Tesla, 3D printing and sand: what’s in the pipeline?

Image: Free to use under the Unsplash License - Austin Ramsey

With the goal of reducing production costs, renowned car manufacturer Tesla is working on a new way of making electric vehicles.

According to an article issued by Reuters, the company would aim to die cast nearly all the complex underbody of an EV in one piece – rather than having more than 400 parts as seen in a standard car. With no doubt, one technology that can enable an all-in-one production like this is Additive Manufacturing.

We know for a fact that Tesla harnesses AM for a wide range of activities even though the company has always remained quiet in the field.

In this specific case, sources told our media colleagues from Reuters that the giant molds for a large part are designed and tested for mass production. The engineering team is also exploring how casts can incorporate hollow subframes with internal ribs to cut weight and boost crashworthiness. Such production requires the use of industrial 3D printing and sand.

One company that directly comes to our mind after reading was voxeljet as they already shared how their technology can produce automotive parts – but that could also be ExOne.

The design validation cycle using sand casting may require two to three months. This can already shorten the entire product development cycle which can take up to four years.

Three of the five sources said one problem with presses using high clamping power, however, was that they cannot house the 3D printed sand cores needed to make hollow subframes.” These challenges could be overcome using a different type of press into which molten alloy can be injected slowly, resulting this way in better castings.

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