3-D printing is perhaps one of the most exciting new technological developments of recent years.
It could completely revolutionize the way products are made, allowing them to be printed at source in any color or shape you can think of.
Areion's 3-D printed race car has been constructed using exactly that concept.
Almost every component on the electric racing car has been printed, rather than formed, cast or forged. A component, such as a steering arm, can be made to specification out of whatever material you choose, allowing it to be purpose-designed and built.
It also alleviates the need for economies of scale, where a batch of components must be produced to reduce the individual cost. With 3-D printing, producing a dozen identical units or a dozen individual units costs the same.
According to Business Insider, Areion's car is the work of Group T, from International University College Leuven, near Brussels, Belgium. The car has been designed to compete in Formula Student 2012, where international universities and colleges engineer and build small, single-seat racing cars.
The Areion's components were constructed by Materialise using its Mammoth stereolithography machines, and showcase plenty of designed-in features that would increase the cost of components using any other production method. These include the unique texture on the car's nose-cone, a complex system of cooling channels in the side pods, and a 3-D printed body with integrated clips and connection points.
However, like any other technology, its benefits aren't simply limited to the track.
We've previously featured the Urbee 3-D printed hybrid-electric car, a curiously-shaped pod-like vehicle from the U.S. The Urbee's entire body has been constructed using 3-D printing.
So whether your car of the future will be printed down the road, or you'll be able to print your own brackets and fittings for that electric car conversion, this is certainly a technology to keep your eye on...