Using insects as reference for designing the body of an electric sports car

25 Sep 2023

Lianhe Zaobao, 25 Sep 2023, 以昆虫为参考 设计拆换简易电动跑车外壳
Inspired by the biological structure and characteristics of insects, teams from two local educational institutions collaborated to use 3D printing technology to design and manufacture the external shell components of an electric sports car. This could also help to simplify the installation and replacement process.
This electric sports car project is a collaboration between teachers and students from LASALLE College of the Arts and the Singapore University of Technology and Design. The team at SUTD focused on building the chassis of the sports car, while the team at LASALLE designed the body. The project is at the assembly stage, but prototypes are currently on display at the Singapore Design Week exhibition.
The design team at LASALLE drew inspiration from the limb structure and regenerative properties of insects and used 3D printing technology to create the car’s body. “If you look closely at the structure of insects, you will find that most insects are made up of different parts. In addition, some parts of insects have regenerative abilities, like it can regrow a broken wing or leg. We used this inspiration to manufacture various parts of the sports car’s body through 3D printing to make it easier to install on the chassis. If a collision or damage occurs, only the damaged parts need to be reprinted, making installation and repairs simpler.”
Plans to complete production of the car body early next year
Joel Yong, a third-year student at LASALLE who is part of the design team, said that they chose polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) to make the body of the car. Not only is this material strong and durable, but it is also resistant to high temperatures and UV rays.
The chassis built by the SUTD team is equipped with a four-motor electric powertrain that can accelerate in two seconds. To reduce the weight of the chassis, the team constructed the body frame from aluminum. However, since aluminum is difficult to weld, they cleverly used the idea of ​​3D printed joints to ensure that the aluminum components can be assembled accurately according to the computer calculations.
“We plan to complete the production of the car’s body and install all components on the chassis by early next year,” said Professor Lim Seh Chun, Advisor, Special Projects, SUTD.