Whip Up A New Whip: Launching The World's First 3D Printed Car

Everything about the automotive industry is changing, from manufacturing to fuel to even the required cognizance of the driver (or now, computer) behind the wheel. Recently, a major manufacturing barrier was broken when Arizona's Local Motors company used an oversize 3D printer to craft up a new car, the Strati, from scratch.

One of the highlights of the International Manufacturing Technology Show 2014 in Chicago, the 2-seater Strati was printed and assembled in 44 hours. According to techodrom.com, it was built as a single-piece chassis augmented by 39 other parts (dramatically lower than the 20,000-odd bits that comprise conventional automobiles.) The Strati was created from carbon fiber-reinforced black plastic and runs on a battery with a range of 130-150 miles.

"We are the first company to make a 3D-printed car using carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic," Local Motors CEO John Rogers told the Wall Street Journal. "The seats, body, chassis, dash, center console and hood will all be 3D printed."

That leaves a few parts that had to be obtained by conventional means, including the tires, windshield, battery, electric motors, wiring, suspension, and seat cushions. Still, it's a pretty impressive invention, made possible in part thanks to the relatively behemoth 3D printer (made by Cincinnati Inc.) that was able to print at dimensions up to 3 feet by 5 feet by 10 feet.

Local Motors is proud of their product and states on their website they'll be creating more "production-level 3D printed vehicles that will be available to the general public for purchase in the months following the show."  Prices are expected to run around $18,000-$30,000, depending on additional features.  Now, is it possible to 3D print some fuzzy dice?

Do computers dream of fun little 3-D printed joyrides?

2 comments:

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