If someone were to look up the definition of ‘car enthusiast’ in the dictionary they would probably find a picture of former Tonight Show host Jay Leno. The comedian not only has a massive vehicle collection of almost three hundred classic, rare and vintage cars, but his Burbank-based garage has become an invaluable historical resource for early century cars. And considering some of his oldest vehicles are over a century old, Leno has also become a bit of an expert on using 3D printing to restore worn out and damaged components. Leno has been using 3D printing since 2008, and even has his own industrial 3D scanner and a Dimension metal 3D printer from Stratasys on hand to help him out.
As an early adopter of 3D printing and a huge car collector, it was inevitable that the world’s first 3D printed car, from Local Motors, would end up being featured on his new CNBC television series Jay Leno’s Garage. The popular series focuses on Leno talking about the history of some of his own cars as he seeks out other car collectors and car innovators. This isn’t the first time Leno had met Local Motors CEO and co-founder Jay Rogers, as he served as the celebrity judge in Local Motors’ Project Redacted design competition, and he had a hand in selecting the winning design.
For the fifth episode of the show Leno invited the Local Motors team and Rogers himself into his garage so he could show off the the advanced technology that went into developing the Strati. Even though this wasn’t Leno’s first time seeing the Local Motors technology, he still had never seen just how quickly the Strati could be 3D printed and assembled. So the Local Motors team set up one of their large-scale 3D printers right in Jay’s Garage and started printing the car’s frame on-site with Leno on hand to watch the entire process.
While the 3D printer was making the Strati in the garage, Leno and Rogers took a spin around Burbank in the Local Motors electric vehicle mule, which is the chassis used for one of Local Motors crowd-designed cars, the Rally Fighter. Back in the garage Rogers set up a test to show Leno exactly how strong the carbon fiber and ABS material used to 3D print the car. Leno was given a hammer and pounded away on the car component multiple times without leaving even a trace of a scratch or a dent.
Once the 3D printed frame was complete, Leno pitched in to help assemble the Strati, which only took them about an hour to complete. After assembling the Strati, Leno and Rogers took it out for a spin. While the battery ran low because the Local Motors team forgot to bring a fully charged cell, they still managed to get around the block a few times and prove that a 3D printed car is easier to build and assemble than a traditionally manufactured car.
I’m not the biggest car guy in the world, but I am a history buff and the show does a great job of exploring the history of automobiles and is really worth taking a look at. Jay Leno’s Garage airs on CNBC and was recently renewed for a second season set to start in 2016. You can see all of the full episodes of Jay Leno’s Garage online here, or you can head over and just watch the episode with the Local Motors car here. Unfortunately the videos are only accessible in the US, and you’ll need to verify which cable provider than you use in order to watch. Let us knwo if you happen to watch this episode and what your thoughts were in the Leno 3D printed Car forum on 3DPB.com.