The first road-ready 3D-printed vehicle will be here soon


Local Motors has introduced what will become the first drivable, 3D-printed car you can buy: the LM3D Swim.


Less than four months after revealing designs for the next-generation 3D-printed car, Local Motors has unveiled the LM3D Swim — their latest rapid vehicle iteration that’ll become the first fully-homologated, 3D-printed automobile to hit the streets.

LM 3D swim

Earlier this year, the Phoenix-based company held a contest that encouraged people to come up with designs for the first road-ready 3D-printed car. Auto enthusiast Kevin Lo was the brainchild of the winning submission, LM3D, which had been selected among 200 other entries.

Local Motors opened the eyes of the automotive industry when it stole the SEMA spotlight back in 2014 by live-printing the world’s first 3D-printed car. Carrying that momentum, the team has now entered the intensive testing and development phases that will culminate with a highway-ready, fully-homologated series of cars built using direct digital manufacturing, of which 3D printing will play an integral role.

fenders being printed

Roughly 75% of the LM3D will be printed, including the body panels and chassis. However, Local Motors is hoping to consolidate as much of the traditional bill of materials into a single, 3D-printed piece as possible, eventually making about 90% of the car using 3D printing. Making it even more impressive, migrating from design to prototype was accomplished at unprecedented speed. The process took just over two months, start to finish.

“In the past few months our engineers have moved from only a rendering to the car you see in front of you today,” Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers told the crowd at SEMA. “We are using the power of DDM to create new vehicles at a pace unparalleled in the auto industry, and we’re thrilled to begin taking orders on 3D-printed cars next year.”

Software from Siemens enabled the Local Motors team to move quickly from concept to car with the simplicity of direct modeling and flexibility of synchronous technology. Meanwhile, materials used to build the body of LM3D Swim came from thermoplastic material solutions provider SABIC.

LM 3D swim4

Cutting-edge technology will be integrated into all models in the LM3D series. Local Motors recently partnered with IBM to create interactions between the microfactory, 3D-printed vehicles, their drivers and the outside environment in ways never achieved before. These technologies will result in increased safety and efficiency in traffic. Local Motors also plans to utilize several leading IoT companies to develop and launch a series of apps and vehicle products to connect, monitor and optimize the driving experience.

Want a 3D-printed vehicle of your own? You won’t have to wait too long. Local Motors plans to release several new models in the LM3D series throughout 2016 while it conducts federal crash testing and receives the necessary highway certifications. Those wishing to buy one will have to be ready to shell out roughly $53,000. The first batch of vehicles won’t be delivered, though, until 2017.

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