable car.
These parts are printed using the Voxeljet VX4000, the largest sand printing system in the world, to ensure reliable car parts and accessories are printed as needed at a much lower price by reducing the need for importation.
The savings made by the use of 3D printing to create parts pass on to the consumer, making it more easily available, though still not to the average household yet.
BMW iX5 Hydrogen
- Price: TBC
- Learn More: BMW
First showcased in Munich in 2021, the BMW iX5 Hydrogen that is an upcoming sports activity vehicle that uses 3D printing in every step of its creation, from prototyping to final production.
Produced in BMW’s own Additive Manufacturing Campus, the iX5 Hydrogen finally hit the roads in February 2023 to critical acclaim, promising to be one of the best 3D printed cars soon to hit the domestic market.
As the name implies, this 3D printed car runs largely on hydrogen fuel cells which partially use the air in the atmosphere to help power the vehicle in a sustainable and efficient way. This makes it a game changer for those who want a strong car without the environmental impact of larger vehicles.
Refueling is a breeze too, taking only around 4 minutes from empty to full, which is good news for drivers who want to be back on the road as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, the BMW iX5 Hydrogen is not yet on the public market, and we still don’t have an idea of how much it will cost. But many of those who have been lucky enough to try it out are already calling it the car of the future, making a great case for the use of additive manufacturing to produce cars and car parts.
- Price: N/A
- Learn More: Yanko Design
Many hobbyists love making 3D printed models of their favorite cars, taking these projects on as fun pastimes or as a way to help introduce family members to the art of additive manufacturing. But few dare to dream of actually 3D printing a full to-scale car themselves.
A father-son team took to PLA and ABS plastic 3D printing to create a perfect replica of the Lamborghini Aventador by using scaled-down model cars as STL files that were blown up and repurposed piece by piece.
The duo made sure to create the various car parts to be as accurate to the futuristic design of the original vehicle as possible, from the wheels to the body.
The amazingly detailed replica of the car design took around 5 years to complete and garnered so much attention that the Italian company Lamborghini itself even donated very expensive parts like headlights and a steering wheel to make the replica genuinely authentic.
Honorable Mentions: The History of 3D Cars
Though they may no longer be active, these shelved 3D printed car projects serve as intriguing milestones, highlighting the progression and potential of automotive printing technology over the years
- Price: Unknown
- Learn More: RDN
Divergent3D, a pioneer in the realm of 3D printed vehicles, initially gained recognition with the Blade, a supercar constructed from carbon fiber tubes and 3D printed aluminum rods. This innovative vehicle showcased the potential of 3D printing in revolutionizing the automobile manufacturing process. The Blade was not just a concept; it was a functional car boasting a top speed of 200 mph and a powerful 629 horsepower engine.
The company’s vision was to explore alternative manufacturing methods that could reduce costs and produce lightweight yet aesthetically appealing vehicles. This vision was realized with the Blade, which garnered attention for its impressive design and performance capabilities.
While Divergent3D faced challenges during the COVID pandemic, their legacy in the automotive industry is undeniable.
Their innovative approach to car manufacturing has paved the way for a new era of eco-friendly and cost-effective vehicle production. And while the concept was discarded, it eventually became the base for the Czinger 21C that we’ve discussed above.
EDAG Light Cocoon First Appearance
- Price: Estimated $100,000
- Learn more: EDAG Light Cocoon
Originally showcased at the Geneva Motor Show in 2015, the EDAG Light Cocoon remains a testament to the potential of 3D printing in the automotive industry.
The German automotive engineering firm EDAG, known for its innovative designs, drew inspiration from the intricate structure of a leaf for the Light Cocoon.
The body of the car, primarily constructed using laser-sintered metal, is covered with a highly-waterproof, stretchable cloth developed by Jack Wolfskin, a renowned German supplier of outdoor sportswear.
While EDAG had not determined the total weight-saving potential of this technology by 2015, a study on substituting a traditional stamped aluminum hood with this bionic design suggested a potential weight reduction of 30%.
Nanyang Venture 8
- Price: N/A
- Learn more: Nanyang Venture 8
Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University showcased the future of automotive design with the NTU Venture 8 (NV8), a groundbreaking 3D-printed concept car.
Built on a robust carbon fiber chassis, the NV8 is a testament to innovation with over 150 meticulously 3D printed components.
Additionally, the NV8 integrates solar cells into its design, allowing it to reach speeds of up to 27mph.
While the NV8 and its solar-powered successor, the NV 9, made waves in the Shell Eco-Marathon Asia in 2015, there’s been a notable silence on their developments since then, leaving many awaiting the next chapter in this pioneering project.
