ATLANTA — Oak Ridge National Laboratory is pushing the bounds of 3-D printing — working with an Ohio machinery company to print a full-size car chassis from carbon-fiber reinforced plastics this fall at the International Manufacturing Technology Show.
ORNL, which runs a Carbon Fiber Technology Facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn., is working with Cincinnati Inc., a maker of laser cutting and other equipment in Harrison, Ohio, and Local Motors, a Phoenix-based company that develops low-volume specialty cars selected through collaborative design.
Local Motors is running a 3-D Printed Car Design Challenge. The winner will strongly influence the final car design that will be printed at IMTS, and win a $5,000 prize and a trip to the trade show.
Cincinnati Inc. is building a large machine to do the printing, by converting the gantry on one of its laser cutting machines into a 3-D printer, according to Vlastimil Kunc, of the research development staff for deposition science and technology at Oak Ridge's Materials Science and Technology Division. Cincinnati and ORNL signed a partnership agreement in March to develop the super-sized additive manufacturing equipment.
The car chassis machine will include printing, high-speed cutting and pellet feeding. Cincinnati, which makes metal fabrication equipment and powdered metal compacting presses, have dubbed the effort “Big Area Additive Manufacturing” — or BAAM.