How This $28 Million Startup Hopes to save lots of the World With 3D Printing

Divergent 3D, founded by a one-time investor and two-time entrepreneur, holds patents on technologies that allow carmakers to print vehicles.

Kevin Czinger says he really wants to completely change how cars are designed, but his motivation isn’t money or fame. It’s to greatly help humanity avoid the "suicidal direction that folks are heading," he declares.

By shaking up how cars are created, Czinger believes, the world will be saved from an impending climate disaster. And that’s where 3D printing will come in. Yes, that’s right: Some day, most cars will be manufactured using 3D printing technology, if Czinger gets his way.

But first, an aside, because you’re probably thinking, Well, think about ‘saving the world’ with something we’ve already got: electric cars?

The right response there is, Not fast . Yes, drivers switching wholesale to electric vehicles would definitely make a big dent in the CO2 damage that tailpipe exhaust creates. Yet those cars are simply a Band-Aid solution, because the electricity they might need comes largely from nonrenewable sources. So picture a Band-Aid trying to cover a gaping environmental wound.

Alternately, the simplest way to reduce environmentally friendly damage cars have long fomented is something people don’t usually consider: automobile manufacturing. According to a US report, manufacturing may be the single largest way to obtain the damage automobiles unleash on the surroundings.

A power vehicle’s batteries take into account in regards to a third of its weight, as the carbon composites and aluminum in its body additionally require a whole lot of energy within its production and processing.

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Even though low-emission vehicles could be good for the entire environment in places in the usa where green energy providers already abound — think California — electric cars simply enhance the problem in places where coal still rules — think China.

Because coal, as we well know, is a global-warming bomb.

The area of the Blade that’s 3D printed may be the chassis, not the complete vehicle. The business says a chassis like this can be assembled in just a matter of minutes.

Image credit: Divergent 3D

"The [reduction of] tailpipe exhaust," Czinger says, “is fooling you into convinced that you are not creating a super-destructive system, that any potential environmental benefits are offset." That’s a blunder, he says.

“You’re vastly accelerating the destruction of the surroundings."

So, how does this Los Angeles-based entrepreneur, who walked from his first startup, intend to shake the pollution out of the way the automobile industry builds cars? His answer brings us back to 3D printing.

Czinger’s company, Divergent 3D, created and holds the patents for 3D-printing equipment and software that specifically allows carmakers to print individual bits of a vehicle, each which is then assembled yourself or machine. The procedure requires less energy and fewer materials than current manufacturing methods, Czinger explains, by replacing the hard-metal tooling, stamping, welding and painting currently necessary to create today’s vehicles.

In a research study, Divergent discovered that its process eliminates 80 percent of factory costs and decreases the quantity of chassis structure parts by about 75 percent in comparison to typical vehicle-manufacturing practices.

"The device doesn’t care if you are doing the most complicated layer cake on the globe or you’re performing a simple nail," Czinger says. "We’re looking at it as something we will continuously innovate around, and we will license that, in order that people can create structures that are a lot more functional plus much more profitable and use vastly less material and energy."

Czinger says he sees Qualcomm, which licenses the usage of the chips within devices such as for example smartphones, as a model for Divergent. His own company, which emerged from stealth 3 years following its 2011 founding, employs about 55 people, a lot of them engineers. Therefore far, it’s raised a complete around $28 million. This past year, Divergent also announced a partnership with PSA, the French automobile giant.

PSA weighed in on the offer: "We have become impressed by the promising new opportunities in Divergent 3D’s technology. We’re convinced these spectacular advances in 3D printing can help position PSA Group as a leader in automobile manufacturing," said Carlos Tavares, chairman of the managing board of PSA Group, in a news release in March.

Divergent 3D creates car parts using metal 3D printing that bypasses probably the most energy-intensive factory operations such as for example fixturing, stamping, welding and e-coating.

Image credit: Divergent 3D

"It has the potential to dramatically reduce the size and scope of our manufacturing footprint, reduce overall vehicle weight and build complexity, while also giving us almost limitless flexibility in design output,” Tavares said. “We are discussing a radical change for our industry.”

Czinger plans for Divergent to partner with major automakers and commercialize the technology, which he believes could eventually result in what he calls a democratization of cars. For the reason that scenario, individual designers and small firms would create car models, and customers would special-order them. The bigger automakers could become the maker, certifier and distributor, combined, for smaller brands.

"Design, engineer, send data, manufacture, assemble the typical parts and customized Lego block connectors and you have an object," Czinger says, ticking off the steps of Divergent’s process. "That’ll be for a whole selection of complex structures: vehicles, maybe later on architecture, aerospace vehicles, etc.

“You’ve democratized even the larger-scale industries because there is no big capital barrier to them anymore, and you’ve relocalized the manufacturing. That’s what I believe the near future will be."

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Czinger’s past dates back to Cleveland, where he grew up, and where he previously a love of cars ingrained into him from a age.

"I was raised in a comparatively large family where probably from enough time I possibly could physically help my brothers, they enslaved me focusing on cars," Czinger says. "And of course I built and raced cars. I usually had this love of cars.”

In senior high school, when this son of a housewife and door-to-door salesman was captain of the football and wrestling teams, Czinger also developed his other passion: a love of nature and a feeling — instilled by his Jesuit teachers — that people are all in charge of the planet. "These were totally centered on stewardship," he remembers. "You had completely responsibility for creating a human society and for looking after nature."

Following graduation, Czinger attended Yale, where he played football under Carm Cozza, who coached the team from 1965 to 1996. Cozza gushed over Czinger in his 1999 book, True Blue , writing, "Kevin Czinger was the toughest kid to play football at Yale in my own 32 years as head coach.

