Local Motors continuing to bring the 3D printed car to life

The world’s first 3D printed drivable vehicle, named Strati, took its inaugural test drive last year. But what has its maker, Local Motors, been up to over the last six months?

US-based Local Motors built Strati in three phases during the six day International Manufacturing Technology Show held in Chicago in September 2014.

The first phase of the process was 3D printed on a Cincinnati Incorporated Big Area Additive Manufacturing Machine over 44 hours using additive manufacturing.

For Local Motors, the speed offered by AM means it can produce a customised vehicle body in an astonishingly short amount of time. And 3D printing is just one of the ways Local Motors is attempting to set itself apart from other car manufacturers.

3D printing and additive manufacturing equipment is becoming increasingly more affordable and versatile, entering a number of different industries and as a result driving UK manufacturing into the future.

From techniques such as laser sintering to fused deposition modelling, and building products from cars to football cleats, advanced technology is set to completely revolutionise manufacturing as we know it.

This year’s 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing Conference will focus on the benefits of investing in advanced technology; including reductions in time and costs; how to create an engaged workforce focused on the future of manufacturing, and what equipment is suited to you.

The conference will include case study presentations, problem solving debates and interactive sessions suitable for everyone, from the first time user to the more experienced manufacturer.

The must attend event if you are looking to explore how 3D printing and additive manufacturing can grow your business.

Last week NASCAR racer Ben Kennedy, great grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., announced a partnership with Local Motors.

The multi-race sponsorship of Kennedy’s No. 11 Local Motors Toyota Tundra truck kicked off on February 20 at the World Truck Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway.

Together Local Motors and Kennedy’s Red Horse Racing team will be introducing the co-creation into the world of NASCAR in an effort to advance innovation.

It’s a similar mentality to that of crowdsourcing that has helped Local Motors bring the Rally Fighter, Strati, and the world’s first 3D printed car into existence.

And Local Motors is continuing its development and has two modest 40,000 sq. ft production facilities, dubbed ‘microfactories’ already operational.

The existing microfactories are up and running in Phoenix and Las Vegas (with a third under construction in Washington, DC). Both existing microfactories are capable of producing Local Motors’ Rally Fighter; an off-road capable vehicle that retains its street legal status.

The next microfactory will open at National Harbor in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The new Local Motors facility will include an AM factory, laboratory and showcase.

Aiden Burgess and Tim Brown