Local Motors 3-D prints electric roadster in 44 hours
Local Motors, the crunchy, crowd-sourced, Phoenix-based automaker that brought us the Rally Fighter, built a 3-D printed car that actually drives. The electric two-seater was revealed at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago.
The design for the Strati (meaning “layers”), was chosen from more than 200 entries submitted to Local Motors in a contest earlier this year. The winner of the design challenge was Michele Anoe of Italy, who will receive $5,000 in cash for the honor.
Local Motors partnered with Oak Ridge Labs, which fitted a large laser printer with a 3-D extruder, according to Mashable. The second part of the build was done by a Thermwood Corp. routing machine, which smoothed out the look of the open-top, outboard-wheeled buggy.
The printing took 44 hours, but milling it took another full day. Eventually the entire process could be shaved to two days, Local Motors’ Jay Rogers told Mashable.
The Strati can reportedly travel up to 40 mph and has a range of 120 miles on a charge. For comparison, the Volt only has a 40-mile range, but can actually hit freeway speeds. Still, for a first effort, the Strati is a pretty good product. Local says the car still needs plenty of testing before it’s sold to the public.
The battery, motor, wire and suspension were sourced from a variety of manufacturers; the powertrain comes from Renault’s Twizy.
Local says this vehicle proves the viability of 3-D printing in the automotive industry. It plans to launch production-level 3-D-printed vehicles in the next several months. Prices could range from about $18,000 to $34,000, according to Local Motors. That’s not quite as cheap as we were hoping, but like all new technologies, prices should go down as usage increases.