Well maybe the Shelby Cobra is not as rare as the mineral called Painite…
…but it most definitely belongs in the rarest and most desirable classic cars department for sure.
Emerging new technologies save us a lot of troubles, especially if you want to talk about 3D printing technology.
That’s actually the catch, someone thought about it and we totally agree with them.
These people must have brainstormed a bit and came to a conclusion:
We love the Shelby Cobra right?
Why don’t we just create a 3D printed Shelby Cobra replica for our selves.
…I believe that they were thinking this way.
These magnificent people are not anonymous, of course, they hail from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and they managed to build a car that looks enough like a Cobra.
And for much amusement this beauty was unveiled back in January at the Detroit Auto Show.
This is the same facility that refined uranium for the Manhattan Project.
What they did here:
they used a 3D-printer they have lying around to construct a Cobra not using regular plastic but a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic…
…and of course it wouldn’t be efficient enough if they didn’t put an electric powertrain.
It’s basically a love child of an original Cobra and the fine looking BMW i3.
The main purpose of the electric Cobra project is to demonstrate the Oak Ridge’s Big Area Additive Manufacturing technology.
The team from the lab thinks that this will bring a whole new level in the construction process that they call “rapid prototyping.”
The guys and gals from Oak Ridge claim that with this process they will save energy, and it will also allow the carmakers and every other company that’s in the business to print crash-absorbing structures straight in the bodywork of a specific car.
It’s a fact that in designing a car or a single component of it takes a lot of time.
Today’s cars are still modeled in a full-size clay mock-up which is accompanied with various production dies, molds, and tools…
…that are needed so the setup would be complete.
3D printing could actually cut time in the process, and with that the designers can easily make changes.
Think even further:
The automakers can even update their cars outside the four-year refresh cycle.
Also, 3D printing by default uses less material, and with that the waste is cut down.
In addition 3D printers work with a less complex process than the traditional machines that make car parts. This also has a downside, it means even less workers in the factories.
The sad part is that you won’t be able to buy yourself an Oak Ridge Cobra.
But on the positive side the company is trying to put an actual 3D-printed electric car in production. They have also demonstrated their printing abilities with the open-top Strati.
But unlike the Cobra the Strati is fully made from ABS plastic rather than carbon fiber.
The coolest part is that virtually everything on it expect the powertrain is 3D-printed.
Image Source: Digital Trends