A shot of Local Motors in action building their world first, 3D printed car (via AOL)
It's finally happening, folks. The world has gone 3-D printing mad! Local Motors is heading a first in its class projects to be the first company to entirely 3-D print a car in only six days. Of course, parts such as batteries, wiring, and other un-printable will be sourced and added during assembly. However, while the traditional vehicle requires over 20,000 parts for assembly, this Local Motors car only requires 40 parts. Quite a difference. However, will it be able to run is the question we're all asking.
This project was run as part of the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, September 8-13, 2014. On September 14, Local Motors took their 3-D printed car for a test drive out of Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center. You can see an ongoing blog of each stage of the 3-D printing process and the test drive on the local motors website.
The car was 3-D printed using carbon-reinforced plastic and additive manufacturing methods at a Big Area Additive Manufacturing printer. The team notes the importance of getting the 3-D printing materials correct for each part of the car in order to get the right outcome; comparable to sourced parts.
The ultimate product is a car they are calling the Strati. It looks like a larger-than-life Tonka toy, but it actually works. Local Motors is planning on releasing a consumer line of 3-D printed vehicles in the coming months. They are hoping the project will be a more sustainable and cost-effective method of creating vehicles. And hey, they may be right because DARPA thinks so too!
DARPA chose to work with Local Motors in the crowd-sourced project to create the next Combat Support Vehicle earlier this year. I can imagine the military minds reeling with ideas of 3-D printing, fully-functional fleets of military vehicles.
This concept is exciting, but I can't help thinking how well this car may fair in a road accident. Still, if it's cheap enough it could be a cool thing to get you from point A to point B. Albeit, I truly hope they work on the design and create a roof for this thing – Chicago weather is not kind.
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