Last week, Elon Musk revealed conceptual plans for the Hyperloop, a solar-powered high-speed train that would transport passengers at speeds of up to 700 mph between Los Angeles and San Francisco. While it will probably be a long time before anyone attempts to build something as ambitious as the Hyperloop, one 3D printing outfit named Whiteclouds fabricated a model version of the air blasting train in just 24 hours. The model itself is pretty neat because it gives us a first non-rendered look at the Hyperloop cabin, complete with chairs, the elevated transport tubes supported by pillars, and even a mock-up of a station.
While it might seem like a tiny feat to 3D print a non-moving model train, the CEO of WhiteClouds Jerry Ropelato says this just one project that represents how print fabrication is changing the design world. Previously, using traditional modeling methods it would have been impossible to design and build a model just 24 hours. This, however, is just one example of how 3D printing is allowing designers to quickly realize anything — including seemingly pie in the sky concepts like the Hyperloop — and turn it into a real-life model that you can touch and inspect
Now that we have we have a model version to appreciate the futuristic aesthetics of the Hyperloop system, all we have to do is figure out the mechanical bits; like how to turn the same linear accelerators in a Tesla car into a railgun-style launch system for the train and that whole supercharged vacuum cleaner that lifts and helps to propel the train.