Infinium, a space-age solar panel on wheels and the University of Michigan’s contender for the upcoming World Solar Challenge, is a product of advanced engineering technologies like 3D printing and 3D scanning from Z Corporation . The solar car have used tweo principle products from the Z Corporation range- The ZScanner 700, and the ZPrinter multicolor 3D printer.
The ZPrinter multicolour 3D printer is used to create prototypes of parts like its ergonomic steering wheel and motor housing. The prototypes help the team conduct form, fit and functional testing before production, whilst the ZScanner 700 inspects prototypes against digital designs to ensure accuracy for wind tunnel testing. The scanner also captures the engineering data from solar car prototypes from throughout the team’s 20-year history.
“Each time we use the ZPrinter to create a part prototype, mold or car model we save weeks and thousands of dollars by not sending the work out to a service bureau,” said Steve Hechtman, 2009 project manager, recent graduate and four-year member of the University of Michigan Solar Car Team. “Each time we use the ZScanner we know we’re capturing precise engineering data to drive critical design decisions. We’re working faster and smarter, and Infinium shows it.”
The team will take Infinium, unveiled June 5, to the World Solar Challenge, an 1,800–mile race across Australia in October 2009.