The idea of 3D printing is a huge concept with far reaching implications on all aspects of modern life. If you can design it, then you can print it. In the not too distant future, you will be able to walk into a car showroom and choose a design, customize it to your liking and voila! By the time the digital ink has dried on your paperless paperwork, your brand new and totally custom 3D printed car will be ready for you to drive away!
This is the long term vision of Jay Rogers. Rogers is the CEO of Local Motors, the company that just built the first drivable 3D printed car on the planet. The car is called Strati, it is an electric, micor-sized two-seater that was officially unveiled only last week at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, Illinois, US.
In comparison to a standard car, Strati has just 49 parts, including its 3D printed body, plus more conventional components such as the motor, wheels, seats and the windshield. Whereas, most cars have a range of between 5,000 and 6,000 parts, (According to Ford Motors).
The motor company has encouraged their members to share vehicle design ideas, which the community has then worked to perfect. The completed products are then sold online and in retail stores by Local Motors. Local Motors ran a project approximately 18 months ago, which wanted to simplify the car design and the manufacturing process through Direct Digital Manufacturing. The firm received more than 200 submissions for car designs and they ultimately choose a design by Michele Anoe, from Italy.
Apparently Anoe’s design stood out because it fit precisely with Local Motors’ desired production technique, combining 3D printing and a subtractive machining.