When it comes to 3D printing, new breakthroughs and new achievements are being realized almost on a daily basis. From 3D printable human tissue, to a 3D printed life-size castle, and now a 3D printed automobile, the technology never ceases to amaze.
This week, at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, Arizona-based automobile manufacturer Local Motors stole the show. Over the six day span of the IMTS, the company managed to 3D print, and assemble an entire automobile, called the ‘Strati’, live in front of spectators.
Although the Strati is not the first ever car to be 3D printed, the advancements made by Local Motor with help from Cincinnati Inc, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, have produced a vehicle in days rather than months.
Last year, engineer Jim Kor designed the Urbee 2 3D printed car. The vehicle which weighed about half of what a typical automobile would weigh, was as strong as steel. What sets Local Motors’ ‘Strati’ 3D printed car apart from the likes of the Urbee 2, is the fact that they managed to print and construct the entire vehicle in just six days, whereas the Urbee 2 took 2500 print hours to complete.
This breakthrough was made possible by a machine produced by Cincinnati Inc., in cooperation with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine is capable of printing at speeds unheard of on traditional 3D printers. It is unbelievably able to lay down up to 40 pounds of carbon infused ABS plastic per hour, with precise accuracy. After an exciting six days of printing, in front of a live audience, the vehicle is finally complete. The only question that remained was, ‘Does it drive?”
As you can see by the Vine clips we have posted within this article, it most certainly does! The car, which features just 40 parts, drove out of McCormick Place in Chicago just moments ago. As to what Local Motors plans to do next with the Strati 3D printed car, now that the vehicle has been printed and drives like a charm, they will seek to launch production-level 3D printed vehicles for sale to the public in the coming months.
This is certainly a big step for all companies involved, as well as the 3D printing industry in general. Let us know your thoughts on this amazing accomplishment in the Local Motors 3D printed car forum thread on 3DPB.com.