Korean design house showcases 3D printed lightweight vehicle body

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 30 Jun 2017

The 'Open structure Mobility Concept', a micro electric mobility that can be customised through 3D printing and be expandable by platform sharing, opens possibilities to individual users, businesses a

The concept of open structure has gone a step further in environment-friendly vehicles. Current vehicle designs focus on having zero emissions but the Korean design house KLIO Design is banking on its belief that vehicles should focus on having minimal impact on the environment throughout their complete lifecycle.

The company says reduction on the impact of scrapping of existing products can be done by promoting new consumption patterns, which need to  focus on partially changing the form and function through modularisation.

Topology optimisation
KLIO Design has worked on morphogenesis (a combination of the Greek words morphê and genesis), a mathematical method of generating structural patterns inspired by the various forms of life. The iterative operation is performed until the relative density of all remaining elements is 1. In other words, it is the determination of optimal material distribution.

Topology optimisation was performed to find design variables (density of finite element) satisfying the objective function (minimum mass) by considering the constraint (safety factor) within the design domain. Based on this, they created the shape of the optimised (mass-minimised) structure where the external force (load on the body in the driving situation) acts, and presented guidelines for initial shape design.

At this time, the external force applied to the design area of this concept was calculated considering the static situation, running at a constant velocity, going over speed bumps, accelerating or braking, and even extreme situations like rollover. The company then performed topology optimisation for each driving situation and united the results. By simplifying and analysing the shape, they created guidelines for designing of the initial shape in the concept.

Customisable pilot model
The concept helped the company create their pilot model which can be customised as per the purpose, for instance the number of passengers (1-, 2-, 3-seater) furthermore being able to customise as per the purpose – personal, public and commercial use. The powertrain integrated to the underbody is composed of a simple EV system. Its components are minimised for the ease of upgrade of performance and range as required, and are controlled by an integrated inverter/converter control unit.

Both the scale and actual size model were 3D-printed. The actual sized model was made of plastic powder material (PMMA). The 3D printing equipment used to make this model has the highest level of printing speed and resolution, material loss rate close to zero, and is mainly used for casting. It can quickly make a shape that cannot be made by conventional CNC method, which is suitable for design reviews, therefore expected to be widely used in design field in the future.​​

Due to concerns about damage resulting from the material properties, the body wasn’t colored and test drive wasn’t conducted with the upper body assembled. The initial prototype was completed by assembling the upper body and the underbody which had gone through the test drive.



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