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World's First 3D Printed Car
posted on Nov 12 2015 by Kiri Nowak
A few of years ago I was introduced to the world of 3D printing and it absolutely blew my mind. Quite simply, 3D printing is the manufacturing of three dimensional objects made by laying down layers of material until the object is created. For me, as I watched a 3D lamp being printed I thought ‘this must have been what it felt like when people watched a television for the first time’; I felt like I was seeing the future.
Fast forward three years down the line and now I discover that the world’s first 3D printed cars are going to be produced and sold to the public. As of spring 2016 you will be able to pre-order the first LM3D cars from Local Motors for just $53,000 (£35,000) and delivery of the vehicles should be ready by early 2017. The Arizona based company have developed a fully functional, road worthy car that resembles a beach dune buggy. The cars may not be super speedy, but they’re designed to be safe, smart and sustainable.
Local Motors selected the Swim design of Ken Lo of Portland, Oregon who won the company’s Project Redacted challenge. They went on to print the full size version at the 2014 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago and also at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Taking just 44 hours to print the sporty Strati model was made using a blend of 80 percent ABS plastic and 20 percent carbon fibre. The body panels can be printed in a variety of customised shapes and placed on top of the chassis allowing the buyer to customize the car to their preferences.
Local Motors will be producing the cars in a "microfactory" currently under construction in Knoxville, Tennessee. The printed element makes up 75% of the whole car, although Local Motors is looking to increase this to 90% for future models. The Swim design is also only the beginning; the company plan to extend their range of 3D printed cars to include several different models in 2016.
With such amazing advances in technology, we can only assume that this will be the next evolution in the motor industry. Local Motors also reportedly has plans to bring out a range of motorcycles, an electric-powered "drift trike" and a 6.2-litre V8 powered desert dune buggy. If they are successful, we can be sure that they won’t be the only company producing 3D printed cars to be sold to the buying public.
Many people will be astounded by the concept of 3D printed cars. Self-driving cars are already on the roads in some places, and it won’t be long before 3D cars are too. This is really only the very beginning. Who knows; in 50 years’ time, cars could be printed in under an hour, at a much lower cost, using materials that are not even yet available. Whatever happens, automotive fans can be excited over what’s in store for the next few years.
You can’t get your hands on a 3D printed car yet, but you can lease a brand new car. Visit the LeaseYourNextCar.com website for the latest deals.