I just finished driving, with my family, from my home in North Carolina to Guadalajara, Mexico, about 15 hours south of the border. Our car has 233,000 miles on it and makes an impressive array of banging, clanking, whirring, squeaking, and chirping noises. When little things go wrong, we generally try to fix them ourselves. Unfortunately, many of the maneuvers required to reach the various parts or to simply see them would put even the famed Chinese acrobats out of sorts.
It seems that we are not alone in our desire for access to our machines. A request for feedback from the Local Motors Community regarding improvements that need to be made in today’s cars resulted in a flood of messages, and they took them to heart:
“You said you want to be able to do your own automobile maintenance, repairs and modifications. You’ve said that today’s automakers make it difficult to access parts and perform simple tasks like replacing headlights and charging dead batteries. You’ve said that identifying rattles and noises is difficult because parts are buried within the inaccessible depths of your cars’ structures. It’s like we’re all driving mystery machines.”
Local Motors has issued a challenge to the 3D print community in an effort to create, a ready for highway vehicle that answers those desires. The challenge asks for submission where the majority of the vehicle structure is created using a hybrid additive-subtractive method; proves that Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) holds economic advantages over traditional methods; and provides a model with fewer parts, eliminates tooling, and reduces follow up investments for model refreshes.
The challenge is open to submissions until June 15th at which point a validation process begins leading to a final stage of voting that runs from June 19 – 25. The first place winner will receive a cash prize of $7,500, second place receives $2,500 and third place walks away with $1,500.
A complete explanation of the various deliverables required to enter the contest is available on the contest submission page. It’s no short list either and so it should come as no surprise that for something this complex, there have only been 11 submissions thus far. There are still 15 days until the closing date, so many are probably using these couple of weeks to add the finishing touches to their designs. The submissions will be judged by a panel of experts but there will also be a community favorite award selected based on voting from members of the local motors community. Let us know if you have submitted a design by posting in the Local Motors Project [Redacted] forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below for additional details about this challenge from Local Motors themselves: