Professor Werner Sauer, a member of the design faculty of the HAWK, helped Schneider bring attention to the new technology as the team moved on to include laser scanning equipment and CNC technology in their laboratory.
One of the projects the team eventually came to create was the Rapid Racer, a test bed for 3D printing technology and transportation.
Designed by Johannes Zäuner, Barbara Kotte, and Andreas Schulz, the Rapid Racer, created over the course of ten days with help from Stratasys, is comprised of 3,600 layers of ABS plastic (each a mere 0.25 mm thick) which were applied at a constant 140° F.
Powered by a standard 18-volt cordless screwdriver (and apart from the gear wheel, wheels, chain and a few screws), the Rapid Racer was produced entirely by 3D printing – and in one piece. The total weight of the car's printed parts is a slight 18.2 pounds and the weight of the complete racer checked in at a startling 29.5 pounds. When you consider that the weight of the cordless driver itself is nearly five pounds, you can begin to appreciate the totality of the spare design.
The production of the vehicle ultimately demonstrated a number of possible advantages to using 3D printing. It required no standard tooling, the complete file size used to describe and manufacture the machine was a lightweight 44 MB and the design can be scaled and adapted to the size of the end user on the fly for each iteration.
As for styling, the Rapid Racer looks quite a bit like contemporary motorcycle sidecar racing rigs. With its fore-mounted handlebars and twistgrip throttle (the steel cable wasn't printed, but the entire throttle assembly was), the rider footpegs were placed at the back wheel.
It's now included in the exhibition, Out of Hand: Materializing the Post Digital, at the MAD Museum of Arts and Design. Focused on digital fabrication in contemporary art, architecture and design, the exhibit was curated by Ronald Labaco to showcase 120 groundbreaking works by 85 artists, designers and architects from over 20 countries.
The show also includes works by renowned artists , architects and designers like Ron Arad, Barry X Ball, Chuck Close, Zaha Hadid, Anish Kapoor, Maya Lin, Marc Newson, Roxy Paine, Frank Stella and Hiroshi Sugimoto.
"From sculptural to functional beauty to fantasy conceptual idiosyncrasies, the works of art in Out of Hand, all created in the past decade, demonstrate an explosive, unprecedented scope of artistic expression," said Labaco of the exhibit.
The Rapid Racer was nominated for the Bundes Design Award back in 2012.