Local Motors to build world’s first road-ready, 3D printed car

Posted on 10 Nov 2015 by Jonny Williamson

The LM3D Swim has been announced by Local Motors, the innovative US-based company behind the world’s first 3D printed drivable vehicle, the Strati.

Described as the company’s most ambitious project to date, the new 3D printed LM3D Swim will serve as a prototype for future LM3D vehicles capable of exceeding Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) by 2017.

According to Local Motors, the LM3D Swim design was selected on July 7 and the prototype was completed just two months later, made from a blend of 80% ABS plastic and 20 % carbon fibre.

The design was chosen by the Local Motors community and a judging panel from more than 200 designs submitted to the company’s design challenge on its open innovation platform – Open IO.

Approximately 75% of the LM3D is printed, including nearly all of the body panels and chassis. Local Motors is aiming to consolidate as much of the traditional bill of materials into a single, 3D printed piece as possible – with the final goal of 3D printing around 90% of the car.

With the aim of making 3D printed cars safer than traditionally manufactured cars, the company has said: “The LM3D was built with a focus on further optimising the construction methodology of Direct Digital Manufacturing [the method using to produce the Strati].

“With the LM3D series, early tests show promises that all crash testing will be complete by the end of 2016, including all certifications needed to get 3D printed cars on the road.”

What could be the world’s first road-ready, 3D printed car, the LM3D Swim (image courtesy of Local Motors).
What could be the world’s first road-ready, 3D printed car, the LM3D Swim (image courtesy of Local Motors).

In order to ensure this level of safety and compliance, the underpinnings of the vehicle throughout the series will remain the same.

However, Local Motors does plan to offer a wide range of customisable, aesthetic features, meaning each car could look radically different even though all will be built on the same platform.

The LM3D will be made available to the public via placing a deposit on a crowdfunding campaign, expected to launch in Q2 2016. Retail purchase is expected to be available later in 2016.

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