It was at this year’s International Manufacturing Technology Show that we saw the launch of the world’s first 3D printed car, created by Local Motors. The Strati was the result of four and half months work and 44 hours of actual printing time, but according to reports, future models could be created in as little as six weeks, with actual printing times reduced to 24 hours.
The car consists of 49 parts, which is a huge reduction on the thousands found in standard cars. Of course, not all of those components are printed — the battery, engine and suspension aren’t, for example — but the chassis and interior features are all ABS plastic reinforced with carbon fiber.
As impressive as the innovation is in its own right, equally as impressive is the time frame the Local Motors team are looking at to bring the vehicle to the public. Consumers can already subscribe via the Local Motors website to be notified once the car is in production — which is estimated to be at some point during the next twelve months — when it will retail for between USD 18,000 to USD 30,000.
There are numerous advantages to 3D printing a vehicle — proving this is far more than a novelty. It could lead to cheaper repair parts being printed on demand, or for customized versions of the car being printed for differing conditions, depending on the location of the production plant. And with advantages such as these on offer, entrepreneurs everywhere would to well to consider what other industries are already overdue their own 3D printed disruption…