3D Printed Shelby Cobra Shows You Why Technology Is Cool

Nowadays, you can download pretty much anything off the internet, from recipes for drinks to guides on how to stay fit. But soon, you might even be able to download your favorite car. That Ferrari they only made 10 of or the E-Type roadster of your dreams could be ready in a matter of hours.
3D Printed Shelby Cobra Shows You Why Technology Is Cool 1 photo
Photo: screenshot from Youtube
This next video shows how a 3D printer made a replica of the 1965 Shelby Cobra sportscar. It was put together by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for this year's Detroit Auto Show, but also celebrates the Shelby Cobra's 50th anniversary.

“You can print out a working vehicle in a matter of days or weeks,”said Lonnie Love, leader of ORNL’s Manufacturing Systems Research group. “You can test it for form, fit and function. Your ability to innovate quickly has radically changed.  There’s a whole industry that could be built up around rapid innovation in transportation.”

A team of specialists printed the Cobra using something called a Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine that can cope with sizes bigger than 1 cubic meter. In total, it took them 6 months to design, manufacture and assemble the Shelby, but the printing process itself only took 24 hours.

The Shelby was printed using 20% carbon fiber reinforced ABS material and after that, off-the-shelf replica parts were used for the headlights and other components. The bad news is that we still can't rely on the machines to actually make a car. The printed body is rough and looks like an unfinished sculpture, so it needs sanding, primer and paint. But its creators say it can print components 500 to 1000 times faster than today’s industrial machines, so it's very useful for prototyping.

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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