The show might be over but the news of the world’s first 3D-printed car is still sweeping the nation from Chicago to Atlanta and California on local stations to CNN. If you haven’t heard about it, AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology partnered with Local Motors, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Cincinnati, Inc., and 3D printed and assembled an electric car on-site during the week of IMTS 2014. On Saturday, Sept 13, Jay Rogers, CEO and Co-Founder, Local Motors and Douglas Woods, President of AMT drove out of IMTS 2014 in the newly finished “Strati”. The direct digital manufacturing technique could revolutionize the industry.
The process started with a design competition within the Local Motors community, for which 207 entries were submitted. The winner was Italian Michele Anoe with his ‘Strati’ design, meaning ‘layers’ in his native language.
Printing began at the start of IMTS and only took 44 hours to complete. Made of carbon-fiber reinforced polymer, the same plastic as Legos, the car was printed on a large-scale additive printer by Cincinnati, Inc. The wheels and hubcaps were also 3D printed using the direct metal process.
The result is an electric car that drives at a top speed of 40 mph and only consists of about 40 parts, versus 20,000 parts in a regular car. The decreased production time can dramatically shift the industry as consumer demand for customized products in less time continues. As Jay Rogers, CEO of Local Motors, pointed out, the micro-electronic and apparel industries have already adjusted to this demand, and now it’s time for the automotive industry. “It is so exciting to see how we are shrinking the gap in the industry between the realization of a product and the idea it came from ahead of time,” Rogers said.
*Reprinted with permission from IMTS Insider, September 17, 2014 edition