Divergent 3D partners with SLM Solutions Group to build up specific metal 3D printing hardware and software.

Image credit: Divergent 3D

“No question about any of it," Cozza’s memoir continued. "He was also the most unusual personality, most likely the outstanding overachiever, maybe the brightest student, and definitely the scariest individual."

Scary? "When I say Kevin was tough,” Cozza wrote, “ After all he was competitive to the idea of obsession, and loyal almost to a fault."

Czinger earned his BA from Yale, accompanied by a law degree from Yale Law School in 1987.

"I was always rebellious against authority," Czinger says. But came his stint in the Marines Corp. Reserves — inspired by his parents and brother who served in the military — from 1983 to 1992. There, the rebelliousness stopped. "What they did for me personally is [make me] say, ‘This may be the context I’m in. The very last thing I would like to be is disruptive. I must easily fit into here and support what the Marine Corps does.’

“You should understand context and become ready to discipline yourself for a larger aim."

That greater aim included interning with Goldman Sachs during law school, clerking for Judge Gerhard Gersell — who famously presided over the Watergate and Iran-Contra cases — then moving to employment as an assistant attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s office, Southern District of NY, under Rudy Giuliani, who of course would later end up being the city’s mayor.

Relatively early in his tenure, the then-young attorney Czinger even led a case. Then made a go back to Goldman Sachs, where he became the executive director of media, telecom and technology group, from 1991 to 1995.

"Those ideas transformed me from someone who had zero presenting and public speaking skills — I was shy and nervous — into somebody who could operate, think on the feet in a logical way and address a wide selection of people," he says of these early years.

In 2008, Czinger finally acted on his love of automobiles by leaving both law and Wall Street to be co-founder of CODA Automotive, a company which produced electric vehicles.

His experience at CODA ultimately resulted in the founding of Divergent 3D, but first, Czinger had to fail.

CODA aimed to create electric vehicles for the Chinese market by converting a preexisting Chinese sedan to energy, but Czinger discovered that the associated economic details weren’t in the business’s favor. "In the event that you look at electric cars, autonomous vehicles — most of these programs people are discussing — they are all lower-volume vehicle programs," he highlights.

He says he wanted the company to improve course, but because he previously raised so much funding and distributed equity, his share of the business had become minimal. So, in 2011, Czinger left CODA to start out researching the concepts that could eventually become Divergent 3D.

While researching his next move, Czinger found studies, primarily these UN report, that detailed environmentally friendly impact of automobile manufacturing. He also found inspiration in Stephen Emmott’s book, Ten Billion , which predicts a worldwide calamity after the world population reaches 10 billion.

"By 2025 we’ll have 8 billion people within an industrialized world that’s scaling up," Czinger says, ominously. "We will look [back] at that 120-year period where we built 2 billion vehicles, and within the next 30 to 35 years we’re going to build 4 billion-plus vehicles, which typically are 50 percent heavier.

“So, we will, in a fraction of that time period, triple the quantity of vehicles ever stated in the history of the earth."

He continues: "From a materials and energy standpoint, you are looking at a magnitude difference in environmental destruction. Which means that just how we design and manufacture vehicles is crucial to your survival."

This fact reflects the sobering reality that electric vehicles is often as detrimental to the surroundings as gas-powered ones — and Czinger isn’t the only person saying that: Ozzie Zehner, writer of Green Illusions, declared that, "Moving from petroleum-fueled vehicles to electric cars begins to look a growing number of like shifting in one brand of cigarettes to some other."

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Czinger says that once he started looking at the problem, he knew an incremental solution wouldn’t be sufficient. There would have to be a way to get rid of the specific machine tooling and long assembly lines currently used to manufacture vehicles, he reasoned. That solution? 3D printing.

Divergent showed off its 3D-printed car, the Blade, at CES 2017.

Image credit: Divergent 3D

"The imagine car engineering is to look end to get rid of at a car and only select the materials that are perfectly optimized for every segment," he says. "That’s what [3D printing] permits you to do."

Divergent got PSA up to speed after it shaved about 150 kilograms off a Peugeot 308 and reduced its number of structural parts by a lot more than 75 percent. Not just that, Czinger says, however the updated version of the automobile won an improved crash rating.

During our interview, Czinger will give lengthy answers involving technical descriptions. He even expresses gratitude to the Carnegie Library System in Cleveland, where he spent weekends as a youngster reading for entire afternoons — his favorite pastime growing up.

Clearly, he’s a lifelong learner. And, today, he says, when tasked to understand something new, he requires a similar method of those library days of his youth: reading and more reading.

"The truth is you can teach yourself anything," Czinger says. "First, I really do an over-all survey of what the literature is, to comprehend what folks are thinking; and if I find particular individuals who I wish to talk to, I’ll speak to them."

Still, while all that idealistic stuff about fighting climate change is Divergent’s mission, Czinger has his feet planted firmly on the world. He knows Divergent is a business first.

"The most internal discipline you may possibly have, because you are attempting to change the world, you must watch out and say, ‘I’m not going to change anything if I go out of money,’" Czinger says. "I’m not likely to change anything easily don’t survive. I must ensure that we maintain our survival."

Meanwhile, he says he doesn’t see Divergent as an extension of himself. "My ego doesn’t depend upon this company,” he says.

“Whether my entire life is prosperous or not doesn’t depend upon this company. I’ll give it, like, a massive, crazy, crazy, crazy effort because I’m a competitive person and I believe it is the right move to make. But, as a individual, this is simply not about ‘me.’ The main thing is usually to be a good person and also have those relationships."

He adds, "EASILY thought this is about making additional mon

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