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Local Motors Set To 3D Print A Car By September

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The car will be printed and assembled on-site at the International Manufacturing and Technology Show in Chicago.

Amanda Johnstone
  • 1 july 2014

Last year, Ford 3D printing specialist Harold Sears told the Wall Street Journal that Ford had been researching 3D technologies since the 80’s and were using 3D printing equipment and sand casting to build truck axles. In his interview, Mr. Sears discussed the concept of consumers having the ability to use 3D printers to print replacement parts for their cars in the future. This conversation was quickly shut down with Sears’ mention that the parts would have to be printed by the original equipment maker to ensure safety and warranty.

This September, open source collaborative manufacturer Local Motors will go one step beyond that conversation. The company will not only debut, but will print and assemble a 3D printed car on site at the International Manufacturing and Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago. The car to be produced will be ‘The Strati’ – the winning design of the 3D Printed Car Design Challenge ran by Local Motors earlier this year. The automobile is designed by Italian Michele Anoe. The eagerly anticipated Strati will have a convertible roof, an electric engine and will seat two people.

The final prototype will be printed as one piece at the IMTS. Live printing of the seats, dashboard, hood and trunk will also take place at the show. An electric power-train or ‘Mule’ as the Local Motors staff have affectionately nicknamed, has been taken from a Renault Twizy and installed to power the car.

You can see James Earle, Manufacturing Research Engineer from Local Motors drive the Mule here, testing its mechanics and electronics. The entire entertaining journey has been documented in the company blog.

Chief Executive of Local Motors, John “Jay” Rogers Junior, who founded the company in 2007, shared his excitement in a statement about the quick turnaround in printing and the impact it will have one current manufacturing techniques.

It took us less than 40 hours to print one car and less than four days to assemble the first prototype which is an unbelievably short amount of time. By the end of this (American) summer it will be less than 20 hours of printing, and we believe we can get it down to less than an hour of assembly by two people. Our goal in the end is to be radically different about the creation of cars; we sort of commonly say a car today is over 20,000 parts – we would like cars of the future to have less than 20 parts.

Local Motors

[h/t] Wall Street Journal

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