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Additive Manufacturing Brings a Classic Car Back to the Streets

Additive manufacturing (AM) provides the means for creative individuals to resurrect the past. In some cases it brings a face to ancient Egyptians while in others it helps bring life (of a sorts) to dinosaurs. While the pursuit of academic interests via AM is fascinating to study, occasionally it’s interesting to see the technology used for something a bit more fun.

Voxeljet and Green Propulsion have worked together to bring the classic Imperia GP Roadster back to the streets, using AM. Sporting a hybrid engine with 350 HP that can go from 0 to 100 km/h in four seconds, the new Roadster is a reimagining of a Belgium automobile brand that, according to Green Propulsion, developed a fuel-electric motor as early as 1907.

The reimagined Imperia GP Roadster will be back on the streets thanks in part to AM. Courtesy of voxeljet.

Developing a new car based on a classic model requires some out-of-the-box thinking, and 3D printing helped get the Roadster moving. Reimagining the guts of the vehicle required quick prototyping to provide proof of concept. With the actual vehicle being out of production for quite some time, Green Propulsion couldn’t exactly pick up new parts off-the-shelf to work with. In this case, the VX4000 was used to build sand molds to cast an aluminum prototype gear box.

“[With the] VX4000 we can generate moulds the size of a sports car, the limit being a volume of eight cubic metres,” said Dr. Ingo Ederer, CEO of voxeljet technology. “This presents users with undreamt-of possibilities. The enormous build space enables the rapid production of large individual moulds, but is also flexible enough to allow the cost-effective production of small batches.”

This sand mold was built on a VX4000 using quartz sand material to help ensure the smoothest results possible. Courtesy of voxeljet.

The gear box is just part of the 1.6 liter turbo gasoline engine with 200 HP, and an electric motor with an output of 150 HP. Test declared the prototype’s viability, and with the gearbox declared a success, Imperia was able to begin actual production, providing a sports car that (I think) not only looks cool, but is eco-friendly with CO2 emissions at 50 grams per kilometer.

The new Imperia GP Roadster will run a little over $135,000 to purchase, and the company is only making a limited number. Below you’ll find a video that gives a better look around the vehicle.

Source: voxeljet

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About John Newman

John Newman is a contributing editor to Desktop Engineering magazine. He covers the rapid prototyping and manufacturing beat.

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