This automaker has set new records to prove its 3D printing technology

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Enlarge / The Czinger 21C features tandem seats and a 3.5:1 lift-to-drag ratio.

Rolex/Tom O’Neal

MONTEREY, Calif.—Perhaps the coolest thing I saw at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show was a concept car showing off the work of Divergent 3D. The intriguing thing wasn’t the concept itself, but rather the direct metal laser sintering technique that Divergent and its founder Kevin Czinger were developing as a much faster way to build low-volume vehicles.

Czinger started developing 3D printers after co-founding an electric vehicle company. “I’ve learned that what’s holding back the progress of the automotive industry is hard metal tooling and stamping,” Czinger told me in 2016. advance for the design and construction of equipment, which must be amortized, and modifications to that equipment become prohibitively expensive.”

Sounds cool – did he go somewhere?

Too often we get a glimpse of a promising new technology and never hear about it again. Fortunately, that is not the case here. Fast forward six years, and not only are Divergent’s 3D printers used by OEMs around the world, but Czinger is using them to create its own vehicles. They were on display at the Quail, an event that is part summer garden party and car show. It’s now a hot spot for the ultra-low volume, ultra-high performance side of the automotive industry.

“Divergent 3D has really become a big, top-tier supplier for a lot of big automakers,” explained Lukas Czinger, senior vice president of operations at Divergent and co-founder of Czinger. “What we’ve done with Divergent is invent our own design software, make our own 3D printing machines, our own materials, and our own assembly system. We have a factory in Los Angeles, and we make things like suspension systems or rear frames or front frames, and we supply those to major automakers.”

Such supplier deals are almost always confidential unless disclosed by the automaker, but just before car week Aston Martin announced it was using a Divergent printed rear subframe for its DBR22 concept. .

“Divergent’s mission is really to go global and become a platform company, to have hundreds of micro-factories all over the world,” Lukas told me. The idea is to work with OEM designs like any other supplier would.

“We own the printers, we own the assembly cells, we print, we assemble, and we ship the part to them. We’re probably located in most of these guys’ factories,” Lukas said.

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