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The 3D Future Of Manufacturing

posted on Sep 17 2014 by Gabe Grover

The 3D Future Of Manufacturing

The use of 3d printers has increased dramatically over the past few years, from implementation of the technology being used in medicine, construction, clothing and now, in the manufacturing of cars.

Previously, 3d printing was regarded as such a thing that is mainly used in the world of medicine, the printing of human tissue, teeth or even organs.

But recently, Pheonix based car manufacturer, ‘Local Motors’, revealed the fully functional ‘Strati’, the world’s first electric car constructed mostly of 3d printed components and it truly looks like something from the year 3000.

Founded in 2007, 'Local Motors' take pride in their open source design process, and it paid off when Italian designer ‘Michele Anoe’ designed a concept of what the vehicle could look like in a 'Local Motors' Challenge.

Following this, Local Motors began the process of making the car, and after 44 hours of printing, the Strati was made reality. A miniscule amount of time compared to the 2,500 hours it took to print Urbee 2 last year, (the world’s first 3d printed petrol car).

Conventional cars usually contain approximately 20,000 components, the Strati has 40. The Strati is powered by an electric powertrain made by Renault Twizy, and can reach a top speed of 40mph. It also has a battery range of between 120-150 Miles, which although may not seem like much, one must take into consideration that this car was printed, and for now, is not commercialised. But just a week ago, the car was shown at Chicago’s International Manufacturing Technology Expo and was received by the public with awe, shock and praise.

(Consumers got to experience the Strata at Chicago's IMTE)

Check out the timelapse video by Local Motors that shows the vigorous printing process which is fflawlessly complemented by a remix of  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's 'Flight Of The Bumblebee'.

3D printing in vehicles is now not restricted to road cars, ‘Strakka Racing’ have begun printing parts for their prototypes in preparation for the World Endurance Championship. 3d printing is beneficial in many ways; it’s cheaper, faster and more convenient than manufacturing runs.                        

Here’re some 3d printed parts featured on one of Strakka’s models:

(A 3d printed dash panel)

(This is a 3d printed brake duct) 

Along with this, the car features 3d printed air intake and dive planes amongst other things.

Strakka’s Dan Walmsley is confident in saying that 3d printing will be engraved within the motoring industry stating that ‘Whilst we've probably underutilised it on this car, in the future you're going to see cars with a much higher proportion of it."

So what do you think? Is the reduced price worth something printed out of thin air, or should manufacturers stick to factory run manufacturing instead?