A 3D printed car….Really?…..Why? Well, it’s the first of its kind in the world. Apparently, once assembled it was driven off of the showroom floor at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago this past Saturday. The vehicle, produced by Local Motors, is called the Strati.
A conventional vehicle has more than 20,000 components, but the Strati is composed of 40 parts. A team of engineers assembled the parts to make the car roadworthy from pieces printed out. The entire process took 44 hours, from beginning to end, and to top it all off, it was done in front of a live crowd.
The body, seats, and major components were printed with a giant 3D printer in a process called direct digital manufacturing (DDM). This printer can process parts as large as 3ft by 5ft by 10ft. The tires, seats, wheels, battery, wiring, suspension, electric motor and window shield were made using conventional methods. The idea behind the creation of this 3D vehicle is to show the viability of this kind of technology and to prove that it has a place in the automotive industry. This first vehicle isn’t for sale, but the company plans to be printed 3D cars for the public sometime in the next few months.
The Strati will have a top speed of 40mph and a battery range of between 120 – 150 miles. The Arizona based company, Local Motors is hoping to sell the car for between US $18,000 – US $30,000. CEO of Local Motors, John Rogers takes pride in the fact that they are the first company to make a 3D-printed car using carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic. Local Motors has been making motorcycles, motorized skateboards and other vehicles since 2007, using the same method. The battery –powered, two passenger car will be a delight to drive to the grocery store.