At first glance, any motorhead would be head over heels for Blade — a sleek sportscar with shimmery deep magenta facade. The aerodynamicity of the car is obvious from its low, curved volume. Yet, this isn’t just any supercar that has just hit the market. Created by San Francisco-based startup Divergent Microfactories, Blade’s chassis was entirely 3-D printed.
3D printing is already revolutionizing the manufacturing process around the world. Printing in 3D makes products such as furniture, jewelry, machinery and even cars, more lightweight, but without sacrificing durability. Not only does 3D printing offer a new, faster and more reliable way of manufacturing, but it is also more affordable and sustainable.
Within the automotive industry, sustainability is an aspect that, according to Divergent founder and CEO, Kevin Czinger, can no longer be ignored. “We have got to rethink how we manufacture, because — when we go from 2 billion cars today to 6 billion cars in a couple of decades — if we don’t do that, we’re going to destroy the planet,” Czinger expains.
The startup has been working on the Blade design for years. The car’s chassis is a 3D printed aluminum “node” joint, which is made up of carbon fiber tubes that plug into the nodes to form a strong and lightweight frame for the car, weighs just 1,400 pounds. According to the company, the 3D manufacturing process reduces the weight of the chassis by as much as 90 percent when compared to conventional vehicles.
The Blade features a 700HP engine capable of running on both compressed natural gas (CNG) and gas. As for performance, its light weight enables the supercar to accelerate to 0-60 m.p.h in 2.2 seconds. But, in case you’re itchin’ to get the metal to the pedal in this sweet ride, you’ll have to wait. The company has only manufactured a few models, but hopes to start working with boutique manufacturers soon to start producing more.