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Multi-award-winning British design and architecture studio Heatherwick Studio had been approached by IM Motors to create Airo, a vehicle that has driver and autonomous controls. It is an innovative electric car that not only removes pollutants as it travels but can also be used as an office and bedroom, could be in production next year.
Eagerly watching from the sidelines will be Ogle Models which played a key role in the creation of the pioneering Airo.
Heatherwick, founded by the world-renowned designer Thomas Heatherwick, has a long-established relationship with Ogle and asked the specialist team to make a fully hand-finished and painted model for their clients.
Philip Martin, director of the Herts-based company, said: “We have a long-running relationship with Heatherwick. Over that time, we have worked on numerous projects with them. We offer the high level of quality they look for with quick turnaround times. They appreciate being able to talk to us, knowing that any problem can be overcome with an efficient solution.”
The 1:4 scale (1200mm long) model needed a. very high level of detail, making SLA the most suitable process.
Around 180 hours were spent creating the Airo model, involving a number of team members from the rapid prototyping department, who carried out the 3D printing, the hand-finishing of the SLAs and, finally, assembling the model. The paint department also had several people working on it delivering the final finish.
The CAD model was supplied by the client, which Ogle then split into separate parts according to the different finishes that would be needed. Because of its size, the main body had to be split in half to fit on the build platform.
Ogle used two of their Neo800 3D printers for the creation of the Airo model – the main body parts were printed in white on one machine while the second produced the clear parts for the windows.
All the parts were hand-finished by Ogle’s specialists and assembled to make sure everything would fit perfectly, including bonding together the two halves of the car, seamlessly.
Once all the sections had been painted and polished to a high standard, they were reassembled and bonded together bringing the model to life.
“The final model was impressive. It was a lot of work to get to the end, but when we saw the final pieces go on and everything assembled it made all the hard work and effort worth it.”