3D printed cars of the future have begun competing at Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2016. The race gets underway along the Rizal Park street circuit in Manila marking the start of the competition. The 4 day event sees the cars battle it out for 1st place as various prizes and awards are up for grabs.
The futuristic and fuel-efficient cars were designed and built by students from 17 countries across Asia Pacific, Middle East and Australia. The student’s creativity and technical skills were really put to the test. They were tasked with creating a car that can travel the farthest on a single litre of gas (slightly less than one quarter of a gallon). Consequently, potentially achieving the highest mileage in the competition.
More than 200 entries poured in from 29 countries with various shapes, sizes and colours on display. Latest technologies such as 3D printing and innovative materials were also implemented in the design process. Subsequently, it meant all vehicles had to pass technical tests before they were allowed into the competition.
There is one car however that stole the show. This was debuted by team UITM Eco-Planet from the Universiti Teknologi Mara Shah Alam, Malaysia. A 3D printed car assembled from 120 individually-printed parts. Each part taking approximately 10 hours to complete.
“We chose to 3D print our car as it’s lightweight, economical, reduces fabrication time and ensures zero fabrication errors. As we only had a small, office-sized 3D printer, we spent over 1,200 hours printing the individual parts which we assembled together when we arrived in Manila” said Mohd Syafiq Akmal Samsudin from Team UTIM Eco-Planet.
This wasn’t just a competition to see who was the most creative. Or to see who could build the most aesthetically pleasing car. This was about using innovation and creativity combined to push the boundaries of technological innovation. Therefore a combination of function and form were key to a successful race. Or should we say, creating a fine balance between the two!