Next-generation manufacturing takes on a 50-year-old icon as ORNL researchers transform the classic Shelby Cobra sports car into a 3D-printed laboratory on wheels. Additive manufacturing enables the seamless integration of advanced technologies with design flexibility and modularity, while providing a platform for rapid development and evaluation. The printed car incorporates “plug-and-play” components such as new engine, battery, and fuel cell technologies; hybrid system designs; and power electronics and wireless charging systems, allowing researchers to easily and quickly test out innovative ideas in a driving laboratory.

Researchers printed the Shelby Cobra at DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL using the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine, which can manufacture strong, lightweight composite parts without the need for tooling. The new BAAM system, which was jointly developed by ORNL and Cincinnati Incorporated, is 500 to 1,000 times faster and capable of printing polymer components ten times larger than today’s industrial additive machines — in sizes greater than one cubic meter.

ORNL researchers are developing technologies that accelerate the deployment of new vehicles and efficient transportation systems powered by domestic, renewable, clean energy. Building on core science capabilities, researchers are exploring the unique advantages of additive manufacturing to create new vehicle technologies with higher efficiency and reduced cost.

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