US car manufacturer Local Motors has selected the design for its first 3D-printed car, which will be printed, finished and assembled over six days at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago this September.
More than 200 designs were submitted to Local Motors in a competition to select the design for a working, 3D-printed electric vehicle.
The judges have ruled ‘Strati’ by Michele Anoè as the winner, but aspects of the runner-up and winner of the community vote, ‘Internal Strut Frame’ (ISF) by Greg Thompson, may also be used to inform the final design.
Direct digital manufacturing
Founded in 2007, Local Motors, a Phoenix, Arizona-headquartered company, brings the maker movement of co-creation and micro-manufacturing to car manufacturing, building vehicles through the input of its community and their designs.
The ISF 3D-printed car concept by Greg Thompson
Local Motors’ Direct Digital Manufacturing project has been investigating the use of a hybrid additive/subtractive machine developed by Oak Ridge National Labs. Its goal is to create the majority structure of a working vehicle using an additive/subtractive hybrid methodology and demonstrate that this methodology could be more economical compared to other existing methods.
The Phoenix micro-factory has already created a ‘mule’, or prototype vehicle fitted with a motor and battery, to test this process before printing the final production model at IMTS. It has even had its first test drive and, as demonstrated in the video below, it squeaks but, more importantly, it runs.
As for the final look of Local Motors’ 3D-printed car, it will likely be a mix of Strati’s go-kart-like two-seater buggy and ISF’s sportier model.
Strati features a single-piece body, retractable roof and removable seats, while ISF has intricate side openings and a longer body. Strati’s design is also reinforced with aluminium and carbon fibre, which may need to be modified for the printing method.