Local Motors Strati 3D Printed Car
- Price: $18,000+
- Learn More: Local Motors
In 2014, Local Motors introduced the ‘Strati’, a groundbreaking electric 3D printed car, crafted in collaboration with Cincinnati Incorporated and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
Designed by Michele Anoe, the Strati was printed in 44 hours, with ambitions to cut this time to 10 hours. Beyond its innovative production, the Strati offered a top speed of 40mph (64kph) and a 100-120 mile range. Its recyclable thermoplastic body showcased a sustainable approach to car manufacturing.
Though initially priced between $18,000-$30,000 and slated for 2015 production, updates became scarce.
Unfortunately, Local Motors shut its doors for good in 2022, although it still remains one of the first and most notable examples of 3D printed cars, inspiring many of the newer models that we’ve looked at today.
- Price: $15,000+
- Learn More: Polymaker LSEV
Emerging from a partnership between Hong Kong’s XEV and China’s Polymaker, the LSEV was a pioneering electric 3D printed car set for the Asian and European markets in 2019.
Priced at $15,000, nearly all of the LSEV was 3D printed, except for the tires, windows, seats, and chassis.
Weighing just 450kg, it could cover 90 miles on a full charge and reach speeds of 43mph. The entire car took only 3 days to print, thanks to fused deposition modeling.
3D printing’s efficiency reduced the LSEV’s parts from 2,000 to just 57, cutting costs by 70%. With 7,000 pre-orders, the LSEV showcased the transformative potential of 3D printing in the automotive world, promoting cost savings, weight reduction, and the shift to electric vehicles.
The innovative LSEV 3D printed car features just 57 3D printed plastic parts, down from 2,000!
However, by 2023, the LSEV’s widespread release hadn’t materialized. Their 2019 Kickstarter campaign, aiming for $500,000, only managed to secure just under $100,000.
PUV ORNL 3D Printed Car
- Price: N/A
- Learn more: PUV ORNL
PUV emerged as a groundbreaking 3D printed car in 2019 as the brainchild of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s AMIE project.
This initiative was not just about creating another electric vehicle, but reimagining how energy could be utilized and stored. The PUV stood out with its unique capability to wirelessly transfer electricity to and from nearby infrastructures.
What made the PUV a notable entry in the realm of 3D printed cars was its body panels, meticulously crafted using 3D printing. These panels, made from carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, played a pivotal role in weight reduction and cost savings.
While its initial range of 35 miles on a full charge might seem modest by today’s standards, the PUV’s innovative approach to energy transmission set a precedent for future automotive technologies.
- Learn more: Toyota uBox
Toyota, in collaboration with Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research, unveiled the Toyota uBox in 2019. It was a concept car that showcased the potential of 3D printing in automotive design featuring a 3D printed interior.
The vision behind the uBox was to explore the future of car customization. Toyota believed that as 3D printing technology advanced, there would be a shift in how consumers approached car personalization.
The idea was that customers could potentially customize elements of their car’s interior, such as door trims, dashboards, or air vents, using 3D printed parts. This would not only allow for a higher degree of personalization but also open up the possibility for customers to 3D print their own car parts at home.
However, there has been no update on the Toyota uBox project since its unveiling.
- Learn more: Project M
Revealed to the world in 2016, Shell’s Project M stood out as an innovative 3D printed car for intra-city travel.
This compact vehicle, crafted from 93 3D printed components, weighed a mere 550kg and boasted speeds up to 156km/h. Shell’s choice to employ 3D printing was rooted in its cost and efficiency advantages, enabling them to produce complex parts in-house rapidly.
However, there’s been a noticeable absence of updates on Project M ever since its unveiling in 2016.
Olli 3D Printed Bus
- Learn more: Olli 3D Printed Bus
Olli, an autonomous 3D printed bus, stood out as a beacon of innovation in public transport when it was unveiled in 2016.
Developed by the now defunct Local Motors, this 3D printed bus wasn’t just a marvel in design but was also self-driving, designed with the goal of transforming urban mobility.
The vehicle was designed with adaptability in mind. Thanks to 3D printing, various structural elements of the shuttle could be tailored to suit different urban environments.
The innovation didn’t stop there. Local Motors introduced ‘Olli 2.0‘, an upgraded version packed with advanced features. This iteration boasted voice recognition, mood tracking for route optimization, and other state-of-the-art technologies.
Unfortunately, like the Strati, the Olli was unable to reach its full potential with the loss of Local Motors in 2022.