Until recently, one of the barriers of using the 3D printing technology is the ability to print large products. During the last International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), Local Motors presented the world’s first 3D printed car.
The new 3d printed car, Strati, takes the 3D printing industry to a revolutionary route as it opens the doors to easily 3D print large products with maintaining sustainability through the implementation of different technologies from additive to nano manufacturing (check What Are the Types of 3D Printing Technologies?).
The 3D printed car is printed in one piece in 44 hours using the direct digital manufacturing (DDM) which is the first time to use this technology to create make a workable car. The other parts of Strati were sourced from multiple suppliers including Renault.
The below video shows the 3D printed vehicle, Strati, during the printing process. The car was later assembled during the International Manufacturing Technology Show earlier this month September 2014.
The 3D printed car design was selected from more than 200 concepts for the designer Michele Anoé from Italy. The design was primarily selected because its suitability to be printed and how it fits in the production process of the car. At this point, Strati is on the prototype stage and going to be enhanced with the time.
While the 3D printing process took only 44 hours, he assembly during the show took four days, but it could be done in less time “We probably could have done it in two days or less.” Rogers said
The 3D printed vehicle was created from only 49 parts including the body itself. The 3D printed material used in the car is carbon fibers informed thermoplastic or ABS (What are the Types of 3D Printing Materials?). Strati can move with the speed 40 mph and a total distance of 120 miles with dingle charge.
The machine used in printing the 3D car is called BAAM (big Area Additive Manufacturing), which is able to print 3D models on the actual size:
“The BAAM (Big Area Additive Manufacturing) machine can be used for actual production. The deposition rate of 40 pounds per hour of carbon reinforced ABS plastic and the large size mean that large parts, like a car, can be produced using additive technology,” said Andrew Jamison, CEO of Cincinnati Incorporated. Check these 5 Affordable 3D Printers to Buy.
Local Motors partners with the U.S. Department of Energy to research developing vehicle designs using the 3D printing technology as stated by Craig Blue, Director at Advanced Manufacturing Program and Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL “These partnerships are pushing the envelope on emerging technologies, such as large scale additive manufacturing, and accelerating the growth of manufacturing in the United States.”
While the current cost for the car is as high as a sedan car, it is unfair to judge the price at this prototype stage especially when the Local Motors is still developing the product to be a customized car the consumers can modify to fit their needs.
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