3D printing the future of urban transportation

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They say that necessity is the mother of invention and spurred on by his own injuries and the disabilities of close relatives, Sune Pedersen from Copenhagen has invented a whole new way of getting around. As a software engineer by trade he used his talents, and his Ultimaker 2 Extended+, to create an innovative range of urban transportation vehicles for mobility impacted people.

3D Printed Skateboards

To achieve this, he set up Faraday Motion – a project to create an open source platform for personal electric vehicles. And with his team he’s already realised two incredible electric skateboards called the Spine and its successor, the Hyperboard.

Faraday Motion Skating in Copenhagen
The Faraday Motion team boarding through Copenhagen

To move forward the rider simply uses the Faraday Motion app, tilting the phone forward to accelerate and tilting it backwards for braking. It’s beautifully simple and great fun to use. Just as it is with Ultimaker – all the source files are online including the hardware and electronics, accelerating the creation of new ideas to create ever more useful and powerful transportation.

Faraday Motion Controller App
The Faraday Motion controller app

Sune's vision is simple: “We’re here to change the future of urban transportation,” he tells us, “and the personal side of it, that you have a personal vehicle that can be customized exactly to your needs, is actually going to be that future.”

Faraday Motion Spine
Faraday Motion Hyperboard
The Spine and Hyperboard 3D printed skateboards

The modularity of the Faraday Motion platform means that the parts designed now can ultimately be used in any electric vehicle the user desires, be it a skateboard or a wheelchair. “We needed to create something that was light, convenient and something that could take you a good range. Four wheels and a deck, it's a good starting point to add things to.” With the help of the open source community the Faraday Motion team hopes that the crowd will come up with additional innovations and use the parts for vehicles they could never have imagined possible.

Using the Ultimaker 2 Extended+

To bring this vision to life Sune uses the new Ultimaker 2 Extended+, which has made a considerable difference to his workflow – allowing him to quickly and easily print 3D parts for the skateboards like custom housings, covers, protectors and even experimenting with printed tires.

The benefit of the 0.8mm nozzle is obviously the print speed, we accelerate by a factor of 4. So we can go, on a lid for example, from around 20-something hours to around 6 or 7 hours.
Sune Pedersen in the Faraday Motion office
Sune in the Faraday Motion office

As his Ultimaker 2 Extended+ comes with interchangeable nozzles, Sune has been able to use larger nozzles to reduce his print time from days down to a matter of hours. “The benefit of the 0.8mm nozzle is obviously the print speed, we accelerate by a factor of 4. So we can go, on a lid for example, from around 20-something hours to around 6 or 7 hours.”

Another enhancement is its geared feeder, allowing Sune to print using a variety of materials far more easily – even including flexible materials! All these improvements are real game-changers for Sune. Not only does this mean he can spend more time thinking and less time setting up prints – but it also accelerates the speed in which he can realise any new ideas. However, as Sune notes: “This isn’t at the cost of quality, in fact I would say this has actually improved by a factor of ten so we’re getting really great results.”

The Faraday Motion team

Kickstarter

Sune’s ambition knows no bounds and in 2016 Faraday Motion is planning a Kickstarter campaign, “We’ll be launching our campaign with an improved, even more stable product – so watch out for us!”

Ultimaker Hyperboard
Ultimaker Hyperboard

We’re sure this is just the start of a whole range of innovative products that will come from Faraday Motion. In fact, we've taken our very own Ultimaker branded Hyperboard for a spin around the office more than a few times, and can agree: the future they envision is quite near.

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