The world’s first 3-D printed car took to the streets this weekend after being built in an amazingly short 44 hours. The vehicle, called Strati, was designed by Italian designer Michele Anoé, who won an international competition held by crowdsourcing carmaker Local Motors. It was printed and rapidly assembled by a Local Motors team during a manufacturing technology show held last week in Chicago, then went on a drive on Saturday.
Strati’s chassis and body were made in one piece out of a carbon fiber-impregnated plastic on a large-area 3-D printer. The machine put down layer after layer of the material at a rate of 40 pounds per hour.
While the structure was 3-D printed, mechanical and electrical components like the battery, headlights, brakes, wiring, tires and suspension were produced traditionally by suppliers. Still, the innovative design and new building capabilities inherent in additive manufacturing let Local Motors make the Strati out of 40 parts instead of the thousands typically needed.
“This brand-new process disrupts the manufacturing status quo, changes the consumer experience and proves that a car can be born in an entirely different way,” said Local Motors CEO John Rogers, Jr.
The company says it will be offering production-level 3-D printed vehicles for sale in the coming months. Depending on options, the vehicles are expected to sell for $18,000 to $30,000.
“There are three major challenges facing the auto industry today: part count, weight, and the initial cost of tooling when creating and iterating on vehicles. The hybrid Direct Digital Manufacturing process stands to address all three of these,” Rogers said in an earlier announcement. “When these hurdles are removed, we open the door to an exciting new era in automotive design and manufacturing possibilities.”
Source : http://txchnologist.com/