ASU Partners with Local Motors to Develop High-Tech 3D Printing Materials For Cars

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3dp_localmotors_logo3D printed car developer Local Motors is teaming up with Arizona State University to research and develop advanced 3D printing materials. The materials researched could be applied to the future construction and fabrication of 3D printed automotive parts. The development project was part of ASU’s Polytechnic eProjects program, which pairs students and ASU faculty from the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering with technology companies, allowing them to gain valuable real world work experience.

Local Motors debuted the world’s first 3D-printed car late last year, and have developed two new designs that are expected to go on sale later this year. According to Local Motors, their 3D-printed car is scheduled to be on the road by early 2016. The first two 3D printed car designs were announced last month, and will be the first highway-ready vehicles to utilize Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) to quickly create a completely customizable car.

Here is a video announcement of the two 3D printed car designs:

“The materials research and testing we’re conducting with ASU will help us bring to market the world’s first 3D-printed car. Our goal is to create vehicles that are safer than any on the road today, and this partnership with a world-class university right in our own backyard will help us do exactly that,” said Local Motors CEO and co-founder John B. Rogers.

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Students will be introduced to Local Motors on Monday at the Polytechnic eProjects program where they will be given the opportunity to see and touch the first fully functional 3D printed car. The eProjects program allows students to connect with industry partners on several different projects and they were then given the opportunity to pick one that interested them. Each eProject will consist of an interdisciplinary team of four to eight students who work together with faculty and industry partner supervision. At the end of the semester the projects will be revealed at ASU’s Innovation Showcase, a public event that regularly draws about 1,000 visitors.

This new partnership with ASU will bring them into the Local Motors LOCO Program, short for Local Motors Co-Created. The LOCO University Vehicle Program will provide the students and faculty with the projects, vehicles, and the co-creation platform required to quickly develop a new generation of 3D printed vehicle. The Local Motors-ASU team will be designing, simulating and fabricating a series of test structures and testing systems intended to help increase the inter-laminar strength of various 3D printed automotive parts. Professor of Practice and Director of eProjects at ASU’s Polytechnic School, Dr. John M. Parsey Jr., will be overseeing the students who will be working on the Local Motors project.

Local Motors "Sport" concept.

Local Motors “Sport” concept.

“This is an exciting and innovative project for our students to be working on, and it will give them the opportunity to learn at the cutting-edge of engineering and put their creative minds to work on a real-world challenge. It fits perfectly within our eProjects program, which gives students outstanding workplace experience while they are at the university,” said professor Parsey.

The team at ASU will be given exclusive access to Local Motors’ large-scale 3D-printer located in Tempe, Arizona. These large scale printers will be used to manufacture the next generation of the Local Motors 3D-printed car. Local Motors is the first company to utilize Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) for vehicle production. Their goal is to decrease the amount of tooling required to manufacture customized cars while increasing the speed to market.

Local Motors proved that DDM was capable of producing an entire, functional car when they printed a working 3D printed vehicle during the 2014 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago, Illinois. The Strati is the world’s first 3D printed electric car and it took just 44 hours to print. You can find out more about Local Motors and their LOCO Program on their website, and make sure you let us know what you think over on our ASU and Local Motors to Develop High-Tech 3D Printing Materials forum at 3DPB.com.

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