KUHMUTE Charging Stations De-Clutter City Streets

Pooria Sohi January 31, 2022 3 min read

KUHMUTE uses Fusion 360 and the Formlabs Fuse 1 3D printer to design charging stations built for last-mile vehicles of all makes.

You’ve likely seen electric skateboards, electric scooters, and monowheel vehicles zipping around the streets over the past few years. Often referred to as last-mile vehicles, they help commuters get from A to B. They’re low effort to use, and commuters often combine them with some form of public transportation.

Most last-mile vehicles are offered by service companies or the city directly, such as Lime electric scooters and Citi Bike. This product diversity may seem like a transportation Utopia, but it does not come without its challenges. Many cities, such as London, have banned these vehicles because they clutter the already packed streets and sidewalks. Additionally, many cities are updating their fleets of bikes to be electric. Electric vehicles can be a pain for frequent commuters due to the charging process.

KUHMUTE is de-cluttering city streets

Enter KUHMUTE, a Michigan-based transportation company focused on tidying up city streets without compromising the convenience of last-mile vehicles. KUHMUTE, like so many startups, began as an idea that co-founders Peter Deppe and Scott Spitler formed while at university. While reading up on last-mile vehicles, Deppe and Spitler noticed a trend. None of the companies responsible for the vehicles were working on solutions for the clutter they caused. Deppe and Spitler started working on a charging station to create organized charging hubs where these vehicles—regardless of make.

kuhmute-charging-station

The co-founders initially worked out of a garage. Here they figured out how to charge multiple vehicles from various vendors at once via many charging ports. Thankfully, their collective experience included electrical, mechanical, and software engineering, enabling expedient product development.

Formlabs Fuse 1 to the rescue

KUHMUTE embraced additive manufacturing as a way to iterate on their product rapidly. “The Micro mobility industry relies heavily on manufacturing in China,” says Deppe. “Manufacturing in-house enables rapid product development and distribution.” That’s right—they even use 3D printed parts for the final product. These are specifically for custom electronics housing and interfaces for charging devices. And to encourage even more accessible mobility, KUHMUTE’s charging stations are compatible with certain electric wheelchairs.

kuhmute-vehicle-retyrn-system

The KUHMUTE team can produce strong enough 3D printed parts for production thanks to the Formlabs Fuse 1 SLS machine. “We didn’t start with SLA or SLS,” Deppe continues. “We were using FFF parts, but the resolution wasn’t good enough, and our customers were complaining about product finish.” The KUHMUTE team decided to invest in better hardware that would print the parts as they intended to manufacture them. Once Formlabs entered the picture, they landed on SLS technology. It’s less labor-intensive but still produces strong enough parts.

Autodesk Fusion 360 ties the process together

In addition to the Formlabs Fuse 1, the KUHMUTE team uses Fusion 360 for electronics, 3D modeling, animations, and imagery. Deppe and Spitler first learned Fusion 360 at university. They found that leveling up their Fusion 360 experience to create real-life products was seamless.

kuhmute-fusion-360

Producing a product that charges multiple products with different power needs and interfaces requires complex internal electronics. The team uses Autodesk EAGLE to develop their PCBs. They then bring the 3D data from EAGLE over to Fusion 360 for the mechanical design in a process they describe as “so seamless that it felt like a no brainer.”

Additionally, the rendering space enables the team to create imagery and animations explaining the product for investors and marketing purposes. They even used the Fusion 360 sketch environment to design their app icons.

What’s next for KUHMUTE? KUHMUTE charging stations are already in multiple cities across Michigan. They’re also anticipating a rollout of over 300 stations in Canada in the near future. Keep an eye out for KUHMUTE in your city soon.

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