Aaron Pearson
Vice President Public Relations

A new breed of car has been born. Using revolutionary design and production methods, the StreetScooter C16 Short Distance Vehicle was built by the team at Aachen University using an Objet1000 Multi-material 3D Production System by Stratasys.

3D Printing was used for all of the vehicle’s exterior plastic parts, including the large front and back panels, door panels, bumper systems, side skirts, wheel arches, lamp masks, and a few interior components, such as the retainer instrument board and a host of smaller components. Parts were produced using Stratasys’ tough Digital ABS material, enabling the engineering team to build a prototype car that could perform in strenuous testing environments at the same level as a vehicle made of traditionally manufactured parts.

streetscooter-c16 The fully-functional prototype of StreetScooter C16 electric car was developed in just 12 months by replacing traditional automotive manufacturing processes with Stratasys 3D printing throughout the design phase

Throughout the development of the StreetScooter C16, the Objet1000 multi-material 3D Production System was used for making prototype parts, as well as end-use manufactured parts and production tools in the final development stages. The system’s huge 1000 x 800 x 500mm (39.3 x 31.4 x 19.5in) build tray gives it the ability to print the full range of components up to a meter in length.

objet1000 3d printer Aachen University has the world’s largest multi-material 3D printer from Stratasys, the Objet1000, with the ability to produce parts combining hard and soft materials, all in a single build

The StreetScooter project was developed by the Production of Engineering of E-Mobility Components (PEM) of Aachen University. The StreetScooter company was founded in 2010 with the goal of developing an electric car that rivalled conventional vehicles on price with realistic performance, safety and sustainability. While specifications vary from model to model, a StreetScooter C16 is expected to typically weigh 450kg – (1000lbs ) excluding  battery, has a range of min. 100km (80 miles) and delivers a top speed of 100km/h (60mph), making it an ideal city vehicle.

Revolutionary from the start

Few aspects of the paradigm-breaking StreetScooter project were conventional. Funded by university professors and leading German automotive suppliers, the company brought together more than 80 companies, including Stratasys, to work with “Lead Engineering Groups” dedicated to different areas of StreetScooter’s development.

“The Objet1000 is the largest multi-material 3D Production System on the market and Aachen University was the first university in the world to have one,” said Achim Kampker, Professor of Production Management in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Aachen University. “Being able to use it in the development of large and small parts for StreetScooter was exciting in itself, but the contribution the 3D printed parts made to the construction of the car was enormous.

“The ability to produce full-scale prototypes that perform like the final parts accelerated testing and design verification, enabling us to bring to market a prototype electric car in just 12 months – something that is just unimaginable with traditional manufacturing.”

“By using the Objet1000, our largest 3D Printer, we are again demonstrating the continued strong connection between education and industry,” said Shelly Linor, director of global education at Stratasys. “Allowing students to work with  a 3D printer with a build tray of that size helps  prepare them for careers that include cutting-edge design on a large scale that are not only visually impressive, but also allow for functional innovation.”

Design on-the-fly

3D printing technology had been used before by Aachen University for StreetScooter. Various components of the StreetScooter were 3D printed in the early design phase of the car for the fast realization of geometric and functional prototypes. These included the retainer instrument board, the drive mode switch panel, the mirror compartment, and the Deutsche Post bonnet logo. The final production model of StreetScooter was developed for Deutsche Post AG and is now a larger capacity delivery van now on the streets in Germany.

digital-abs-stratasys C-Profile of the StreetScooter C16 door – 3D printed 1:1 scale in a single build using Stratasys’ tough Digital ABS material, enabling the part to be mounted directly onto the car frame for testing

“With the advanced 3D printing technology available to us from Stratasys, vehicles can be easily customized for specific customers, enabling us to design on-the-fly,” Kampker said. “These cars can be developed from scratch and ready in a matter of months, not years, as with traditional automotive production processes. The StreetScooter project has demonstrated to us how a whole new approach to car design and manufacturing is possible with 3D printing.”

If you’re attending EuroMold, you can see the StreetScooter… in person. We’ll be displaying it at our EuroMold booth next week, Hall 11 Booth D90, from Nov. 25-28, in Frankfurt, Germany.