Text: Martin Aguilar / Photos: Local Motors | posted October 10, 2014 14:01
A new era of automotive design
Local Motors, an American motor vehicle manufaturing company, has revealed the world's first 3D-printed car last September during the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago.
In making the concept into a reality, Local Motors have collaborated with the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), Cincinnati Incorporated and Oak Ridge National Library (ORNL). It was designed by Michele Anoé of Italy with the help from the company's global community and built using the available technology at the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) at ORNL.
Dubbed as Strati, the car was printed in one piece using a Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine made by Cincinnati Incorporated. Then, a Thermwood 5-axis CNC router was used to mill the 3D-printed car. Afterwards, a team of engineers from Local Motors assembled the car. Finally, the Strati came to life as the world's first 3D-printed car.
The chassis, exterior body and interior features are all printed. On the other hand, the mechanical components like the battery, motor, wiring and suspension are sourced from Renault's elctric powered city car called Twizy.
Local Motors says the Strati is a testament that direct digital manufaturing is more “economical than existing methods of automotive manufacturing and assembly.” Moreover, Strati opens the door to a new era of automotive design and manufacturing possibilities.
It is powered by an electric engine equipped with 6 kwh battery that has a 100 km range. According to Local Motors, the Strati is mated to a single speed automatic transmission with a top speed of approximately 81 km/h. However, due to U.S. rules and regulations surrounding registration of vehicles, the Strati will not be able to hit the road until sometime in 2015.
The Strati will also be showcased at the 2014 Speciality Equipment Market Association (SEMA) in Las Vegas next month.