These nodes are joined together by lightweight and stiff carbon fiber tubes at interfaces like these. The internal features of these interfaces — which are used to vacuum-inject the adhesive that perfectly affixes the carbon tubes to the nodes — are what necessitates 3D printing.
Each of the nodes is labeled during its 3D printing to aid in quick assembly. The nodes and carbon tubes form a tubular frame not unlike what you'd see in a race car. DM states that its node construction yields a chassis that is "90 percent lighter than traditional cars, despite being much stronger and more durable."
DM Technologies tells us that a team of two workers was able to assemble the Blade's tubular frame in about half an hour. Final assembly of the engine, body shell, suspension and finishing — obviously — takes a bit longer than that.
Because the 3D-printed nodes are customizable and the carbon tube matrix is scalable, the underpinnings of the Blade could easily be scaled and re-shelled to accommodate, for example, a small pickup truck or large sedan.
Founder and CEO of Divergent Microfactories Kevin Czinger tells me
that, at about 1,400 pounds and with an output of about 700 horsepower,
the Blade has a better power-to-weight ratio than the Bugatti Veyron.
DM plans to sell a limited number of Blades out of its own microfactory, but the company says it ultimately envisions "democratizing" auto manufacturing by providing its node-building techniques to others.
According to DM, "The goal is to put the platform in the hands of small entrepreneurial teams around the world, allowing them to set up their own microfactories and build their own cars and, eventually, other large complex structures."
“At Divergent Microfactories,we’ve found a way to make automobiles that holds the promise of radically reducing the resource use and pollution generated by manufacturing. It also holds the promise of making large-scale car manufacturing affordable for small teams of innovators," Czinger says in a release June 24.